Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Hell with the Bell

Weather:  85ยบ, hot & sunny

About this Hike:  I’ll start by saying I’m done with Bell Rock.  A few years ago I blogged about “failing to ring the bell on top”.  Today I hiked along the Bell Rock Climb trail until the U.S. Forest Service cairns vanished.  I reached what I believe to be as high as sane humans can go.  It’s a spire on the north side of the butte.  Getting up there is tricky, but the dry sandstone offers good traction.

Some European tourists hiked ahead of me and were seated atop the spire.  I had no such luck. I got to the base of the spire but could go no further.  My fear of heights kicked in.  Getting down off that thing was very tricky and I felt panicky at times.  There’s not a well-definied trail, and it takes a lot of careful scrambling.  Meanwhile the cairns of the official (easier, safer) trail seem tauntingly close as you work your way down a layer cake of sandstone. 

So, with RV and bus parking abundant at the (fee) trailhead, I feel that Bell Rock is a tourist trap and not worth my time.  But, for all intents and purposes I reached the top, and I no longer believe there’s a bell up there to ring…

The spire I could've gone to the top of...close enough

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