The Wonderful Scenery Of Dry Creek
Ledge N Airy is an appropriate name for today’s hike, as the trail wound up about 500 feet to the rim high above Dry Creek Wash and followed the narrow, “ledgey” rim, which ran along the canyon with views in every direction. Our leaders were Linda Schermer and Michael Daley.
There were a few surprises on today’s Dogie hike. First, the hike was a one way, with cars parked at both trailheads. We started out at a trailhead off of 89A and Lower Loop Road named the Dry Creek Heights East trail which is a combination of trails that ended at the Girdner trailhead parking lot near the Cultural Center. Our hike leader, Linda Schermer, was inspired by the beauty of the trail that she hiked a few years ago on the west side of Dry Creek and then developed a longer one using connecting trails on the east side of Dry Creek for the Dogie hike.
We started out in Dry Creek Wash, hiking through a forest of canotia, also known as crucifixion thorn, gradually gaining elevation and views as we worked our way to the top of the canyon, pausing to catch our breath and take some photos. After finally reaching the top, the trail snaked in and out along the rim, sometimes the trail was quite narrow and close to the edge of the rim. The weather prediction was for heavy rains starting around mid-day, so our leaders showed us a few exit trails they had chosen that would lead us quickly back to the Cultural Center in case we were caught in a downpour. But fortunately, it just remained overcast with a few sprinkles during the hike.
Next we checked out the historic Sedona dump, not realizing there was one in town and continued on along the rim admiring the views, cool temperatures and lively conversation. Around 4 miles in we reached our lunch spot, a red rocky wash high above Dry Creek Wash. It was a picture perfect spot with Cockscomb in the distance and the valley stretched out below us.
After lunch, we headed up the trail and veered off onto a steep side trail leading to the Sedona Red Quarry. It is still an active quarry producing gravel, flagstone and dimension stone and from the Quarry at the top of the hill we could see the Sedona Performing Arts Center, other familiar buildings and rock formations. Very few of us knew we had a working quarry right here in Sedona.
We reached the Girdner trail at around the 5 mile mark and headed toward the Cultural Center. According to Jean Kindig in her book “Sedona Places and Names”, the Girdner trail is named for Dale Girdner (1899-1978), a cattleman who bought 80 acres in West Sedona. In 1963, a newspaper article with photos showed Dale Girdner moving cattle from Scheurman Mountain across 89A to the Posse Grounds, Steamboat Tank, across Oak Creek to Schnebly Hill and to Mormon Lake for summer pasture. Dale Gardner wrote and illustrated many articles of ranching interest for the Prescott Courier in a column called “Westward”.
Our final stop before reaching the trailhead parking lot was to see a rusted old car just sitting in a clearing surrounded by junipers. It’s amazing that the plywood for the seat backs was warped but still intact. DeSoto or Packard or something else was the fuel for discussion for the final mile. Plus, who owned it and how did it get there provided interesting thoughts on our way back to the parking lot.
We enjoyed another fun hike with a few surprises up to the end. The hike was about 6 miles and 500 feet elevation gain.
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, April 9, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.