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Hog Wild! Day Hike
Sedona
March 11, 2017
by Mark Purcell
group
All together now, at the trailhead.
Back row:  Pat, Wendy, Jon, Vicki, Dorinda, Mimi, Kari, Amy, Chuck
Front row:  Diva, Rita, Lin, Darrell, April, Mark, Susan
Wendy
Celebrarte! [photo by Wendy]
    As a year-around resident of Sedona, when leading a hike I attempt to schedule for trails that both provide a unique experience with easy parking AND can navigate around the Saturday traffic snarls that either bless or plague (depending on whether you are a merchant or homeowner) the tourist destination. Aces on the former but lousy luck on the latter, as this report will reveal.

The “Hog” trails are relatively new to the Twin Buttes area, whose landmarks include Submarine Rock, Devil’s Dining Room, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Upon listing the hike a couple months in advance, I expected that the hiker limit of 25 would be approached a few days before. However I was taken aback when a waiting list was necessitated fully one month in advance. Although due to illness and attrition our numbers were in the teens, we left Mystic Trailhead blessed with a sizable ensemble.

After group photos we began on the the Mystic trail and soon intersected with our first thematic element — the Hog Wash trail. From there we promptly detoured onto Hog Heaven, which after a steep ascent evolved into a picture book saddle setting with an expansive view of the Munds Mountain wilderness area fronted by one of our destinations Submarine Rock. When scouting this hike I failed to notice the magnificence, as I came from the opposite direction and evidently neglected to look back.

trail
Yes, this is our trail. [photo by Wendy]
heaven
Hog heaven. [photo by Darrell]
trail
Lots of ups and downs. [photo by Wendy]
bikes
You, too, can be a Bicycle Dodger. [photo by Wendy]
top
The view from the top. [photo by Darrell]
top
Yes, we made it over the pass.
twin
These may not be the Twin Buttes. [photo by Darrell]

Next, we “pigged out” on the High on the Hog Trail, which angled towards Jeep routes we borrowed for access to Submarine Rock. This famous formation is bookmarked with two small prominences — one easy to master while the other required some balancing. At this point, whatever the level, participants spent some time exploring and snacking.

down
Easy on the down grade. [photo by Wendy]
down
Are you sure? [photo by Wendy]
rock
Submarine Rock is higher than it looks. [photo by Darrell]
top
We made it to the top. [photo by Wendy]
three
Wendy, Lin, and April celebrate the hike. [photo by Wendy]
group
Let’s all celebrate!

Next stop was the Devil’s Dining Room, which you could speculate is the less expansive but more ominous sinkhole cousin of Devil’s Kitchen. Due to protective fencing recently upgraded by the USFS you can’t get close enough to the edge to view its bottom 90 feet below. From there we trekked briefly on the Broken Arrow trail and looped back to the Mystic Trailhead by entering another section of the Hog Wash trail.

group
Oink!

So, now time to figure out a lunch spot. A quick traffic review on Google Maps indicated traffic was already backed up for miles towards the primary eatery near uptown Sedona, so I thought I was REALLY PREPARED with my back-up plan in a shopping center in the opposite direction in the Village of Oak Creek. Unfortunately I was not aware that a Yoga Festival was taking place in that same area, so our drivers were not feeling harmonious as parking options were enveloped by attendees of the event. Although a couple cars were nimble enough to assume the rare opening, others gave up and either returned home with or without a secondary stop for nourishment elsewhere.

Special thanks to Lin for being my carpool organizer in Phoenix.

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updated April 19, 2017