Sunday involved a 6-mile hike down Boynton Canyon, a vortex power-place outside Sedona. The weather started out intermittently sunny and cloudy; later the high clouds took over and the light dimmed. We didn’t expect the trail to be so tiring. The 3 miles to the end of the canyon seemed very long, though it doesn’t rise a whole lot. Half of it skirts the Enchantment Resort, going right by beautiful homes, with iron fences, cameras and barbed wire protecting them from the evil hikers. After skirting past red rock walls, cacti and man-sized Manzanita, the canyon narrows, the number of pines dwindle and maples and oaks become predominant. Some of them had turned but the primary color was green. Occasionally, it felt like we were traveling through a glowing emerald cathedral. At the end of the trail, we began scrambling up a steep, rock-filled section that dead ends on a narrow, steep, red rock shelf, set above the trees, high enough to see a portion of the 1,000-foot walls and the back end of the canyon. There were quite a few people there, enjoying the view. However, if you’re willing to trust your hiking boots and aren’t too afraid of heights, you can cross this area and follow a little trail that crosses another slope with a steep drop-off. Suddenly, you’re on a broad shelf that overlooks almost the entire canyon. Nobody was willing to follow us, and this shelf is around the corner from the other resting spot, so we were alone to enjoy lunch and the broad view. It was a long trek back, but we made it okay. A couple of Advil made the stiffness go away. (Some wine with dinner didn’t hurt either.)
We were planning to leave Sedona and dry camp up at Cave Springs, but Monday was so overcast and gloomy, we stayed hooked up in our Sedona campground. When the afternoon was still gray, we went to another movie, Matt Damon in “Afterlife”. It was a quiet, thoughtful film, directed by Clint Eastwood. It’s worth seeing. When we came out, it looked like we missed a dramatic sunset, but oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny, so we moved to our new campground quickly and drove down to Call of the Canyon and the Westfork Trail of Oak Creek. Alas, at 10:30 the small parking area was full and there were about 5 cars in front of us, waiting for someone to leave. Luckily, we were able to park on the roadside about 300 yards away and walk to the trail. And we hit it right. There were oaks with brown, tan, green and yellow leaves. And farther into the canyon, there were maples, some still green, but many in shades of lemon yellow, amber, soft coral and red. It was wonderful, just what we had been hoping for. So we meandered, ate lunch and meandered some more. The walls of the canyon are at least 800 feet high, and the afternoon light was contrasty on the white and pink rock. Additionally, there are so many trees that it is hard to focus on a particular subject. But the fun is in the trying.
The trail includes about 10 stream crossings, which means hopping over on stones or logs. The crossings were a breeze for me because I now have hiking sticks (that resemble ski poles). They provide 2 more balance supports. What really surprised me about both the Boynton Trail and this one is the number of aged people walking the walk (though slowly) and crossing the streams. There were a few that looked like they were in their late 70’s at least. It’s encouraging to see this, though I don’t expect to be rock-hopping streams in my late 70’s. (Maybe they’ll have air flotation wheel chairs by then.) I got tired after 2 miles or so, so Dave continued on and I wended my back, stopping to enjoy the leaves, the stream, the canyon walls. What a stellar outing. I came back with 198 pictures. Thank heavens for digital imaging.
The next morning we took a walk around our campground because it was covered with falling and fallen leaves. It’s so much fun for a San Franciscan to scuff through leaves on the ground.
Finally, we took off, heading west and home. We gave up on going into the Sierra foothills, looking for more fall foliage. A combination of finding campgrounds (some are closed by now, some are full for Halloween weekend and some don’t have cable hookups so we can watch the World Series) and the lack of websites that give current conditions led us to deciding to just go home. We found cable hookups in Kingman, Arizona and watched the Giants win their first game with the Texas Rangers. Sweet!! (Sorry, Marcia)
The Shady Lane RV Park in Barstow, California provided respite from the road and good cable reception. It was right next to a Drive-in movie theater, but we had another agenda. So we finished off the potato chips and watched Game 2 of the World Series. Wow! It was a rout, 9 to 0. Then more driving, across the pretty Tehachapi Mountains, down into smoggy Bakersfield and north to the Almond Tree Resort, off of Interstate 5, next to a grove of almond trees. This was our final night out. After being greeted by the office Dalmatian, we set up for our final night on the road for this trip.
Saturday, we got up early and sped towards home. We crossed over Pacheco Pass (beautiful) and stopped at the Casa de Fruita for lunch. We were greeted by a couple of peacocks. Got home in time to rehook up the satellite receiver, order a pizza, pop open a bottle of wine and watch Game 3 in Texas. Too bad – the Giants lost. Next game – today.