West Fork - Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ
08/23/2015 - 08/23/2015 90 °F
One last hike before we leave on our trip! We picked this particular trek because we heard the end of the hike was pretty similar to the Narrows in Zion National Park. Since the weather on that trip was a little sketchy, we didn't end up getting to experience it. We were determined to get to do it this time.
We arrived at the trailhead parking lot early on Sunday since we heard parking was a bit limited. We were awfully glad we did, there was a large family and a school group all arriving at the same time. The trail started off pretty simple, in a beautiful meadow full of ferns and apple trees. The cliffs were a striking contrast to the lush greens.
We continued on about a half a mile and came to a bridge, this would be the first of many times (13) we would cross Oak Creek!
Suddenly, the hike was a dirt path, winding through big beautiful trees. We crossed the creek over and over again, enjoying how cool it was near the water. The sun was peeking out from a couple of clouds and we were reveling in the temp difference from Phoenix.
After nearly 3.5 miles of winding through the Forrest, we reached the end of the maintained trail.
We had come prepared with our water sandals and waterproof sack and were ready to face a bit of unknown, the rest of the hike was through the more narrow canyon. We had read that we could expect the water levels to range from thigh deep to chest deep. The difference is wading or swimming! We decided to tackle the "trail" and face whatever might be ahead. What we found was beautiful and amazing. Every turn of the canyon brought a beautiful view!! Some parts were harder than others, that's for sure. Some slick rocks, and some deeper and muddier water and all the stuff you can only imagine lurking below the surface. The narrow headed gartersnake were the one part of the wild we hoped to not encounter!
The pictures don't come close to doing it justice. It really was remarkable. About a mile and a half into the canyon, we heard the second scariest sound you can hear on a hike like this. No, not karaoke! We heard the sound of thunder. Since thunder might mean it's raining up north, and rain means risk of flash flooding (not what you want when you're in a river bed, trapped between the narrow walls of a canyon) we decided to high tail it out of there and get back to civilization. So you might be wondering, what's the first scariest sound? That would be the sound of the canyon's sirens. The sirens mean that a flash flood is imminent and that you have mere minutes to get to higher ground. Luckily our thunder warning didn't turn out to be anything at all, but it made for a fun adventure and workout getting out of the canyon! Can't wait to do it again. We want to camp overnight next time.