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Diving Board Sunset Hike
October 29, 2016
by Mark Purcell
Trailblazers are ready to hike to the Diving Board. [photo by Quy]
Kneeing: Lin, Gary, Cecilia, Diva.
Standing:  Quy, Joe, Carl, Mary, Mark P, Karen, Mark J., Michelle, Laurie, Biljana, Emma, Dave, Rhonda, Ralph, Mimi, April, Carol.   Not shown: Michael

As a hike leader, the inclusion of contingency can be a prudent component in the planning process. Particularly for this event, with an afternoon start and a focus on sunset viewing of landscapes, any delay in onset presented the prospect of trekking back to the trailhead with fading natural illumination and flashlights deployed.

With limited parking at the trailhead, the major concern was space for all of the incoming vehicles and the potential of a series of shuttle maneuvers to a nearby unoccupied area. Cushion was built into the schedule to accommodate. Ultimately, the complication that arose was not positioning of vehicles before the start of the hike but getting participants there at all, due to an accident on AZ-179 between I-17 and Sedona.

Mark digitally herds the vehicles. [photo by Quy]

Thankfully, after either detouring or waiting for transports to navigate the delay (along with not needing extensive shuttle arrangements), we were able to commence without concern of altering the agenda of the hike.

The Sedona Bell. [photo by Quy]
Sweet shade. [photo by Quy]

Due to complex routing with numerous intersections (not always signed) and to assure we would return with the same number of hikers as departure, I maintained the lead throughout, using a dedicated sweep volunteer to bring up the rear. With the mid-day sun and temps in the upper 70s, the initial sections on the Coconino and Slim Shady trails were quite toasty, but relief was offered on the aptly named Made in the Shade trail.

As I explore candidates for club hikes in the Sedona area, my orientation is towards those not previously explored with bonus points assigned to less documented destinations. Diving Board came to my attention while conversing with a couple residents in the area. My first visit was somewhat comical in retrospect, as I missed the unmapped trails and resorted to a steep bushwack that, at its terminus, uncovered (dah, dah) THE TRAIL. Return to the car was subsequently easier and established the viability for a group such as the Trailblazers.

Goin’ Up Around the Bend. [photo by Quy]
Looks like who? [photo by Quy]

Now, back to Made in the Shade. At about the halfway point, the group was detoured off onto a well-defined and maintained unmarked social trail where eventually the destination was revealed — with overheard commentary, upon initial evaluation, garnering an exclamation “How are we going to make it up THERE!?”.

Maintaining consistent verbal or sight line contact with the sweep, I led the group up to a saddle that revealed a view to the south towards the Verde Valley, House Mountain, and Mingus Mountain.

For the final half mile, the route became less defined and narrow as we periodically scooted along the side of the red rock walls till we reached the Diving Board. This outcropping, probably looking more like an arrowhead if viewed from a drone, is actually quite substantial and everyone in our group was able to explore its perimeter without crowding.

The destination. [photo by Quy]
Looks like we made it. [photo by Gary]
Yes, we made it to the Diving Board. [photo by Carl]
The Posse rejoices. [photo by Quy]
There’s Michael. [photo by Quy]
Looking down the Board. [photo by Lin]
The Lin Leap. [photo by Carl]

After 30 minutes at that Diving Board we headed back toward the trailhead. The sunset was in its early stages but matured as we continued, offering spectacular views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and into West Sedona at the final segment. However, one of our hikers did suffer a slip and fall during the return journey and was administered first aid with a sling.

Although we feared a broken bone, she completed the hike without complaint and all of us were grateful to learn the next day that, although she was quite sore, nothing was fractured.

Sunset in Sedona. [photo by Quy]
Watching, or waiting? [photo by Quy]
Shadows deepen in the setting sun. [photo by Lin]

As detailed in the hike event description, due to the late conclusion no group post-hike meal was scheduled. We then said our goodbyes and departed.

I would to thank Michael for organization at the carpool site in Phoenix and Mary for functioning as the sweep.

→   More pictures, by Lin.
→   More pictures, by Quy.
→   More pictures, by Gary.

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updated July 8, 2020