April 26, Last Day, Dead Horse Ranch State Park - Cottonwood, AZ

Friday, today is our last day in Sedona.  We catch an 11am flight tomorrow, back to Seattle.  The air is real dry here.  We're not sure how people can live in such dry air, with sunshine every single day.  Good thing there is all types of weather, for all types of people.  We really do like our mixed weather in the Northwest.  Don't get us wrong.  Temps in the 70's and low 80's have been awesome.  Shorts and t-shirts for 2 weeks.  Riding 10 days.  Let's hope we keep our fitness.  And, I think we get to arrive home to rainy weather, especially up a the Pass.

Francine makes the climb on Raptor Trail

I think Utah also has a Dead Horse State Park, near Moab?  Again, where to ride?  Francine talked Kevin into driving down to Cottonwood, about 20 miles west, located lower, at 3120 feet.  He wasn’t too enthusiastic, as he didn’t want to ride road in the treeless, ugly, hot desert.  Last week, we visited the Tuzigoot Monument in Cottonwood, and the country surrounding wasn’t very pretty.  We wanted a short day, and our map showed a 7.5 mile loop.  The Verde Valley Birding Festival was taking place at the State Park, so we parked in town. 
Rode Jail Trail to the pavement, crossed the river and took a side trail into the park.  Climbed Lower Raptor Hill, which was basically a double track road.  We were sure hoping the entire ride wouldn’t be road.  After climbing 3 miles on the road, we hit an intersection with Thumper Trail.  Went right, and almost instantly, chose an unmarked trail on the left.  This nice single track looped up and around back to Thumper Trail.  Singletrack instantly upped the fun factor.  We found out the name of the unmarked trail was Upper Raptor.  We then went left on Thumper Trail which was nice singletrack for 2.3 miles.  Went right on Lime Kiln Trail for 2.1 miles.  Lime Kiln was a road that has turned to singletrack.  If we went left, we could have ridden 15 miles to Sedona on Lime Kiln trail.  Lime Kiln Trail eventually brought us back to the park.
Did we say there was no shade at all today, and we started around the crack of noon?  Temps were in the low 80’s.  When we made it back into the park, found some shade and had our lunch.  Once re-fueled, we had a nice 1 mile pedal back to the car.  Great way to end our awesome 2 week trip to Sedona.  We arrived on April 14th,  rode 10 days and only took 2 days off.  We had two, great, 2 bedroom condo units at Sedona Summit, thanks to Pat and Larry.  We are sure getting old and soft, and seem to prefer condos to camping on our bike trips.  Guess we will have to choose riding destinations near towns?  12 miles.

Still climbing.  Hot.  Thankfully,
 the downhill was actually pretty fun.

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