Sunday, August 03, 2008

August 1-3: Granite Dells and the Oak Creek Canyon West Fork

Yea verily ... a quarter pound of fresh rocky road fudge is a great way to top off two days of hiking and some nice dinners with my wife Fran.  

Fran and I made our way up to Prescott, AZ on Friday August 1st.  We left Phoenix 10AM and by mid-day had lunch just east of Prescott.  Just north of Prescott we found the entrance to Peavine Trail and then hiked near Watson Lake in the middle of the Granite Dells.  Its a straight shot hike up the Peavine Trail from the trail head and we saw some nice views of Watson Lake and the dells.  The trail is converted from an old rail road bed and is wonderfully groomed, flat and soft to walk on.  We did a little over a four mile round trip in two hours and stopped for scenery breaks often

The evening of the first we had a great dinner at a little restaurant in west Sedona called "Heartline Cafe" it was recommended by a friend of Fran who held her wedding up their recently.  We had a wonderful meal there with great service.  Saturday morning we had breakfast at our motel and travelled up route 89A to try to get into Slide Rock ... a real favorite of families but as we found out at the Chamber of Commerce that parking lot fills up at 10AM during the summer and stays full all day long.  Lines of cars back up onto the highway waiting for someone to leave.  We did not want to get that line so we went further to the north in Oak Creek Canyon to a park called "Call of the Canyon ... West Fork".  Prior to arriving we stopped at the Indian Gardens Deli.  I recommend this place highly.  Good food and drink and a beautiful garden in the back to sit in the shade and eat and drink.  The West Fork turned out to be a spectacular hiking grounds and led us for several miles (I was told it goes for 10+ miles) back into the national forest.  Along the way we crossed the stream many times with what seemed at times to be towering 1,000+ foot cliffs on either side of us.  This northern part of the Sedona region we were told is nicer to hike during the summer months as it goes along stream beds and has tall lush vegetation and is surrounded by high cliff walls.  During non-summer months the rest of the Sedona area trails are much more bearable.

Along the trail we talked briefly with many hikers but the cutest ones were the kids we found at a water hole where they were trying to catch tad poles.  This was one of the most simple pleasures I remember as a kid when my parents used to take us kids camping.  Watching these kids for about 20 minutes ... it seemed they could just go on for hours chasing the tad poles, catching them and then letting them go.  It was so peaceful back there, no sounds except the high altitude wind swirling from the cliffs so far over our heads and the sound of the water rushing over rocks and the sounds of the kids happy and care free.  I wish every kid had a chance to experience what they were doing at that moment.

In the evening Fran and I had dinner in "uptown" Sedona at the Cowboy Club.  After dinner we walked the streets a little before I managed to somehow end up in front of the fudge shop :-)