Off the deck and into the wild—Call of the Canyon
If there’s one hike you do in Arizona, let it be the North Fork Trail or “Call of the Canyon” off Highway 89 out of Sedona. Yes, folks, it’s long. We did close to seven miles before we turned around and could have gone further if we hadn’t run out of time, water and snacks.
It was everything I love in a hike. Stream crossings every half mile or so, stunning sculpted red bluffs, fields of wildflowers and ferns, constant birdsong, level and easy walking, and COOL. My tricky hip didn’t start acting up until the last mile or so, so I take it back about hiking—I’m still game for it! We probably wouldn’t have gone on this one if Bill, the aforementioned motel manager in Sedona, hadn’t underlined it heavily on the map—but as it was, Mike had been wanting vistas and elevation (read: rough, steep, hot trail) and kept fussing about being on the valley floor, where I was in heaven.In spite of that, we both got amazing photos and had a wonderful, if sweaty, four hour hike on our way to Flagstaff.
From the beginning of the day, a high thin cloud cover cut the intense heat as we progressed to Grand Canyon. By the time we got to Grand Canyon’s south rim and joined the herd of lemminglike tourists headed for the cliff, it was 4:00 p.m. and we were beat.
I was immediately stunned into overwhelm by the magnitude, dizzying depth and sheer giganticness of the Grand Canyon—not to mention the shuffling, babbling herds of fellow humans whom I’d have gladly done without. So we wandered that well-traveled cement path along the edge of the abyss, and took some inadequate photos, and Mike found us (miracle of miracles!) a room in one of the lodges here in the Park.
After a shower and a brief nap, here I am sitting on the tiny cement patio, looking at the clouds and pine trees and trying to assimilate the day. Per usual, Mike has gone off for his sunset shoot. We aren’t sure what we’re doing tomorrow; this place is so big it’s hard to know where to start, and our idea of a helicopter tour is too expensive. I think we’ll probably take to the road for the North Rim tomorrow after another goggle or fifty at the Canyon.
Veins of the earth carve
Deep through granite tissues coursing 277 miles
(not that miles mean anything)
A great rent in the skin of the earth made
of a rainbow of stonecolors.
Mass of humanity and cacophony of tongues
A river of ants
Insignificant and transitory
Pouring around the edge
Looking and wondering as they always have
Busy eyes, hands, feet and cameras
While the heart of the land
Beats on, unchanging
Far below and way above.
Hawaii has rocks like that everywhere.
There are many more black rocks than red ones, and they are newer. Still beautiful, but different.
Many here in Utah too along my paths along the river.
This is great! Just letting you know mom, I’m reading every entry! You guys are badasses!
You are going to want to camp in Grand Canyon park, it’s cool and beautiful! We are camping in Desert area, away from other people. no internet, but great views and the tent is big and awesome! Thinking of you and your trip every day!
Beautiful photos, Toby. It looks wonderful. Question for you: You said you went 7 miles before you turned around, and that it was a 4-hour hike. Did you have to go back 7 miles as well, and if so, you must be in awfully good shape to do 14 miles in 4 hours. Did I miss something?
Whoops, that was unclear. We went 7 miles total, 3.5 each way. Thx for following!
Puzzlebark pine! I haven’t seen bark like that in a long time. Took me a sec to recognize it in the photo, then massive deja vu…
Sounds like an amazing day! 🙂
Hi, Toby! Loving your trip blog. I’m reminded of my favorite author, Edward Abbey. His descriptions have been described as “almost better than being there”. You have that gift, also, obviously. How wonderful to experience the West with your husband! Other than Maui, the Moab, UT area is my favorite place on Earth. If it didn’t cost so much to visit my kids/granddaughters on Maui every year, I’d love to return! So, I’ll have to experience “out West” through your descriptions and your and Mike’s photos (which are spectacular). Mahalo and Aloha!
We are going to Moab! Having a real adventure, thanks for following along! Aloha Toby
Moab! Great! Hoping you have extra memory cards for Arches NP – you’ll need them. Over 2,000 arches. To qualify as an arch, I seem to remember the opening had to be over 3 ft. in diameter. Take the hike to Landscape Arch – you won’t regret it! Wow! There’s something about red rocks, green trees and blue sky – gorgeous! After reading my first Edward Abbey book – Desert Solitaire – I had to go to Arches – once alone and once with my kids. Holds a special place in my good memories file.
mahalo you made me feel not to bad for not making it all the way to Wailua Falls, this last trip 5/3, wrong shoes, heat , age, got to me. So I sat under the banyon tree and took group pictures for passer byers, and wished them well.My grandaughter and parents and grandpa did make it..:)