Thunder Mountain | Sedona Arizona



Thunder Mountain in the heart of Sedona Arizona is a singularly magnificent piece of Earth. It stands like a guardian sentinel of this sacred land.

There isn’t a clearly established path to hike to its peak. The trail is difficult to pick up and follow. The footing is loosely defined, and eventually gives way to bouldering style climbing closer to the top.

This hike isn’t advertised to the typical tourist population; because there is a significant threat of danger. The reason is partly due to rough terrain and potentially hazardous weather conditions, but also for the fact that most of the would-be-hikers simply don’t have what it takes to brave this wild rock with the proper physical fitness, or common sense.

Some people have died trying. One guy got to the top, lost his bearings, and was stranded up there overnight this Winter. It was freezing cold, but he managed to receive some help, and a helicopter dropped him some basic survival gear to make it through until more support could reach him in the morning.

Two days later is when I decided to hike Thunder mountain for the first time; despite the suspicious stories and the fear biased warnings of other people’s opinions. (Some of them hadn’t even hiked it, and the fears were only founded in regurgitated rumors.) I trust my judgment on these matters to be safe and sane. So together with a friend, we made a plan and started on our way up.

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition, not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.
— Niccolo Machiavelli

The weather was clear and warm. (One of the benefits of the occasionally mild climate of this high desert) The going is relatively easy for the first part. Then it gets a bit harder on the legs and lungs. The views near the top are breathtaking. The energy that emanates from the rock is great. It’s a gorgeous experience to behold.

We did get lost a few times, and that set us back on time and distance. Due to the short winter days, we had to decide to stop just short of the summit and head back down before nightfall. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of regret. We were achingly close to the top, but the window of time was too narrow to stay safe, and alive.

So we marked that first attempt as a learning experience. Better to respect the mountain spirit and build a healthy relationship with it. The next time will be better with more knowledge, and daylight. I’m sure the mountain spirit will grant success with a summit. Patience and gratitude are often the primary virtues that win the day.

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
— Soren Kierkegaard


One of the nice things about this hike, is the absence of any tourist crowd. I’m sure there are many days where not even a local person is up there. It’s such a hardcore workout for the body and mind; which makes it totally worthwhile. There are so many wonderful places to saunter through in Sedona. This red rock wilderness is singularly magnificent.

It’s a refreshing reminder to appreciate the world around us, and interact with the wilderness with presence, and respect. The forces of nature are very strong, and deeply wise.

I wish to share this with you, so that it may infuse you with inspiration, and encourage you to get outside and play. I also want to remind you that much of what many people say is steeped in fear and ignorance. They warn about the scary abstractions which plague them, and will not hesitate to project those limitations onto you.

Learn to decipher the stupid from the smart. Trust your intuition. Take intelligent action in the direction of adventure. Time is short and life is precious. Let it play.

Those who are willing to be the most uncomfortable are not only the bravest, but rises the fastest.
— Brené Brown

Mysterious Mountain - pt 1 & 2

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
— Leonardo da Vinci