Sedona: West Fork Canyon, Boynton Canyon, Doe Mountain
Whenever we travel, we use a lot of different resources to identify activities. Usually we have a good old fashioned book (really!), and use that to find the big items – the ones everyone will visit. Then we use Yelp to find great places to eat (hopefully off the beaten path). Blogs and sites like Trip Advisor also come in handy. And we use it all to make our plan (which evolves as each day comes).
One thing all sources agree on for hiking in Sedona is that West Fork Canyon is a real winner. On to the list it went.
Just the drive to it told us we were on the right track. It’s north of Sedona on the road to Flagstaff, and the landscape changes immediately. Instead of open desert, now you’re driving through a winding canyon.
We stopped along the road and found a little path back to this bridge.
See those people down there helpfully providing scale?
Then we finally arrived, paid our $8, and set out. Now it’s my turn to provide scale.
West Fork used to have a little settlement, and then later a resort. Some remains are still available for crawling around inside.
As we headed into the woods, another couple stopped and warned us that they’d just met someone who’d turned around because of ice on the trail. Queue my skepticism. I tried, though. Here I am standing on a surprisingly not slick path (the ice was mixed with sand).
Uh oh. A stream crossing. The first of 13 on this trail. And that’s the one-way journey.
Nope, sorry. Here I am, turned around and heading for the chicken exit.
Well, what else does the book suggest? Now we headed for Boynton Canyon. It’s near one of the fabled vortexes in the area. Yen said it might be to blame for what happened later…
The first mile of this trail circles a snooty resort. But at least the buildings blend in with the rocks. It wasn’t too disruptive.
After being so open and offering sweeping views, suddenly the trail turns and heads into the wooded canyon. And the temperature drops. A lot.
Don’t worry: We didn’t.
The pictures below are the first time I’m seeing the end of the canyon. At about mile 4, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I lost all energy, all resolve, and started crying. I sat down in the middle of the trail and refused to budge. Poor baffled Yen did his best to get me up again, but in the end I sent him on ahead. He said, “I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” and took off running. He made it back in exactly ten minutes. Meanwhile, I ate a ham sandwich and felt slightly better. But I was still entirely done for the day.
The return trip was easier because it was mainly downhill. It’s hard to complain about any trail that doesn’t require climbing.
The sun was getting low, but Yen wanted some good sunset shots. On the recommendation of another hiker, we drove to nearby Doe Mountain. I sat in the car while Yen literally ran up the side of the mountain for a few shots. He was back in 30 minutes.