We arrived at the parking lot of the Vultee Arch/Sterling Canyon Trailhead
around 11:00 AM. We signed the Forest Service guest book and began our
trek to the arch. The trail was well defined and shaded by towering pines.
The trail goes 1.7 miles along the bottom of Sterling Canyon. It is easy
to follow as it basically goes along the creek bed. The creek is dry most
of the year. About 0.75 mile in, there are tall, white sandstone cliffs
on the right with Douglas firs growing in the clefts.
Motorolans visit the Vultee Arch.
The group first sighted the 40' arch from below. Surprised to sounds
f a harmonica, we saw that Mike Clayton was up the side of the canyon wall
waving down and laying for us. We took note of the plaque there commemorating
Gerald and Sylvia Vultee who died n a plane crash not far from the site
in 1938. We then headed up the trail to meet Mike, our trailblazer.
Once there, we broke out apples and other snacks, and Mike continued
to serenade us. Since it as early yet, we chose to return to the Sterling
Canyon trail and follow it up to the saddle. We criss-crossed the dry creek
bed, lined with Sycamore and oak, then began the assent following the witch
backs along the side of the canyon.
Most of the group made it to the top, while a few decided to pause and
enjoy the scenery. Upon returning, the group decided to stop in Sedona
and grab a bite to eat. We sat on a porch overlooking Oak Creek and watched
the moon rise over the red rock cliffs opposite us. We ate sandwiches and
toasted our new found friends to end a delightful day.