Have you ever wondered what the Edge of The World looks like and where it may be located? I believe that one edge of the earth resides somewhere between Sedona and Flagstaff in the great explorative state of Arizona.
We started the day like any other exploring day and headed out early in the morning to try to make the most of our day. It was a nice day, temperatures were great and road conditions good, a little cloudy but I like it that way! Our bodies and minds were aching for a hike, waiting to explore uncharted(by us) territories. I had been turned on to this area by a friend at my work. He used to be a forest service worker; a hot shot at that. He always talks about his own adventures back in the day when he was working with the forest service and all the places they would have to regularly clear out debris to prevent fires and the spread of fires in the national forests. He mentioned to me if I found the edge of the world I could continue on until the end of the road and that it would lead me somewhere interesting. He was right!
As you can see the road was closed, so we parked the truck out of the way incase someone official had to come through, and we pressed on and continued to walk about a quarter of a mile up the road. At the end of the short walk we ran into a watch tower of sorts. It was a fire lookout tower, and it was called the East Pocket Lookout. I had no idea that it was there. I knew of the Edge of the World area through research that I had done and a bit of google mapping, but I didn’t know that there was a tower up there. It was even manned by a forest service worker. As we approached the tower we half expected to be turned away thinking this was official forestry business.
As we got closer and closer we noticed there were windows open on it and there was a trailer down on the ground and an ATV sitting near it. A man came out on the balcony and hollered down to us. He said we were welcome to come on up and get a view and a tour. We were blown away! We thought we were in an off limits area and a place we weren’t supposed to be, but we were greeted with a smile and an invitation. So we hurried on up the stairs of the tower. I was totally psyched to get up to the top and see the view and the workings inside the tower. What guy wouldn’t be stoked on that! The inside did not disappoint either! I was jealous that this was his job!
The man inside greeted us with a smile and a friendly hello as we came up the stairs and said it was nice to have us up there as the tower is pretty secluded he doesn’t get many visitors. He introduced himself and likewise we did the same. He asked that we sign in on a ledger, that way they can keep track of how many people come up and visit, and that it would allow them to give that information to the forest service to show that there is a recreational interest in these towers and that people like to see them in operation. There is the worry of machines taking over jobs of real people and I think the ledger helps in preventing a high tech camera to take the place of the 24/7 manned tower. While inside, he showed us how they look for fires, or smoke really, then they talk to another tower in the distance and they triangulate where the smoke is coming from and then give an estimated guess on where the fire is so that ground crews can get on it and neutralize it. Pretty interesting to me if I may say so! We visited for a while and talked about many things related to our jobs and had a great time. He said we couldn’t stay long as there was a lightning storm coming in the distance and that it was not safe to be up in the tower during lightning storms. We thanked him for the visit and the hospitality.
He did mention the next time we were there, that there is a trail that goes behind the tower out to another ledge that would over look Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona and that the next time we were up there that we should check it out. The whole area is really diverse and beautiful. I found plenty of camping areas in this location and I cant wait to go back and explore some more! Happy Trails!
To get to the edge of the world you would drive to Flagstaff, Arizona and take the I-40 West to Woody Mountain Road, take the dirt road south for about 1 hour and 15 min to the edge of the world. Continue on to the closed gate and walk about 1/4 of a mile to the fire tower.
“If you’re not living on the EDGE, you’re taking up too much space.” – Jim Whittaker