Sedona Confidential

Continued (page 3 of 4)

About one hour and 15 minutes into the movie, Harry stands by a telephone booth on SR 179 with Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte looming in the not-too-distant background while his nephew makes a phone call. The telephone booth sits in front of Sedona’s Inn, a motel located in the building that now houses Minami restaurant and Indian Ink Tattoo at 6586 SR 179 in the Village of Oak Creek (stop at the commercial center and take a look at it from a different angle – it’s obvious it once housed a motel; it’s even easy to imagine a motel room while dining in Minami). In the six-minute sequence, Harry meets up with a naturopath (obviously there are some aspects of Sedona that haven’t changed in the last 35 years) named Wade (played by Arthur Hunnicutt) who attempts to cure Harry’s bursitis in a motel room. You can see views of Bell Rock from the motel room window; our best guess is the scene was filmed in the room that now houses Minami. When Wade and Harry depart Sedona’s Inn, they drive through the Village of Oak Creek during a blazing sunset. Harry and Tonto have further adventures in Flagstaff, Las Vegas (in a hilarious scene where Harry drags poor Tonto through a busy casino) and, finally, Hollywood and Venice Beach. It’s great to know a piece of Academy Award history and Sedona film history still stands.

Directions: South on SR 179 through the Village of Oak Creek. The old Sedona’s Inn was located in the building at 6586 SR 179. Harry and Tonto, directed by Paul Mazursky, is available on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Want more Harry & Tonto? Read the full behind the scenes story in Arizona’s Little Hollywood: Sedona and Northern Arizona’s Forgotten Film History 1923-1973.

Hidden Views

The signs at the trailhead for Woodchute Mountain #102 say this trail is heavily used, but we were told by a third-generation Verde Valley resident that you’ll rarely find traffic along this route, especially if you go all the way to the end to experience the jaw-dropping views. Located in the Prescott National Forest, Woodchute Mountain isn’t as familiar as its sister peak, Mingus Mountain, but the terrain is similar. The hike begins at FR 106, a dirt road just off SR 89A. The trail sets off through a peaceful, lush forest. Soon you’re traversing a ridgeline with views of Sedona, Cottonwood and the San Francisco Peaks to your right, and Prescott and Prescott Valley to your left. We hiked during the summer months, and the temperatures were at least 15 degrees cooler than in Sedona. The pleasant climate coupled with lots of shady spots make this the ideal warm-weather hike.

The National Forest says the trail is 2.75 miles one way, but that only takes you to the top of Woodchute Mountain. After making the steady climb to the summit, we wanted a reward for our efforts, so we made the short – and flat – trek across the top of the mountain to the rim for views. The trail ends at 3.55 miles with bird’s-eye views of Sycamore Canyon and the red rocks of Sedona (we could even make out Cathedral Rock, though a fire on the Mogollon Rim made the valley hazy). You’ll also see the Verde River, multiple highways snaking across the valley floor, Beaverhead Flats, Dead Horse State Park and the rooftops of Jerome. The rim is the ideal spot for lunch – flat rocks provide the seats while old growth Ponderosa pine trees offer shade. Woodchute Mountain is also home to countless horny toads, including one that was at least four inches long and appeared to be happy to pose for photos.

The elevation at the top of Woodchute is 7,633 feet – the trail climbs about 680 feet from parking lot to peak and it’s very rocky in some sections. If you’re a backpacker, the top of the mountain has some wonderful camping spots.

Directions: South on SR 89A through Jerome and to the top of Mingus Mountain. Turn right on the road leading to the Potato Patch Campground (directly across SR 89A from the Mingus Recreation Area). The road turns into FR 106, which is a dirt road. Stay on FR 106 (fine for high- clearance vehicles) and follow the signs for Woodchute Mountain #102. The trailhead is located underneath power lines. A Red Rock Pass is not required for parking. Restrooms are located along FR 106.

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