Many people have told us that you have to do the Broken Arrow Road in a Jeep. So this morning we headed off in that direction to see if we are really members of the 4-wheeling society or just wannabes. A volunteer at the Sedona Visitor’s Center said that if you can make it over the first rock obstacle, you can make it to the end of the road. So as we left the paved road and started down the dirt trail, we kept an eye out for that obstacle. Just beyond a sign suggesting the need for high clearance vehicles, we came to the rock ledge pictured below.
OK, that wasn’t so bad. We made it over with ease so we should be able to get up the rest of the road with no problem. But soon we rounded a corner and saw the rock climb pictured below.
The picture is a bit deceiving, as the climb was much steeper than it appears. Next to the climb was a sign. Note what it says at the bottom. We quickly realized that this was the obstacle the volunteer at the visitor’s center was referring to.
We decided that putting ourselves at risk was just what we needed. So up the rock we went, with the Jeep handling the steep ascent with no difficulty. The road became very narrow in spots and had a number of steep climbs.
Then it would go down hill into some deep holes.
Then up again over rock outcroppings.
As we neared the end, the road flattened out a bit and became a bit straighter (relatively speaking).
We didn’t see anyone on the road up, so we thought we would be the only ones at the end. But to our surprise we found two Pink Jeeps parked there with a large group of people taking in the sites.
But the “crowd” soon departed and we had the place to ourselves. The views were more than fantastic!
We overheard one of the Jeep drivers call this place Chicken Point, and as we looked around we spied a rock formation that explained the name.
There was a hiking trail that went down and around the vista, so off we went to explore. The trail soon split, and we took the route called the Chapel Trail. We thought it would probably lead up to a rocky area along the cliff resembling a chapel, but as we rounded a bend we could see a structure in the distance.
As we neared the structure, it became apparent that this was the “chapel” the trail was named for.
We had stumbled on the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross.
In 1932 Marguerite Brunswig Staude, an nearby resident, artist and rancher, had a reoccurring vision of a cross on the newly completed Empire State Building in New York. The cross became a recurring theme in her life during the next 25 years. She felt inspired to get the assistance of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and to build a skyscraper cathedral in Europe. When World War II broke out, they cancelled their plans. Finally in 1955, her dream was realized with the building of the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The chapel is built on Coconino National Forest land but Senator Barry Goldwater assisted Staude in obtaining a special-use permit. The Chapel is 250 feet high and emerges from a 1,000-foot wall. The American Institute of Architects gave it “The Award of Honor” in 1957. The red rock cross can be seen from miles around Sedona.
Later in the day we drove around the mountain to get a view of the front of the chapel
Apparently during our visit to the chapel a small landslide must have occurred, as we found a large bolder blocking the trail. Fortunately, one of us used his superman-like (is that a word?) strength to clear the trail and save the hiking day!
As we rounded a bend in the trail we heard something coming on the trail and turned to find two guys on bicycles riding toward us. These two must be very experienced bikers as the trail was challenging to walk on, much less traverse on a bike.
As we returned to Chicken Point we continued to enjoy fantastic views. Note our small, white Jeep in the lower right.
We returned safely back to Sedona and spent some time driving around the area (on paved roads) enjoying the views. This place is so beautiful and there seem to be breathtaking views around every corner. Tomorrow we will ride up Oak Creek Road to check out some of the views there. More on that later . . .