Thursday, April 24, 2014

West Fork Trail...The Call of the Canyon

Distant Drums RV Resort
Camp Verde, AZ
April 23, 2014

The Call of the Canyon is a novel written by Zane Grey back in 1924 and became the first of many Hollywood films made in Red Rock Country that same year. In his book he writes "Here in the canyon you'd think there was blazing fire everywhere."...an eloquent description of the canyon you are about to enter on the West Fork Trail. 


Right from the get-go, this hike grabs hold...a quarter mile or so before you even get to the actual trailhead. A paved path leads you thru an apple orchard that dates back to the first settlers, cliff walls reach for the sky on your right...

 and the sound of running water from the creek on your left remind you how wonderful life is!


The first spot of interest is the old ruins that were once home to Bear Howard...one of Sedona's legendary settlers. It seems he killed a herder in California, escaped prison, and headed for Arizona. Arriving in Dry Creek Canyon in 1879, on the run from the law, he made his home near West Fork. Later, the cabin was sold and turned into what became the Mayhew Lodge.

 Mayhew Lodge became famous for its hospitality, serving as a getaway for movie stars and diplomats.





Elvis Pressley, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard just to name a few.





Just past the ruins, the true trail begins...

















Aside from the total beauty that surrounded us, the trail was fun! There are several creek crossings...one source said 15 and another said 13. I lost count after 10!















Spring and fall are the recommended times of year for this hike. Green was certainly a predominate color of the day. The sunlight filtering thru the new leaves...

and especially with the red rock as a background was beautiful.


On the other hand, blue was not to be outdone! Lupines and butterflies lined the trail...




...along with these tiny white beauties that reminded me of stars floating along the ground.





The water is crystal clear...

...with mirror-like reflections.


The trail guide rated this an easy/longer trail. Joe and I agree maybe moderate would be a better rating. There was some rock scrambling. In fact, a lot of places were too tall to step up or down. Crossing the creek was a little tricky too as the rocks were slippery. I chose the "just get your feet wet" option to cross as the water was only ankle deep in most spots. The longer part...well just under 7 miles round trip from the parking lot. A total of 4.5 hours for us. I did stop a lot!

I did have to remind myself to look up from time to time...





This hike rates at the top of our list of favorites. So much so, we are thinking about a return trip to Sedona this fall on our way south just to see the fall foliage on this trail. We'll see. That's along time away for making plans.

Wildlife was scarce, but I did capture a few pictures...

                a lizard with a blue belly...



                                               a raven...



and my favorite for the day, a pair of American Robins.


I just cant believe tomorrow is Friday! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
 
Until next time, take care and...
 

enjoy!

19 comments:

  1. Another nice hike and great pictures.

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  2. Beautiful pictures….Sedona area sounds like someplace we would enjoy exploring. We'll add it to the list ….

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    1. Hi Sue! I could stay here forever! I haven't said that in a very long time!

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  3. I love the combination of the red rock formations, the spring flowers, and creeks. Makes me wish I was a painter. Thanks for sharing this memorable place with us.

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    1. My pleasure Pam...you are so right, this is a painters paradise as well as a photographers dream!

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  4. Oh my goodness Gay, I do so much want to travel in your footsteps when we get west!

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    1. Sedona should definitely be a stop Gayle!

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  5. What a gorgeous hike--your photos are perfect!

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    1. Thank you Dawn. It was hard picking photos for this post...I had so many to choose from!

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  6. You've certainly found a gorgeous area to be in and been able to capture some of it with your camera. Fantastic!

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    1. I am so glad we made the stop here! I'm not sure a month will be enough!

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  7. Wow Gay, what a lovely hike and as usual your captures are great storyteller.

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  8. Okay, Gay, I can't take much more! This was such an awesome hike. Boy, your photos and wording really captured the essences of this journey! So glad I can live this area through you til I get back:) I love this type hike with lots of variation. Isn't it amazing how long it takes to hike each mile with the climbing, crawling, water crossings and photos taking! I keep debating getting at least one hiking pole just for water crossings. But I did read on someone's blog about running into a guy who they saw take two large trash bags out of his pack and put one leg into each and water across the stream. Sounds like my new plan if the water is deeper.

    Can't wait for the next adventure!! Be careful out there:)

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    1. I'm with you Pam....I love canyon hikes! Don't get me wrong, I love the hikes like the one to Devil's Bridge too. But for me, the sound of running water wins every time! It's funny you mentioned the trek poles. I have refused them because of my camera, but I have ordered a new strap that frees up my hands. I have promised Joe that I would at least try the poles.

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  9. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! What a fun day you guys had! Spring seems like the perfect time to be there.

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    1. Thank you Sheila! I would really like to be there in the fall too..

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  10. What great pictures. I really must get back to Sedona my first trip there someone was giving us a tour they drove so fast I had whip lash from trying to see things. The trip wasn't much better as I had to be in Williams. Don't like that kind of traveling. I want to see what you have seen.

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