Archive for the ‘5 Star Flagstaff/Sedona’ Category

Five Star Trails on ViewRanger

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

There’s an app for my hiking guide. I can say that now with a completely straight face – not just because I live in the future, but because there really is an app for my hiking guide.

From the press release:

ViewRanger ™App partners with Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press

Cambridge, UK – December 15, 2011 – ViewRanger, the award-winning outdoor navigation app, is

pleased to announce its partnership with Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press, a leading publisher of

comprehensive outdoor hiking books and maps.

ViewRanger, which hails from the UK and is owned by software development company, Augmentra,

Ltd., is a mobile app that turns a smartphone into a powerful Outdoors GPS. It delivers high resolution

mapping and trails, waypoint navigation, web-based route planning and location sharing.

“We are looking forward to working with an independent enterprise that offers the same benefits to

readers as our company; memorable adventures in the great outdoors ,” says Menasha

Ridge/Wilderness Press president Richard Hunt. “ViewRanger has done a brilliant job of executing their

business plan overseas and we look forward to teaming up with them as they make their debut in the


Commenting on the partnership, ViewRanger CEO Craig Wareham states “we are excited to be working

with such renowned publishing titles as Menasha Ridge and Wilderness Press and for the opportunity to

deliver their high quality expert guidebook content through our location-aware smartphone publishing platform.”

ViewRanger will bring their guidebooks to life by accessing the expert outdoors content provided by

Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press. Popular trail routes will be available to browse and download onto

smartphones and delivered like a guidebook with a map, trail descriptions and advice, and photos of

things that users may see along the way. Once users are on a hike or walk, they can see their location

over a map and navigate along the route. ViewRanger also gives navigation alerts if you veer too far off


“My Five Star Trails in Flagstaff and Sedona guidebook will be in the first release!” Squealed Menasha Ridge author Tony Padegimas, contacted by courier pigeon in his isolated desert stronghold. “If this prevents one hiker with a fully-charged phone from getting ost in the woods, my life’s work will have been worth it,” he added.


At least one of those paragraphs was not in the original press release.

View Ranger website:




Bell Rock and Broken Arrow

Friday, January 20th, 2012

It’s going to be highs of room temperature in Phoenix for the foreseeable future. I may never wear a jacket in daylight in this city ever again.

This weekend: go to the Superstitions – anywhere in the Superstitions.

Need specifics? Go do Bluff Springs Loop

From the Tonto Guide (Day and Overnight Hikes: Tonto National Forest).

(The cover photo was taken somewhere in that area.) (Not by me.)

Now, the behind-the-hike for Five Star Hikes in Flagstaff and Sedona:

Bell Rock and Broken Arrow


DATE: 10/23/10

COMPANIONS: Ben + his friend


END TIME: 7:45p


OFFICIAL MILES: 10 mile car shuttle


HIGH ELEVATION: 4600 at 9 miles


2nd Hike on 11/17/10

This was originally conceived as a single hike car-shuttle – and if you do that it’s 5 hours of awesome – but start in the morning. You can intuit from my end time what happened.

We started at Bell Rock Trailhead south of Bell Rock, and ended the day (or rather started the evening) at Morgan Road Trailhead at the north terminus of Broken Arrow.

The reason this became two hikes in the book, though, is that both trails are popular enough and cool enough on their own to warrant separate entries. And the format calls for easier hikes rather than adventure marches.

We got lost at Chicken Point. I mention a side trail in the Broken Arrow description called the Jim Bryant Trail. I discovered that because we went a good mile into the wilderness following those scattered cairns across the ravines before we concluded that whatever trail this was – it wasn’t Broken Arrow. I found its name on a map later.

By the time we found our way to Chicken Point, the sun was going down in one direction and clouds were gathering in the other. We ended up following the jeep road back to the trailhead – roads are much easier to follow in the dark than trails.

A few weeks later I came back for Broken Arrow, and other than some camera difficulties (my camera died completely soon afterwards) the hike went well.

