A Walk in the Green of Sedona
A friend and I found ourselves down by the Chavez Ranch swimming area yesterday. I had found this trail head by accident a few years ago. I like to go on drives with no real destination in mind and was taking the scenic ride down Upper Red Rock Loop road and instead of heading to Crescent Moon Ranch, I decided to head left instead of right, and take the dirt road less traveled by, with no real idea what I would find on the other side. Once to the top of the hill there are some amazing views of Courthouse Butte and Cathedral Rock, along with the local homesteads in the valley. You make a left at the hilltop and go down a winding narrow road, that after about ten minutes takes you to the Chavez Ranch trail head.
This is an easy hike to a local swimming hole. It may not even be considered a hike, as hiking implies a gaining of elevation and some physical effort, so I could call it a scenic walk. What is great about this trail is that not many people seem to know about it. Usually, I take this hike in the fall. Because it runs along oak creek there a lot of leafy trees so the colors are amazing. It was great to find out in the Spring it is just as lovely.
There was only one other car there when we parked, and we stepped out of the vehicle to the distant sound of guitar music. There was a musician who was quite good sitting down by the creek strumming. We walked back beneath the trees along the water and crossed over the creek to a field of more trees and pleasantly overgrown vegetation. There were so many new green leaves and plants it hardly felt like we were in Arizona. It might be good to carry a walking stick with you if you are not really sure footed. My friend is like a goat and he hops across the water with no trouble at all. I, on the other hand, like the assurance of something in my hands for balance.
Since I was there in the fall, another tree hand fallen across the path but it was easy to climb over. There are actually several very large trees that have fallen that you walk past or can climb upon. My friend pointed out that it was amazing how something so old and broken could still have life. The branches stretched up to toward the sun, leaves growing from them still. Spring flowers dotted our path. Purple, orange, and red.
The trail opens to a swimming hole framed by red rock. The water was smooth. The green leaves of the trees, and the red of the rocks reflected back at us. The view was slightly different than it is in the fall. If you look back down the creek in the direction in which you have walked you could see all of the green of the trees and the water running over the rocks. In the fall the trees are more bare so you get more of a red rock view. If you want, there is an area where you can climb the rocks to take in more of this view above the trees. I didn’t climb up on this outing, but I have done so before.
My friend and I took a seat at the edge of the creek and put our feet in the water. It was refreshing with the sun on us and I wished I had brought a bathing suit. It hadn’t thought it was quite swimming weather yet, but I think it could have been fun. By the time we walked back to our car the parking lot was full of cars. Most people in bathing suits and carrying coolers. It was nice to hear that weekend laughter and chatter. Made me wish I didn’t have to head into work later in the day.