Quail Springs ….a long, long trail a’ winding
Reprinted from “A Sampler of 108 Sedona Westerner Trail Walks”
Arranged and Edited by Lorraine Jaquith and Dixon Fagerberg, Jr.
Copyright 1979 The Pronto Press Sedona, Arizona
If you were decorating your house, would you make lavish use of red-orange and lavender, or gold and purple? Probably not, unless you were very daring. But it can done beautifully, as only Nature knows how.
Westerners saw that on a new hike Saturday-Quail Springs Trail. It’s another cattle trail, this one still in use, according to leader Chet Tingley. Rising out of Verde Valley and swinging long, slow loops across one hillside of Mingus Mountain after another, it leads up and up, with rocky, single-file footing. There was little shade on that skin-burning, hot-footed (more on this later) day, but spring flowers were out in such profusion that discomforts could almost be forgotten.
There were entire hillsides carpeted with a lovely little unidentified lavender flower. Patches of vivid Indian paintbrush in all their color were a perfect foil, not only in hue, but in texture. Richly golden poppies shook their tissue-paper cups in the breeze, and thistles were just opening their little purple pincushions. Fleabane nodded their little white, fringed faces at the hikes, and yellow wallflowers bowed on tall, stately stems. Seen, too, were a couple of new agaves, looking like giant-sized asparagus stalks.
With delighted Westerners watching, five deer moved into sight, stopped, stared upward, then bounded off into the trees. And a sound from the bottom of the canyon, thought at first to be the wind in the trees, disclosed itself as white, tumbling, little falls and smooth water twinkling in the sunlight. How cool and inviting it looked from up on that hot, dusty trail. Why not forget the hike and go down the steep hillside to it? “Not necessary,” said leader Chet. The trail would cross it twice at a higher elevations.
Onward then, with renewed energy. The way became narrower so it was necessary to set one foot directly in front of the other. Then at last, it dipped down into Quail Springs Creek and there it was: cool, shaded water. And now a big decision—stay here for lunch or go to the next crossing which Chet promised was much better? Reluctantly, with wistful backward glances, the group moved on. A wise move it proved to be. Another hot quarter of a mile and there it was again: more water, more shade, more room. Before you could say “hotfoot”, 7 hikers had boots and socks off and their tired feet immersed in the cool creek waters.
It was one of the most pleasant lunch spots Westerners have ever had. Seven hikers decided after eating to go on another mile and a half to see a high waterfall, but the others opted to stay there for the remainder of the afternoon: napping, visiting, taking pictures. Mike had brought along, instead of the usual pepperoni, a jar of pickled herring, but refused to take his feet out of the creek long enough to pass them (herrings) around. Anyone wanting a bit had to go and get it.
And finally, when it was time to go, there was a bit of horseplay. Did Jean bet Mike he wouldn’t, or did Mike dare Jean to do it? We’ll probably never know, but there the two of them sat, side by side, in the middle of the creek, laughing, splashing and urging the rest to join in—no takers. Geri got some pictures which should be classics.
Three and a half miles down is mighty hard on the toes and the afternoon sun still burned, but spring had finally made it—no daffodils up on the mountainside, but some daffy doings. It had been a memorable hike.
Note: This wraps us this season of Sedona Westerners artcicles. This last artcile is a reprint from from 1979 and thought it would be enjoyable to read about a hike from 34 years ago! Thank you to all who have contributed this past session and to the Red Rock News.
Angela Loscalzo, Round Up Boss
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, visit www.sedonawesterners.org. You also may join at our monthly meetings the second Thursday of September through April, 7PM at the Jewish Community Center of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona. We hope to see you there in September.