Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

It’s been close to two months since I made the almost 190 mile trek north to flee the city and its trappings and find a bit of solitude and soul restoration in the wilderness of the Kaibab National Forest (Williams District) located just south and west of Flagstaff.

Lenticular clouds over San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff Arizona

These lenticular clouds were an added treat as I found the silhouette of the San Francisco peaks in the distance…looking east.  Humphrey’s Peak is at the far left of the ridge, the highest point in Arizona.  You might remember my hike to the top in this post.

Morning trail along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The weather forecast for the day said it was going to be partly cloudy up here…and those clouds in the first image were the only ones I saw for the entire six hours on the trail…  No cloud cover, but excellent canopy cover in the forest….

High desert prairie, Williams Arizona

The day’s hike is actually the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…an 11-12 mile loop that starts in the Ponderosa pine forest, crosses some meadows, meanders up into an oak and cedar forest that covers KA Hill…goes back down into the Ponderosa, and then skirts the Canyon.

Entering Oak forest while climbing KA Hill

The view above is entering that oak forest…and the view below is from atop KA Hill, looking east again at the San Francisco Peaks.  That lighter area along the road is where I stopped to make the photo for my recent post “yellow…along the way…

Looking east toward San Francisco Peaks from atop KA Hill

Coming out of the oak forest and making a fast descent from KA Hill through a mature Ponderosa forest quickly leads to this open area that looks like a lava field that is slowly being covered with wild grasses and less mature pines.  I don’t know if this area has been burned in the last century, but the majority of the trees were much smaller than the surrounding forest.  Maybe it’s because they’re growing in a lava field….

Lava-covered prairie

The drainage from the above field leads down into the natural pond/cistern in the below photo….

High desert forest pond beneath lava prairie

…and continues down into this stream bed that leads back into another forested area….

Sycamore Canyon forest and stream

….and probably less than a mile later, leads to this surprise….

Lava walls and lily pads

….a lava-wall-bordered pond with lily-pads…actual lily-pads…in a pond…in the high desert of Arizona…..  Wow….!

Cliff-sides and lily-pad pond

Two of the three people I saw on the trail all day….and their two dogs….

People at Pomeroy Tank, Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another of the “Pomeroy Tanks” that are important water sources for the wildlife in the area.

Greenery and stream-bed

Heading back into the forest proper…crossing a dry stream-bed with more lava rocks….beautiful green….

Under cover again on forest trail, Kaibab National Forest

The loop eventually comes to what are referred to as the Sycamore Falls…behind me and to the right in the below image…which was not flowing…and which is a favorite spot for rock-climbers to practice their skills.

Canyon long-view from Sycamore Canyon Falls

You can easily see the two guys in the below photo…but how about the guy in the one above….?

Rappelling down Sycamore Canyon Waterfall lava cliffs

I stopped to have a snack at the below location…on the eastern ridge of the canyon (looking west) with the falls to the right…where you can see a man in white above where the other two guys were climbing….

Time for lunch along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

I think the stream-bed would be an excellent place to explore…for hours and hours…maybe even days or months…..

Wrong turn cliff-side

I made a wrong turn…or took the path less-traveled that took me to the cliff-edge of the canyon…and had to turn-around, retrace my steps…find the real trail…back to the loop, but it was a beautiful diversion…with lots of compelling green.

Something's out of place, Century Plant along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The trail eventually led up toward more of a plateau again…forest covered…with strong breezes and winds whipping and almost roaring through the tree-tops.  With the lack of cloud-cover that I thought I would have for the day, the winds were welcome in keeping things from getting too warm when walking outside of the cover of the forest.  Almost as surprising as finding the lily-pad pond shared above was the discovery of these Century Plants with their bright yellow bouquets…and attendant butterfly and humming bird.

Walking the Rim, along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another view of the actual canyon rim…provoking thoughts of what the place must have looked like when it was forming in the aftermath of the San Francisco Peaks‘ volcanic eruptions in those 200-and-some millions of years ago….

Long view of Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest

Thank you for visiting….I hope you enjoyed going with me along the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…amid the green, forested north of Arizona….

PS….and for what it’s worth, this is my 1,000th post on WordPress…..  Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, as well.  I’ve met a bunch of wonderful people here and a solid couple of handfuls of very special friends over the past seven years.  🙂


26 responses

  1. Wonderful images Scott. The wilderness I have found in Iceland has been tremedously therapeutic for me. I think as human beings we need to connect with our environment every now and then and we can only really do this in the wild and on our own. Wonderful post!

    August 27, 2016 at 10:58 am

    • Thank you, Adrian. I agree about needing to connect with the environment…sometimes I feel an urge to be out there that is so strong it must be cellular, as it feels like a biological imperative….and it only grows until it is fulfilled….

