Rough Riders Are On the Trail Again
September 11, 2010. Good morning America! How are you? This day the Rough riders gathered at Posse Grounds to hike the Harding Springs/Thomas Point Trail. These trails are 10.5 miles up Oak Creek Canyon. We went up Thomas Point Trail and down Harding Springs Trail. There were 3 ladies and 6 boys ready to hike. 900 feet elevation change and 6 miles long. Mark Frank was the leader and Perlina McCombs the tailgater.
After some unorganized planning of cars at each trail head, all 9 of us headed up the Thomas Point Trail. The trail was steep and we stopped often to drink water and rest. Being the first hike of the season with the Rough Riders, we could soon find out what kind of shape we are in.
The delightful yellow snake weed plant was pleasant to our eyes as we hike along the trail. The trail climbs through shady ponderosa pine and spruce trees. Above this point, vistas are broad and impressive with good views both down the canyon, toward Sedona and the crimson bluffs near slide rock and across the canyon to the steep cliffs of Oak Creek's largest tributes, West Fork Canyon. Several of the hikers choose to scramble even higher up a bolder climb to a higher plateau to see the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, about 30 miles away.
An apple break was welcomed as we even climbed up higher to have a great view of the canyon. On we go through the forest north towards Harding Springs Trail. Is this a trail, Mark? What trail? Mike Holmes suggested that we have a right handed hiker and a left handed hiker walk side by side so they would walk straight north. This eliminates walking in circles. With this in mind, out comes the GPS as we do need all the help we can get. Are we lost? Of course not…we are the Rough Riders.
Lunch was at the Harding Springs overlook where the view of the canyon is always beautiful. After a good rest we descend down Harding Springs Trail to find the cars. To end this hike with all 9 hikers, it was voted unanimously to stop by the Dairy Queen.
Harding Springs is named after O.P. Harding. He came to Flagstaff in 1884 and worked in construction. In 1889 he moved to Oak Creek, homesteaded and planted many fruit trees. He brought the fruit to Flagstaff using this trail. He died in 1915 and it was learned that he had been a distinguished Union General in the Civil War, a fact he had kept hidden during his life in Arizona.
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website: www.sedonawesterners.org. You may also join by attending a monthly meeting, our next one will be on Thursday, November 11th, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Synagogue and Community Center.