on March 12, 2007
Bell Rock was one of my favorite places in Sedona. Perhaps it was no coincidence that I could see it from my bed at the Adobe Hacienda. It’s easy to access, easy to climb, and provides breathtaking views in all directions. I walked around here every day of my trip. Each visit I took different routes and found a number of very pleasant places to recline and take in the views. One early afternoon, I was lying still on the western slopes about halfway up when a roadrunner walked right up and checked me out. It didn’t seem to be in a hurry, and it certainly wasn’t running. It walked to within two feet of me and just stood there. I’d never seen a roadrunner up close, and the experience was amazing. It was a beautiful bird, and we stared at each other for some time before it turned and walked away.The light in Sedona was spectacular throughout the day and in all conditions. In the early morning, the red rocks glowed pink and orange, and I saw shades and saturation of blue that seemed impossible. Thunder and lightning storms occurred twice, and both were beautiful and oddly peaceful. One storm danced around Bell Rock in the twilight, trailing long cords of white light through shades of purple, indigo, and gold.On several occasions in the early morning light, I was treated to a cloud show at Bell Rock. It was similar to childhood experiences of looking for shapes in clouds, except it was more like a movie than a “Where’s Waldo” game. In rapid succession, the clouds above me morphed in into various faces (some known to me, some unknown), symbols, images, and even scenes with elements interacting. It was totally unusual and exciting. Both “shows” were very pertinent to me and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.There are two easy ways to approach Bell Rock. The first is from the official Forest Service parking lot, which is off Highway 179 just past Bell Rock Blvd. on the right. This route allows you to make a long approach. From here, you can wind around the west side of Bell Rock, or you can take the longer route around Courthouse Butte, which sits next to Bell Rock. If you have less time or energy, you can continue on 179 past Bell Rock Blvd. and park in a pullout that is very close to the trailhead leading up Bell Rock itself. The loop around Courthouse Butte takes about two hours. The trail is good, and it’s very scenic. At points, it dips through more forest-like terrain, which is a nice contrast to the open expanses of Bell Rock.
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