Long Canyon is More Than Just a Canyon
On September 11, the Sunday afternoon Drovers group of the Sedona Westerners gathered at Posse Grounds to hike Long Canyon. We were pleased to have four new hikers join us for the first Drover hike of the year. Mike Holmes was our hike leader and Perlina McCombs the tailgater. We checked that we all were ready to go with plenty of water, good hiking boots and hats. Being the first Drover hike, we were anxious to hit the trail, which begins about 6.7 miles away from Posse Grounds. We were all grateful for blue skies after the horrific rainstorm the evening before.
Long Canyon is located in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. This box canyon contains a concentration of red rock sculptures, cliffs and spires. Maroon Mountain towers above the trail to the north while Mushroom Rock sits to he south. At the back of the canyon are dramatic cliffs. There is a “Neapolitan ice cream” colored sandstone wall at one point, and rock layers to be seen that create a dramatic geologic picture exposed by the unique erosion of each layer.
The trail soon passes the Deadman trailhead on the left, where some of us saw a five-inch toad along the side of the trail. The toad soon wandered off, looking as if he were becoming "camera shy.” Beyond this point the vegetation becomes more alpine, with many oaks and huge alligator bark junipers. It was so nice to hike in the shade of the trees, and we were delighted that the 90 degrees temps were last week.
We were glad to stop for water breaks and to catch our breaths, since we were not quite in the shape that we will be in as the season goes on. Also, it is a "must" to stop and look at the magnificent cliff walls and take a photo or two.
Soon we started climbing up the side of the hill to a beautiful viewpoint that looks back towards Sedona, providing, of course, more photo opportunities. When we began to climb up a red rock wall, Holmes and Cathy Lutz made it look so easy that some of us wondered how they do it. They would say, "trust your boots" and just go for it! The new members seemed to fit into the stride of hiking very well, and we hope they enjoyed hiking with the club. The proof will be if they return to hike again.
As we sat for a cookie break on the slab of red rock, the wind picked up and we held onto our hats. We did not hike to the end of the canyon. However, if you want to hike to the end with us, join the club, and look on the Westerners website and hike schedule for another, full-day hike into Long Canyon during the hiking season. You won't want to miss hiking Long Canyon when it snows, and be sure to take your camera!
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website, www.sedonawesterners.org, for membership information. You may also join at one of our monthly meetings. Our next regular meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 10, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona. (Note: our October 13 meeting is replaced by our fall barbecue at Red Rock State Park.)