Have you ever had those mornings where, you get up early to start the day, and go, ta hell with it, I’m feeling like going on a road trip today! Come on Freyja (my dog), let’s go to Sedona. So that’s exactly what we did!
Normally when I get up before the sun rises, around this time of year it’s about 6 am, it’s to go running. Not this time, instead, I packed the car with dog food, blankets, snacks, more snacks, tons of water, and a new phone cell phone, I was waiting days to get activated, thanks for dropping the ball on that one Samsung. The whole time Freyja is staring at me agape wondering What the hell is he doing? This isn’t a run?! I don’t blame her. The only other time I’ve packed my car at 5 am is to get on a flight and leave her for a few weeks. Poor traumatized fuzz ball. I take her for a quick walk and then we hit the road.
I had luckily already filled the tank the night before so we were off on a quest for adventure! To set the mood, driving north on the 101, I noticed the first signs of light emanating above the misty Superstition Mountains. What a wonderful sight to behold. It’s always nice to reinforce your decision making by witnessing something glorious that you would normally have missed.
Now, normally I don’t drink Starbucks, for no reason other than, I can make my own damn coffee. However, Rituals are what make us human so we had to hit the ritual Starbucks off the 17 and 260 for a Nitro Cold Brew (I can’t make that), a breakfast sandwich, and a restroom break for “The Goober”(Freyja) and I. With that all out of the way, next stop: Sedona!
I’ve been up here several times and while shopping, gallery, and restaurant hopping can be a bit boring after the 30th time, the views never get old. They can’t! They’re too beautiful. To me, the red rock color evokes the same feeling as a sunrise or sunset, even though you’ve seen it already, it’s still just as beautiful as the first time and I was excited for the Fuzz Knuckle (Freyja) to experience something new.
Normally we’d stop off at Tlaquepaque (Be sure to ask people around how to pronounce it) for some food and drink, but not this time. Read the above again. I was on a mission to Hike! We blew right through Downtown Sedona at the speed of about 5 miles per hour because I was in a hurry to enjoy the views more! We were heading up the 89A to a trail I had been on before with a friend years ago but I was not sure exactly where it was so we had to keep our eyes peeled.
Found it! Welcome to West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead. Well, sort of welcome, they have public parking but already at 8:20am, the lot was completely full. Bummer. I’m not giving up that easily. We drove north about a mile more and found parking on the side of the road with other intrepid hikers; also determined to get to the trail. Now Dog Butt (Freyja) and I were READY! I opened the car door… Oh shit, I’m freezing. GOOD THING I brought layers and threw on another thermal. Still cold but tolerable, we decided to hug the shoulder of the road and trek-to-the-trek.
We arrive at the entrance to the parking lot on foot and I notice a plaque stating the cost of entry: $11 per vehicle (up to 5 people), or $2 per person for walk-ins. Not a problem, here’s my card. Then Cash only. “Failure to plan is a plan to fail” rings between my ears as I stare at the sign. Ok. time to turn on the charm and see if we can get in for free? There were several people queuing to walk in ahead of me so I had time to hype myself up to attempt to shmooze the parking cashier…
Two guys walk up beind us.“Oh there’s a fee. Did you bring cash?”
“Yup I love this trail”
“Oh look a dog!”
During my internal Hype sesh, Puddle licker (Freyja) was making friends. We started chatting and got to know each other. Nice guys. And before I realize I’m at the cashier I ask, “Um… uh… do you guys take cards? Nailed it! “No…”The Chad’s behind me “No worries, We got you”. You wonderful saints among men! “You sure bud?”, “Yeah! You let us pet your dog. We’re Square”. I kneel to Freyja and tell her she’s the best girl and I hug the savior of our trip.
My heroes and I walk together for a while but Freyja: the Forest Fanatic, needs to smell EVERYTHING so we separate to let them get their pace up. Dagger Hands (Freyja) is in puppy heaven; so many people, so many dogs, so many creeks, and SO MANY SMELLS! I’m surprised she didn’t have a seizure from all the stimuli! That’s a Happy puppy.
I found the stick that all sticks are made from
The trail is obviously beautiful and I have hiked with Fuzz Face (Freyja) enough to where she is comfortable following the trail without much guidance. The one thing (Ha) I didn’t take into account was the sheer amount of creeks that need to be crossed. One Hiker mentioned there were 13 total crossings on the trail, but who’s counting? The concern I had was that with any opportunity she got, Fuzz Bucket (Freyja) would try to drink the crystal clear creek water as I did my best to keep my own footing and yoink her snout away. Plus I brought enough water for three people you Lil Wanker! I was concerned that she might catch something from the water but after talking with several hikers with their own furballs, I was assured the only danger of water born bugs was to humans and that dogs are made for this. And boy were they right. Once I gave her permission, she dove her snout into the water to lap it up with the ferocity of a six-year-old given a box full of doughnuts coated in cocaine.
Dog*lap* “ARGHHH! *lap* THE GREAT *lap* OUTDOORS!” *lap*
The Trail itself is relatively easy to trek as there are no real steep hills or rocky areas that require any major agility. The main point of the walk is to immerse yourself in the beauty around you, from the redrock that gave Sedona its notoriety to the flora thriving in the cool air. I was lucky enough to catch the change of seasons with all the reds, oranges, and yellows. the trail evokes a sense of serene melancholy.