      September 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  2. See? there do be mountain hikes in AZ! What a delightful hike this must have been. Those lenticular clouds are still elusive for me. They are on my wishlist. So glad you got to capture them.

    It’s certainly been a fun journey. Here’s to the next 1,000! 😀

    August 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    • Yes, Gunta….there do be mountains in Arizona…and “only” 190 miles away! In all honesty, it was a delight to be out there in the rich outdoors again. I hope you find your lenticulars, too…they’re rather something, aren’t they?

      And yes….to the next 1,000! Thank you. 🙂

      September 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm

  3. Nice hike. It took me a while to spot the legs of the climber in that one photo.

    August 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    • It was a nice hike, Emilio…and I heard the climbers’ voices before I spotted them down there…they were rather small and the scenery was rather large….

      September 17, 2016 at 5:42 pm

  4. If it wasn’t for the lava fields and century plants this could have been a hike through a New Hampshire forest. Amazing how alike they seem, but I can’t feel the heat.

    August 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    • Yes, it is amazing, Allen…and it was only in the mid 70s for this hike…with wonderful breezes to keep things feeling nice.

      September 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm

  5. Congrats on the 1000th post, great accomplishment! The lava fields and cliffs are amazing. What a neat surprise the lilies were!

    August 28, 2016 at 3:49 am

    • Thank you, Laura…and yes, those lilies were quite a surprise! Amazing…..

      September 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm

  6. LB

    1000 posts is impressive! Congratulations! Ive enjoyed following along the past few years, I’ve only been on WP for 2012.
    I definitely enjoyed this hike and wish I’d been along (although I do tend to talk too much!). The lava fields are fascinating!
    And I do love a Ponderosa Pine.
    Super post!

    August 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

    • Thank you, LB…I’ve enjoyed your company along the way and am sure I would enjoy it as much if you were on the trail with me. These mountains and their meadows are very different from the ones I treasured up in the Wasatch, but they do still hold many fascinating wonders…when I slow down and take the time to actually look for and investigate them.

      September 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm

  7. The lily pads are a surprise. Do you know what kind of tree that is (or was) that is now a gorgeous skeleton, at the top-center of the image (2584)?

    August 28, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    • Definitely a surprise, Gary…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And that skeleton at the top of the cliff, I’m going to guess that it’s either a junior Ponderosa pine or a Juniper…those trees comprised the majority of the large growth at this point in the forest, but there were many oaks at other places.

      September 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm

  8. That was a long, but rewarding hike! The lenticular clouds show up around Mount Rainier fairly regularly – don’t you love them! The lava fields really intrigue me – I have no experience with that kind of habitat – very interesting. And the rocks – I love those flowing shapes! If you hadn’t mentioned the guy I never would have found him (same guy, right?). Something about the way the woman bends over the water says it all about little sources of water like this one in states like AZ. It’s very elemental!

    August 28, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    • Yes, it was very long, Lynn…and I’m gad I tackled the hill at the beginning instead of when I was rather worn at the end! This was only my second sighting of lenticular clouds; the first was over Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake…quite a treasure. And yes, I loved those rocks, too…fantastic evidence of how the region formed all of those millions and millions of years ago. It was kind of trippy finding all that water out there, too…and yes, worthy of admiration and the closer look that the woman was giving it. I would love to have been there with the spring run-off or the later season monsoon rains filling the canyons…that would have been something to behold!

      September 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm

  9. Congrats 1,000 posts, whew, that’s a few.

    August 29, 2016 at 11:48 am

    • Thank you, Captain. 🙂

      September 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm

  10. Nice tour, and congrats on your 1,000th – Regarding Humphreys Peak, the apparent pinnacle of the volcanic activity in this area – I just followed the link above to your ascent post of last year. Fascinating, and reminded me of seeing this landmark from the Grand Canyon some 49 years ago, as shown in the 5th images of my post of a cross country trip back then….found here M 🙂

    August 30, 2016 at 5:36 am

    • Thank you, MV…and thank you for the link, too, to the post of your expedition out here those many years ago. Fascinating photos….

      September 18, 2016 at 12:31 pm

  11. Congrats on the 1,000th post! Great photos; what a trip!

    September 4, 2016 at 6:21 am

    • Thank you, Dreams and Zeros. 🙂

      September 18, 2016 at 12:31 pm

  12. Mike Hohmann

    Nice photos, nice blog. Glad I found you. I’ll follow just to keep up. Thanks for taking the time!

    September 25, 2016 at 11:08 am

    • Thank you, Mike…enjoy the browsing!

      September 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

  13. Over your 1000 posts I have discovered so much about our wonderful planet and your company has been very special along the way. Very best wishes to you and yours Scott.
    Best regards, John.

    October 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    • Sweet words, my friend….thank you very much. 🙂

      October 14, 2016 at 9:53 am

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