Why yes – there is a you tube video, mostly chronicling the hike between the two trails.


Bell Rock to Broken Arrow on YT


Verde River Greenway

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

This weekend:  There will never be a better time to hike Skunk Tank featured in Day and Overbight Hikes – Tonto National Forest.

Don’t be fooled by my misadventures – it’s actually a cool hike.

On the subject of misadventures that turned into cool hkes, we’ll continue on the behind-the-hike series for 5 Star Trails in Flagstaff and Sedona.

Verde Greenway hikes (both of them)

HIKE DATE: May 11 2010


START TIME: 9:15am

END TIME: 2:15p


OFFICIAL MILES: 3 & 4 miles respectively

After I hiked Lime Kiln Trail [], I camped in Dead Horse Ranch State Park [], and did what would become the two Verde Greenway hikes that next day. (My partner for LKT had driven home after the hike).

I actually did 3 versions of Verde Greenway, the first being inside Dead Horse Ranch. That was a nice little stroll through the giant cottonwoods, but it was less than 3 miles round trip (and I still got lost – so probably shorter than that) and not quite cool enough to stand alone.

With some advice from the DHR gift shop, I stumbled upon the Jail Trail, and that led, literally, to everything that followed.

My observation (from somewhere in the front matter) that the more prominently posted the leash law is the more likely locals are to ignore it came from an incident at this park.

I’d liketo tell you more about the Jail but I am currently 0-6 for being in “downtown” Cottonwood when the visitor center is open. The functional downtown of Cottonwood, so you know, is the intersection of AZ 89A and AZ260. That’s where all the major retail chains are located. The historic downtown, though, makes for much better stroll.

The south and north hikes (I did them in that order) were originally conceived and hiked as a loop. Connecting those loops, though, involved about a hundred feet of possible trespassing, and my publisher is quite scrupulous about those things. So scrupulous, in fact, that I shouldn’t even describe the route in this blog (which is hosted by the publisher).

So it became two separate hikes, which worked out better anyway. The book needed more easy hikes, and the connecting route across DHRSP was not five star.

As far as I know, these trails are undocumented outside of my guidebook. I haven’t done an exhaustive search – there are a LOT of Sedona hike guides out there – but none of the usual suspects covered it.

Once again, camera incompetencies impaired video notes, but a few survive, as the You Tube clip below demonstrates.

You Tube Clip

Parson Springs Trail

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

This weekend: starting to see snow around Flagstaff, and possibly as low as Sedona. A little nippy up there, but perfect hiking weather in the high desert.

Try Ballantine Trail – one of the best hikes from Day and Overnight Hikes: Tonto National Forest.

Now on to our behind-the-hike series on the new book, Five Star Trails in Flagstaff and Sedona

Parson Springs

HIKE DATE 6-13-2010






The second crossing on this hike is a popular local swimming hole.

The hike went smoothly except for the camera. I only have two vid clips because I realized the battery wouldn’t make it. Worse, there was some sort of snot-smear on the lens. I had no chance of seeing that on the LCD screen in broad daylight, so the lesson is clean the lens at the trailhead.

You can see the smear in the You Tube clip below, and even though we tried to finesse it out, you can see it in the book photo as well.

Ben and I actually went a little further up the canyon than the trail, just to check it out. Above the springs, its just a canyon full of rocks.

Link to You Tube video

Lime Kiln Trail

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011


A hike recommendation for every weekend.

This weekend I recommend Vineyard Trail . But it would be a fine weekend to do the hike below as well.

The cold is coming down in Flagstaff, so we’re going to skip down to Sedona and cover those hikes for a few months in our ongoing behind-the-hike series for 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona.

Lime Kiln Trail

DATE HIKED: 5-10-10

COMPANIONS: K (she did not want to be identified in the book, and I’m presuming the blog either.)


END TIME: 6:30p

TOTAL MILES:  14.6 (but some mileage didn’t make the original GPS reading).


