Winding Sedona Side Trip

A road trip to Payson, AZ, “up in the mountains” and east of Sedona a couple of hours took several unexpected detours in November. The town itself was not very big, but is a crossroad for agriculture and ranching in the area. The new Dutch Brothers coffee shop in town was busy even in Covid time. 

The famous author, Zane Grey, wrote many of his books from this area. When his original home burnt, the town rebuilt a cabin replica. and added the Rim Country Museum and shop by the park to his memory. Zane Grey wrote approximately 14 books from his cabin which sat in the Mogollon Rim area.

What author or artist has captured an area you have visited? Think Monet in France.  Remington in Wyoming.  Michaelango in Italy. Sandra Dallas captures Colorado. Tony Hillerman on Four Corners of the Southwest. Ian Rankin in Scotland.

Between Payson and Pine, AZ is the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The road into the park was ridiculously steep and scary with an impossible grade descent.  Much of the park was closed for repairs and the trails were shut off in the creek area. It was a fascinating large natural bridge seen from both sides of the creek.  

After a picnic lunch, we still had not hiked anywhere. On the road to Pine, we saw the sign for the Arizona Scenic Trail. Those of you who have read past hiking blogs know that we had hiked several of these scenic trails in 2020 and were thrilled to get on this one. 

The problem with the Arizona scenic Trail this time – a lost hiker. There were trackers, rescuers, drones, dogs and police throughout the well marked trail area. We explored just a bit of the trail, but it was so crowded and noisy we left. One of the native American trackers told us, “If people want to get lost, they can get lost, even on a good trail.” 

God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout; My mountaintop refuge, he saves me from ruthless men. I Samuel 22:2-3 The Message

Almost back to I-17 south of Sedona, we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle near Camp Verde, to see an ancient pueblo dwelling with multiple rooms preserved as an Arizona State Park.  This settlement was connected to Tuzigoot settlement we had already visited. It was very attractive, interesting and protected from the hoards of people – even in Covid time. Not sure why it is called a castle? These connected large rooms carved into the side of the mountain near a dry creek is completely hidden from view from above or any roads.

A full day of viewing surprises in a ‘not so famous’ part of Arizona was well worth our time. We ended up at the Day of the Dead celebration in Sedona.

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