Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 12, 2010

West Fork ‘Leaves’ Overshadow Wildflowers


by Mickey Gershtenson

As Sedonans awakened to a beautiful blue sky it was indicative that this was going to be a wonderful day for the hike in the wilderness of West Fork Creek.

Meeting at the Posse Grounds there were smiles all around and fill in Dogie Boss, Bob Gardner, wasted no time with the obligatory rules so the Westerners could enjoy this day. Hike leaders, Marian and Hadji Hadji-Agha, and tailgaters

West Fork's Own Burning Bush. Photo by Len Lewis.

Kwi Johnson and Bob Gardner were coaxed into service; carpools were organized and off they went through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.

Almost immediately Harry Schermer took us to the confluence of the tributary West Fork and the main stream Oak Creek. He also took us to the remnants of the Mayhew Lodge – formerly the Thomas House and originally built from 1915 – 1925. Although virtually all of the hikers had been on this trail previously only a few had been to this location. Harry – as the resident West Fork guru – had a few additional treats up his sleeve for later in the hike. However, most importantly Schermer and Leader Marian Hadji-Agha kept the hikers on the maintained trail to preserve the plants and the soil stabilization and watershed protection of this delicate area.

But the colors stole the day as evidenced by the photos of Len Lewis. The leaves were fabulous whether they were on the trees or on the floor of the forest like a carpet and the most popular sayings of the day were ‘ooooh’. The wildflower season for West Fork was almost completely through with only a few species noticeable and overshadowed by the leaves. Still one could see White Violets Sunflowers. Unfortunately we also saw much more Poison Ivy than we cared to and it was obvious as only two hikers were wearing long pants when the temperatures certainly allowed for them.

Lunch was taken on a rock formation perfect for the day. Many of the hikers dangled their feet over the cliff and enjoyed the sun. Some offered mediocre treats hoping to get in return a much desired item. It must have been the lack of vertical change.

There were beautiful maples, oaks, and stunning ferns that went from green to brown. Just before it was time to head back Marian offered to take her group another 2 miles to a chest-deep pool. Nobody took the offer so they took off like a horse returning to the stable.

On the return Harry Schermer showed us an area immediately adjacent to the trail where there was a rock formation of Tafoni. These are small cave-like features and look like various sizes of honey comb. They are found in granular rock such as sandstone, with rounded entrances and smooth concave walls. The Tafoni that was seen today was on a low wall and similar to the sandstone in Sudpfalz, Rheinland-Pfalz, in Germany.

All in all it was a wonderful day even though the trail was very busy we would all do it again.

The Sedona Westerners always welcome new members! If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website You may also join by attending a monthly meeting; our next one will be on Thursday, November 11, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.