I dropped the flag on my GPS unit at the Lime Kiln site, which was about .4 miles from where I left pavement in Dead Horse Ranch State Park. In my defense, there are several routes through DHRSP  that will lead to this point.

Even at 14.6, its the single longest one-way mileage in the guide.

Part of our decision to do the trail south-north (really SW-NE) was for the reasons listed in the book: we didn’t want to face late afternoon in the low desert (highs that day were in the 90’s). The other reason was that K came in from north, and had only the one day.

If you are camping in Dead Horse, then you want to start at Red Rock State Park. Enjoy the park (there’s a fee) then park you car outside the gate anyway (because they lock them at 5pm). You’ll need a Red Rock Pass for this. If you’re starting up Schuerman Mtn by 11 am, you’ll be back in camp before dark.

This is ABSOLUTELY a car-shuttle hike.

Here’s the YouTube clip

The term “redneck cul-de-sac” made it all the way to the next-to-final draft.

I had to make a second trip to pick up description and GPS data for Equestrian Trail S. I don’t have a date for that – it was tacked onto another hike day.

O’Leary Peak

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Onward with our behind-the-hike series on Five Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona.

O’Leary Peak

Hike date : 7/11/10

Companions none

Start 11:45am

Finish 5:30p

Total time 5:45

Total miles 10.26

The first part of the hike was done in the pouring rain, but happily that cleared up for most of the hike afterwards.

The lookout tower on top of O’Leary is manned throughout the summer. The lady in it when I was up there invited me up after some hesitation. At night, she told me, she could still see the embers from the Schultz Fire glowing across the mountainside.

She wasn’t happy that I was writing a hiking guide. She didn’t want a lot of visitors disturbing her. She did tell me about a woman writing a book about fire watch towers throughout Arizona. Pretty sure she meant this one. Good luck finding a copy.

This is a public land hike from start to finish, and her own agency touts it on their website. So her right to privacy is only protected by the 2000′ of elevation gain over the course of 5 miles. Nonetheless, there is no right to tour the look-out tower. If she ( or whoever has that station) doesn’t want company – that’s it. You get a view from the rocks.

Still worth it, of course.

BTW – the geo-cache on the saddle between the two peaks – that’s mine. Enjoy.

More on this hike on You Tube

O’Leary Peak on You Tube

One last thing – this is why comments are closed for most of my posts:

I was {recommended|suggested} this {blog|website|web site} by my cousin. {I am|I’m} not sure whether this post is written by him as {no one|nobody} else know such detailed about my {problem|difficulty|trouble}. {You are|You’re} {amazing|wonderful|i…

I do allow replies when they are relevant. The burden of proof is on the replier. If in doubt – I say it’s spam. The best place to reply is the Choose My Next Book page.

Mount Eden Loop

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Part of an ongoing series of behind-the-hike descriptions for 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona. This is Hike #3.

Big Elden Loop

DATE: 9/18/10



END TIME: 6:21p




Up the Upper Oldham Trail, West across the Sunset Trail, Back down the Brookbank Trail. Start at TH on Lookout Rd.

This was our second attempt at finding a worthwhile loop hike up and down Mt Elden outside of Flagstaff. Our first effort was done in by fire closures from the Schultz Fire. Some of that first hike was salvaged into Little Elden Springs. Some of it I can never describe in detail in writing.

This one went much better. Good start, good weather, good hike. We did not actually take the spur to the look-out tower. I used the GPS data from our first attempt.

There are several good geo-caches along Sunset Trail.

The road up to the peak is strictly 4WD. That would be why there’s always plenty of parking.

The You Tube video for this hike was actually put together by Ben.

Mt Elden Loop You Tube video

“Shore is perty up here…”

Book Event Post-mortem

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

In the spirit of my personal blog: What Have We Learned?

