Couple weeks ago MuseJr and I were lamenting the fact that both ID and UT's high country are still loaded with snow, keeping us from getting in any serious hiking.
We decided that hiking into West Oak Creek in Arizona sounded like a plan.
I loaded the car with gear and supply's on Saturday afternoon. I crashed out for a few hours and hit the road at 1:30 Sunday morning. Five hours latter I was pulling up to Muse's place just south of Salt Lake. By 2 we had crossed all of Utah and where in search of a campground for the night. We finally found a site at one that was going to work to hang for the night and in short order we decided to head down to Sedona for dinner.
The sun rose early and we broke camp to head a couple miles down to the trail head parking lot. We had plans to meet Dejoha there but some how we missed each other. We hung around for a bit but figured something must have come up so we decided to hit the trail.
With a mix of sand and stream crossings though a lush green canyon bottom we hiked at a steady plodding pace, often stopping to shoot pictures of the canyon walls and anything else that landed in front of our eyes.
We chatted briefly with a number of folks we passed along the way, and passed many day hikers. We hit the 3 mile mark after probably an hour and a half on the trail. At this point the trail dissipates and the canyon continues beyond with an section of creek wading that would be followed with numerous more sections that are only passable by hiking though the stream. We found a shaded spot to grab a snack before hitting the water.
We were soon ready to get going again after a short break.
Dry ground behind us now.
The creek varied from a couple inches to pools that would have been neck deep if stepped into, but we were able to find a route thought at knee deep or less for several miles.
As we continued along the creek we began to wonder at what point we would find a spot to get out of the canyon and up to where there were trees and find a spot to hang.
The view looking up along most of the creek.
We eventually came to a spot in the creek that looked like we had only one choice left.....swim. We had not packed for that contingency and had to take a couple of moments to consider our options. After a few minutes we spotted a rough looking "trail" up the rocks and though the brush that we hopped might give us options. Several hundred feet up the hill the brush opened up on a camp site with a heavily used fire ring and a few trees with small tracks heading out in several directions. We checked the side trails looking for another way further up the creek to no avail. Settling to hang for the night at the small camp we set about seeing what options were available for trees to hang from. At one corner of the clearing was a huge ponderosa. We had to work hard to make the huge tree work to hang from. Muse had 10' straps and used nearly every single inch to get around the tree and form a spike hitch.
Once we got set up and our tarps pitched for shade we stretched out and dozed off for a couple hours.
Before long the shade was beginning to close in on the canyon and we decided we had better head down to the creek for water and a short soak before it got to late.
As we hung out at the creek enjoying the cool air and water looking up canyon the cliffs began to light up.
We headed back up the hill and set about burning some alcohol to cook dinner. We sat up chatting and watching the stars come out of the crystal clear sky. It did not take long before we were ready to lay back in our hammocks to watch the stars go by. It did not take long before I was out.
We got up early as the sun came up and had a quick breakfast before packing up and heading back down the hill to the creek.
The water felt a lot colder first thing in the morning than it had with the warmth of the afternoon.
We made good time and were back on the trail section. We hit it at speed and hammered out the 3 miles with a vengeance. Slowing only to anwnser questions about the trail ahead for the day hikers.
In just a couple hours we hike the full distance back out.
We high tailed it back to the campground, hoping to find a spot for the night before all the tourists piled in. We were in luck and found a good spot, grabbed a shower and headed back down to Sedona for some dinner.
After we got back to the campground in the evening we hung out chatting, munching some jerky from the World of Jerky store. We heard a rustling in the brush just past my hammock, I figured it was a rabbit and decided to check it out with my headlamp, pointed back at me was the stripped back of a large skunk. After he strolled back and forth several times and circled the tree I was hanging from I decided to pick a new set of trees at the other end of our site. We crashed out shortly later and slept the night though.
In the morning we decided to pack up and drive on up to Flagstaff for breakfast. With full belly's we hit the road, crossing the northern part of Arizona and back north though Utah. Hitting SLC mid rush hour I dropped Muse of when we met up with his wife and I was back on the free way to finish up the five hour drive across northern Utah and southern Idaho. I pulled into the driveway minutes before midnight, 94 and a half hours after I pulled out.
Not 20 minutes ago Muse tested me wanting to know where we are headed next .............Car's still packed Muse