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West Fork, Oak Creek Canyon
October 21, 2000
by Tom Van Lew
  Trail Map 
Motorolans ready to hike the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon.

Tom & Jeannie joined up with Angela Lien, Peter Ng, Ben Velasquez, Elaine Cobos, Chuck Giovaniello, Derek Johnson, Mike Wargel and his friend Andy along with Mike’s dog, Sampson, Kenn Wright, his daughter Jessica and their dog Tess and Joyce Parrish, her daughter Joy and her friend Tim with their dog, Bailey. We headed for Sedona for what we hoped would be a rain-free hike. The weather forecast for Sedona, however, was for scattered showers.

We arrived at the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon trailhead at 9:30. Our daughter Adrienne, who drove down from Flagstaff, was there waiting for us.

We began the hike after our obligatory group photo. Jeannie, Adrienne and I had not returned to this area for about 10 years and were pleasantly surprised to see the large parking area. We remembered having to park along the roadside.

Sedona’s autumn leaves.

Everyone gathered his or her gear and we started on the trail. We crossed the footbridge and immediately entered the area once occupied by the Mayhew lodge, a resort opened in 1926 and destroyed by fire in 1980. It is now nothing more that remnants of fireplaces and stone floors overgrown with vines and flowers. We spent a few minutes walking through the building remains and wondered about the cave. What was it used for? Cold storage? None of us could remember much about the area. Jeannie had it on the tip of her tongue but could not remember.

A quiet pool provides tranquility. [photo by Chuck]
    Feeling the threat of rain, we started down the canyon. The trees were ready for fall and did not fail to provide the spectacular colors that we were hoping for. We crossed the creek numerous times and continued on for 3 miles. It was lunch time when we arrived at the 3 mile mark. It was here that we decided to turn around. To continue, we would have to wade through knee high water. It was a bit too cold for that. Ben noticed that the skies were getting darker and that storm clouds were gathering. We packed up the lunch remains and started the trek out.

The rains started and added another dimension to the colors of the leaves. The yellows were brighter, the reds more vibrant. The mist added even more beauty to the views. Those of us who brought our ponchos started breaking them out. The group spread out and made the trip back to the cars as quickly as possible. Jeannie and I brought up the rear and stopped occasionally to enjoy the splendor of the canyon. When we finally arrived at the trailhead, the rest of the group were packing up and trying to get out of the rain. It was coming down quite hard by now. Joyce and her crew left and the rest of us agreed that the perfect end to this trip would be a visit to the Dairy Queen. While there, enjoying ice cream, cider and nice hot coffee, we watched a short hailstorm. Wanting to avoid being caught in a bad storm, we split up for the trip home.

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updated March 13, 2016