So I guess I have been sleeping under a rock. As many times as I have visited Sedona, and that includes at least six trips, I just visited West Fork Trail in Oak Creek, 12 miles north of Sedona.
During this time of the year the trees are changing colors in dramatic fashion. The golden maples (at least I think they are maples) are magnificent. All this set against the red rocks and turquoise sky is simply amazing.
It’s a well maintained trail along Oak Creek. Three miles each way but go at your own pace and enjoy the changing fall leaves and the creek that runs by. There is a $9 entry fee so bring some cash. I arrived late in the afternoon and didn’t get a chance to hike the full trail. I am told you might get a little wet as the trail crosses the creek. I will definitely make time for a return trip here.
I left bayou country yesterday en route to higher ground and more great walks. The summer temperatures can really heat up an airplane cabin so I kept the window shade down for most of the trip. When the pilot said we were getting close to Seattle I raised the shade and got an eyeful of Mount Ranier peeking through the clouds. Oh boy, this trip to Woodinville and San Juan Islands is going to be an adventure!
Just a hiccup upon arrival. The rental car agent had a wily way of quoting prices. Good thing I questioned her at the Budget counter or else I would have signed a contract for all kinds of additional fees. It was a simple thing, really. She quoted an upgrade for “$13” but she really meant $13 a day. Same goes for cost of adding a driver. (Never mind I had already contracted for this same upgrade for a flat fee of $3.)
But I was on to her and all is well! Time to hit the highways.
Arrived in Woodinville, safe and sound . Willows Lodge is beautiful. There is a pig and also a wedding right outside my window! More later.
Whale watching and vibrant colors await you at Bodega Head on the Sonoma Coast. You can drive up a mountainside to a wide open view of the Pacific where you will find whale watchers staring dutifully at the ocean. I didn’t see any whales but can’t say I gave it anymore than just a few minutes of my attention.
There is a hike that takes you away from the whale watching area to Horseshoe Cove Overlook. It’s not a difficult hike except you need to be very careful of the steep cliffs. And, if you are allergic to bees, you may want to pass on this one. The hike takes you through wildflowers that are as high as four feet. I saw a lot of bees but none was interested in me.
You will be moved by the abundance of color: the blue waters of the Pacific, the vivid white spray as it crashes against the rocks and the flowers. The flowers are brilliant. The closer you get to the Overlook, the less you hear the ocean. Once there, it is a beautiful silence – a reward for making it to the top.
On the way back, I recommend a stop at the Spud Point Crab Company for some of the best clam chowder I have ever had. Couple that with a delicious dungeness crab sandwich on sourdough bread and it is time for a nap!
I have been fortunate to have been able to take some great trips which led to great walks and hikes and photos. In this blog, I will share what I consider to be some fantastic walks. My criteria is simple: they have to be easy to moderate and in a beautiful setting.
My first offering: Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona. This place will blow you away. It’s located in the Coconino National Forest and costs eight bucks to enter but it is well worth the fare. It offers a breathtaking view of massive Cathedral Rock against Sedona’s typical bright blue sky. A creek runs through this area, which was once the Crescent Moon Ranch. Some of the old buildings remain on the property and are a nice setting for photos and picnics.
This area is also an energy vortex and I’m no expert on that except to say you will feel rejuvenated here, at least I was.
When I visited one afternoon in November, 2009, I was immediately struck by the sound of the leaves rustling in the trees. It was so loud it reminded me of applause – like nature was welcoming us. Add to that, the stunning red rocks, blue sky, the sound of the creek nearby and you get the real thing- a naturally soothing experience that fills you up. You can’t help but take it all in – take a deep breath and exhale. Stress reduction.
You can walk along the creek or cross it to access the “Baldwin” trail. The sun was beginning to set so I didn’t take this hike but the forest service says it’s about a mile long. Visit their website or call them to get the details.
There are a ton of great walks in Sedona-you can hardly go wrong with any of them. But this one is my favorite.
P.S. – if you want to grab a good hamburger afterwards, check out the Red Planet Diner. For dinner, I really enjoyed Fournos – a small greek restaurant. The food was superb and the garlic will keep the vampires away. When you walk in the place, you think you’ve entered the kitchen area and turns out you have. The kitchen and dining area are one big space.
Directions to Red Rock: Drive west from Sedona on US 89A. Just outside town, turn south on FR 216 (Upper Red Rock Loop Road). Drive about 1.5 miles and follow the signs to Red Rock Crossing. All roads except the short segment leading from Red Rock Crossing Road to the picnic area are paved.