Day Five | Broken Arrow trail and a blizzard

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Playing catch-up and stopped by a blizzard

We are finally on day five and the crew was running low on supplies. Many in the group stressed that we stop at a grocery store. I was well stocked and wasn’t in need of anything but ice. I had plenty of meat and various fruits, vegetables, instant foods, and freeze-dried foods. Our plan was to shop in Sedona prior to making our way down Broken Arrow Trail.

Our Texas friends were running out of time before they had to return home. Day three and four took longer than expected. At this point, the trip wasn’t going as planned. Today, we were supposed to be waking up at Top Of The World and heading towards the Grand Canyon. With only two days to reach Monument Valley, we changed up the plans.

Broken Arrow Trail in Sedona, Arizona

The morning started off with a quick walk around the mill site of the Swastika mine. There isn’t much left but some concrete walls and tailings piles. After a short walk, we lined up and started down the Bradshaw mountains towards Interstate 17. After two hours of pavement, we got to Sedona. The Broken Arrow trail Its a fantastic experience for anyone who hasn’t been there. Its probably the most popular 4×4 trail in Arizona. The weekend brings loads of offroad enthusiasts looking for a day trip. Luckily, we were there on a weekday.
We captured the iconic photos that seem to litter social media. The Devils Dining room is a landscape like you never saw before. The soil is cryptobiotic and is actually a living organism. The smooth sandstone rocks show signs of ware as hundreds of Jeeps and offroad vehicles traverse the short trail. We made our way through every obstacle stopping in the middle for lunch. 
Nearing the end, we approach the Devils Staircase. The Devils Staircase is the highlight of the trail. It’s an intimidating, steep, and slippery decent that drops you back down into the Devils Dining room. Its no problem for anyone in our group. Finally, we reached the end of the Broken Arrow Trail.

Amenities and heartbreak 

We decided it would be best to stop in Williams for some groceries and pressed forward. The rendezvous point was the Pilot truck stop in Williams Arizona. The plan was to do some laundry, grocery shopping and take a shower. One of our group members developed a noisy wheel bearing on the way up. Our group quickly pulled together to tackle the task. It started to snow as we huddled together.

Off came the tire, locking hub, brake caliper, and eventually the brake rotor that housed the wheel bearing. I offered a tube of grease to assist with the job. With a new wheel bearing in hand, Russ started to pack the bearing using a plastic bag. In the meantime, Mikki was modifying a Ford hub socket to fit the Mitsubishi spindle nut. The snow started to get heavier as we assembled the wheel bearing and hub. Finally, Stephan’s rig was back on its feet.

By the time everyone was done, it was dark and snowing heavy. The white powder quickly covered the streets of Williams as we made our way to a forest road just outside of town. The trail was sloppy with mud and didn’t provide a campsite. We turned back into town and eventually ended up back at the Pilot truck stop to call it a night.

I’m glad I don’t sleep in a rooftop tent.

Kevin Allard
Author: Kevin Allard

Kevin is an American outdoorsman born and raised in rural Arizona who grew up exploring the Arizona backcountry with his father. Today, he and his son travel to the most remote regions of Arizona, scavenging for the remains of early western pioneers. As a lifelong outdoorsman, Kevin has learned to stick close to his roots while engaging in important advocacy work regarding motorized access to public lands. You can find his work in many local and nationwide publications, including The Western Journal, 4Low Magazine, and his website


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