Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Sedona, and a Broken Toe

Blog Post Title Image: White letters read "Broken Toes and Beautiful Views in Arizona. Black letters read "" An RV is on the left, against a backdrop of a mountain range and blue skies with a few white clouds. A road can e seen on the right, with trees at the far corner. Photo taken at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, by Mariana Abeid-McDougall

The mountains look like a painting—a perfectly balanced mix of colours and shading that are a testament to the artist’s great experience.

Mountain range as seen from the campground at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Mountains can be seen in the distance, above which are blue skies and a few white clouds. In front of the mountain, some grass and small shrubs stand.


Looking at these mountains, you can’t help but be filled with wonder about both science and God—the beauty of God’s nature, and the incredible things science has helped us learn about the formation of mountains, rocks, and the evolution of vegetation, as well as the adaptations of both plants and animals to a harsh desert environment—adaptations which give the desert its unique and awe-inspiring beauty. It’s no wonder the desert inspires so much art.


A father and three children hiking along a path. A lake is to the right, and mountains and trees are on the left. Hikers are walking in a line along the path. Photo taken by Mariana Abeid-McDougall at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona.


The desert deals in extremes, and these extremes, at least in the Southwest of the United States, give the desert a diversity of scenery not easily paralleled elsewhere.

At Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona, you’ll have the joy of experiencing this diversity first hand, as you start your hike among trees and water, and eventually find yourself in a much drier part of the trail—at least for today.

Mind your weather predictions, and come prepared. This very dry portion of trail could be completely flooded very quickly during a heavy rainfall, as cautionary signs indicate. On a beautifully sunny day like this one, we have nothing to worry about, other than staying hydrated and avoiding sunburn.


Dead horse ranch state park hiking trail. A small canyon.


We stayed at Dead Horse Ranch overnight before heading into Sedona for more hiking among the beautiful mountains. Dead Horse, despite its very odd name, is a beautiful location, and the campground and associated facilities were very clean and well-taken care of. Great showers, too, which is always nice, after showering int he cramped RV quarters for a week. There’s also a very nice playground nearby, which the kids enjoyed fully—especially the zip line.


A 9-year-old girl, a 4-year-old girl, and a 6-year-old boy sitting on a yellow round-about type of playground equipment.


And the day gave us a beautiful gift in the sky—great clouds that we had fun identifying as similar to familiar shapes. What do you think they look like?


Clouds in Dead Horse Ranch State Park. photo by Mariana Abeid-McDougall


Although we only stayed one night, we really enjoyed our stay at Dead Horse Ranch, and we highly recommend a visit. There are plenty of trails to explore, plus several other outdoor activities to enjoy, including fishing—and there’s even a fish cleaning station, so you can take your catch-of-the-day to your campsite or home, all ready to go.


Fish cleaning station at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Hoses hang from the ceiling, agove a stainless steel table and sink.


After a restful night’s sleep in a beautifully dark campground, we leave for Sedona. As we drive into the town, some of the most unique mountains I’ve ever seen greet us.


A brown rocky mountain in Sedona, Arizona.


My first impression of Sedona is that everything is brown. The mountains, the building, the houses are all the colour of clay. I assume it has something to do with the climate, but I wasn’t able to find an answer about the specific colour (I know stucco holds up well in extreme weather).

My second impression is that people here value handmade items—there’s what seems to be a whole artisan village close to the entrance to the town. But despite its commercial reputation, Sedona in general looks like an outdoor lover’s haven—and most of the hiking, if all you want to do is explore nature, is free or almost free. Hiking here looks absolutely incredible. Alas, I won’t be hiking in Sedona. The day before we arrived to see these beautiful mountains, I severely injured a toe (or perhaps, toes).

There are many advantages to living in a small space: it’s easier to clean, you can take your “house” with you wherever you go, and you save money, because there’s nowhere to put extra stuff you buy, so you don’t. But there are disadvantages too, especially for someone who lacks a bit of spatial awareness (read: me). 

The bed in our bedroom is very close to the wall. There is plenty of space to get out of the bed without hitting the wall, but of course, I hit it anyway. Jumping out of my bed to put a cup away, I stubbed my toes pretty hard on the wall leading out of the bedroom. And it hurt. A lot. I was sure it was broken. A trip to the walk-in clinic and an x-ray later, the toe apparently wasn’t broken; just really, really sore. I couldn’t put weight on it, let alone go hiking. So I stayed in the RV and worked while Dan took the kids to check out the mountain at Airport Mesa in Sedona. I at least got to observe the beauty from the RV.


mountain range as viewed from airport mesa's parking lot (mountain can be seen through the windshield of a motorhome.)


Not a bad view for my temporary office. 

Fast forward to a few days later… the report came back from the radiologist. The clinic called me to let me know they found an irregularity on the second toe and a possible fracture on the third. Which is really weird, since most of the pain is coming from the 4th and 5th toes. But oh well. Turns out there’s a reason for all the pain and for why I’m still walking funny. 

I’ll be getting a walking boot just so I’m more comfortable, but no reason for alarm. I’ve broken a toe before. It’s highly uncomfortable, but one of the advantages of living with chronic pain is that you’re used to pushing the pain aside and going on with life. Unfortunately, pushing the pain aside also probably means I may have done more damage by walking on a very sore toe a couple of days after I injured it, but such is life. It’s still pretty sore and I’m continuing to ice it. I’m also looking forward to getting the boot, which we’ll do today at a medical supply store—they’re easy enough to find and can be purchased off the shelf. I’ll keep you posted.

2 thoughts on “Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Sedona, and a Broken Toe

  1. I love your “reports”. Nunca gostei de dserto…e nao eh que agora estou prestando atencao neles??
    Cuida desses seus dedinhos!

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