I had about 20-25 fine folks show up at my book presentation at REI last Wednesday (9-14). Thanks to all who came out. I hope you all learned at least something. I certainly did:

  • Leave a full half hour to dial in the AV – especially if you are relying upon projection (as I did).
  • Dialing in the AV is the most important part of setting up. Maybe 4 people noticed the props I had on my table. Everyone noticed how we started late trying to match the projection to the screen.
  • If you are going to read from your preface like a pretentious schmuck, you could at least rehearse it a few times so as to not stumble over your own sentences.
  • The twenty minutes of general hiking safety and know-how seemed to go better than the 30 minutes of essentially photos from the hikes. This may be because the slide-show of my vacation (not far from the literal truth) came at the end of the program.
  • The prop part, where I emptied my day-hike bag and explained what I took and why went better than I expected. From the questions, I definitely want to talk more about GPS and hiking sticks.
  • Really wish I had the logistical wherewithal to have recorded the event.

In all modesty, I did do a few things right.

  • I visited the store prior to the event, met the woman in charge, worked out the terms, and got the lay of the land.
  • The Paradise Valley REI folks were really cool to work with, and did a lot to publicize the event.
  • I had a cashbox with adequate change.
  • My kids were great helpers, and work for soda-pop! (We’ll see how long that lasts…)
  • I had my own inventory to sell. This approach makes life simplest for all parties. Not all booksellers are set up for the kind of cashier stunts needed to sell a book on consignment, or audit an inventory brought in just for the event. So, for one night, I totally screwed them by selling a product for almost 25% less than buying it off their shelf. But, I drew 25 people. And it was just one night.

Want to learn more? Book Publicity Blog has a primer on What Authors Need to Know re Book Events. Nothing in there about props.

If I seem hard on myself – well- I want to get good at this. I have two more events booked already, and that’s them calling me. I’ve yet to start hustling these events myself.

Towards that end, I’ve added a couple of pages. One repeats a survey I passed out at the event, a practice I intent to continue. The other is simply an ongoing calendar of my events.

[The event page is pending some confirmations]

Next week, we’ll get back to behind-the-hike posts.

Elden Springs

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

#2 in the series of behind-the-scenes hike notes for 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona

DATE: 9/12/10


START TIME: 11:45am

END TIME: 2pm (one way)


OFFICIAL MILES: 4 miles one way

So the astute reader will note that 18.7 miles is a long way for a 4 mile hike, and this is because originally this was going to be a loop hike up and around Mount Elden. That didn’t work out because half the original route had been fried to a cinder in the Schultz Fire. We found our way up the mountain anyway, and I don’t want to comment on that route other than saying we should have found a different way.

As a not-necessarily related side note, if the FS wants to close a trail, they should put signs on BOTH sides of the trail. Don’t want to point to a specific instance – in writing. Just saying.

So we got to the top and became separated. You can use a combination of access road and connecting trail to basically orbit the peak, and Ben and I were on opposite sides of that circle, looking for each other, for the better part of an hour.

We found each other, still near the peak, in time to watch the light of Flagstaff twinkle on as the Sun set on the far side of the mountains.

Humphrey’s Peak trail switches steeply back down to Fatman’s Loop, so we got to hike that trail twice. It’s not a 5 star experience in the dark.

A You Tube clip from the morning, when things still seemed promising:

Elden Spring 5 Star Hike #2

One more short climb

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

So I am one fact away from submitting the final bit of 5 Star Trails – Flagstaff and Sedona. I need a hiking club to confirm their contact information. When I get that, I am one sentence and one e-mail w/ attachment from doing a happy dance around my desk.

preliminary cover

Menasha Ridge, for their part, has it on sale already.

I don’t know where the cover photo came from. Very often, covers at this stage have “placeholder” art that – like this one – really isn’t related to the actual location.

So thanks to all the various retailers and club organizers who returned my e-mails confirming some facts. And the one who didn’t – you know who you are.

And as soon as I know who you are, I can add you tot he book and be done with this.