Beautiful Fall Flowers Mark A Day of Remembrance
This Thursday Sedona Westerners Mustang hike took place on a clear and monsoon-free day on an iconic date to remember, September 11. With Mary McCaffrey leading, they started at Sunset Park, where a newly built connector trail took them to the Airport Loop and then shortly to the Ridge Trail offshoot heading in the direction of Oak Creek Crossing. The Ridge Trail takes the high ground above Carroll Canyon, roughly paralleling it as it heads for the heights above Oak Creek.
The date may have been a somber one, but Nature cheered the hikers up with plenty of flowers brought out by this summer’s rains. Ocotillo were in full leaf, and seemed prepared to set flowers, as they sometimes do, before the winter frost. They saw daisies and four o’clock everywhere, with occasional individuals of other species.
After crossing Chavez Ranch Road, they came to the undulating bare slickrock above Red Rock Crossing. From a low hill, they enjoyed a grand panorama of Red Rock Crossing below and Cathedral Rock on the left. After a breather, it was down a steep trail to the Crossing. Oak Creek was still running high and muddy that morning, with all the normal steppingstones well underwater.
Soon the day was starting to get warm. The hikers returned on the bluff trail to the overlook slickrock, recrossed Chavez Ranch Road, and turned off on the Ramshead Trail to go down into Carroll Canyon. Because this steep and rocky drainage is fed directly from the West Sedona storm drains in that area, small items of street trash can drain into Carroll Canyon. Our hikers it brought a bag to haul trash out, and came back with it full.
This part of the hike was a rockhop up Carroll Canyon, which was named after Tom Carroll, a homesteader in the area who eventually sold off his land to better-known local pioneer Henry Schuermann. The canyon is filled with large boulders and a series of stairstep terrace levels that are a challenge of their own to climb. Some of the pools are deep enough that rainwater persists in them year round.
From a point near the top of the canyon, a short trail leads to the Sedona Recycles property on Shelby Drive. Today’s hikers followed it to just short of that point, and then turned up the hill to reconnect to the Ridge Trail not far from where it passes Sedona Airport. This brought the group back to Sunset Park, with a cleaner Carroll Canyon and a load of great fall memories.
If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at http://sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.