Sycamore Canyon – presentation of trails

The first day of Summer last year, 6/21/2020, brought me back to a place that I had first explored on 3/29/2015, Parsons Trail in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area…which is located just north and east of Clarkdale, Arizona…which is a bit south and west of Sedona.

I left the canyon with almost six hundred photos after my first exploration…

…and brought home a bit under four hundred this last time.

So after browsing and examining the recent cache, I was able to whittle-down the presentable images to a few dozen…

…some of which I have already presented, here, and the remainder of which will appear in following posts.

Given that there were so many photos that I thought were “share-worthy,” I have separated them into the general categories of…

…trails, fauna, water, grass seed-heads…

…and one set of two images that will present the Sycamore Canyon version of Kermit….

It took roughly two hours to make it to the trailhead, some eleven or so miles beyond Clarkdale, from my house in the far northwest corner of Metropolitan Phoenix.

The very first image in this post was from the cliff edge where the trail drops from the trail-head parking lot into the canyon, at just shy of 7:00 am…so the sun was already up and well enough over the horizon to remove the shadows for a good portion of the canyon, but as you can see, was not sufficiently high to do so entirely…there was still a softness to the light in the canyon and a strong remainder of shadow to effect the images with a broader view.

In the eighth and ninth images above, to the right side of each, you can see raspberry bushes…a nice surprise for a high-desert, canyon hike.

Incredibly diverse plant life…just wonderful stuff.

The “focus” of this post is supposed to be the actual trail itself…a general subject of which I am quite fond…whether they’re winding through a mountain forest, through a “typical” desert range or flatlands, I find something very alluring about them; compelling, drawing, inviting….  In the below photo, you may notice that the trail is actually on the lowest level of the tiered rock just above the waterline…leading us back into the greenery…

…and this bit of trail takes us to the right of the fallen, sharp edged blocks, and skirting the cliff wall.  By the way, the sand that you can see in the foreground was finer than beach sand…almost dusty at that location…making for awkward and struggling foot steps.

Now going beneath aged cedar trees….

…and now pass along the flattened rock, again, taking us beyond another larger pond that has formed in the length of stream.

On the way back, now, in the below photo, with the sun full overhead…

…and welcoming the shade again, of the branching mesquite and other canyon trees…at just after 11:00 am.

And below…the price one pays for going north to hike on a weekend day…the drive back to the Phoenix valley…..

The wrecked juju or Zen aside, it was well worth the drive to hike in Sycamore Canyon again.  Thank you for joining me.

13 responses

  1. I always wonder if you worry about 1) critters (larger than a breadbox) 2) getting hurt while hiking (some of them paths look a bit iffy and I don’t know if you hiked alone).

    Wondering aside, nice photos.

    January 16, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    • I’ve gone alone on probably 90% of my hikes over the last ten years…and have been “concerned” about bears in only two of the locations (as they had signs at the trailheads) in the Wasatch. I have encountered multiple larger cat tracks and scat, both in Utah and down here in the desert, but have never seen anything fresh. All of that said, I’ve not really been worried. And about getting hurt? It is rare that I leave the trails, and whether on them or off, I am very aware that I am “all alone out there,” so I am particularly careful, and if anything, “risk-aversive.” There’s no rush when I’m out there, so I take plenty of opportunities to watch where I’m going, look at where I’ve been, stop to look and listen to my surroundings, and actually hope that I encounter “wildlife” in whatever form may come. πŸ™‚

      Thank you, Emilio.

      February 20, 2021 at 9:00 am

    • Although rare instances of attacks in the areas we lived in, we still were careful when out hiking. Always had bear spray, and avoided hiking on our own (always two or more). Sounds overly cautious, but I’m averse to becoming the odd instance reported in the news. Never stopped us from enjoying the hikes, though.

      February 20, 2021 at 4:31 pm

  2. I am reminded of the road less travelled.

    January 16, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    • It certainly brings that to mind, doesn’t it, Arlene?

      February 20, 2021 at 9:01 am

  3. What a beautiful hike, Scott! Well worth the early rise, the trip and the traffic coming home, at least for me. πŸ˜‰ Your photos convey all the magic of those twisted trees, the pool of cool water, the red cliffs – just beautiful. There’s something about pictures of trails and paths, I agree. I like your categories and really look forward to seeing more from last June. I hope all’s well with you and your family – or as well as can be in these crazy times.

    January 17, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    • Thank you, Lynn…it’s a struggle sometimes to feel that the drive and traffic are worth it, but that’s part of life down here, so…. πŸ˜‰

      But I do enjoy being out there, so very much.

      I hope you and your family are doing well, too, Lynn…thank you. πŸ™‚

      February 20, 2021 at 9:08 am

  4. Hi Scott, Looks like a wonderful place for a hike. Love the red rock cliffs and tree lined trails. Your traffic shot sure brings us back to reality! πŸ™‚

    January 18, 2021 at 11:39 am

    • Hello Jane…it is a wonderful place to hike…early in the day…and yes, the traffic kind of smacks you right in the face, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

      February 20, 2021 at 9:09 am

  5. Laughing… “I was able to whittle-down the presentable images to a few dozen…” Oh, do I know that feeling… all TOO well! πŸ€”

    The section where you started to feature the trail made me think of a trip we took through Canyon de Chelly. The rocks, the dust and the vegetation. I do miss our jaunts to the desert. Perhaps someday. I have to remind myself that at least I’m one of the lucky ones to have ocean nearby.

    Hope you and yours are all well!😷

    January 23, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    • PS Your final shot was rather jarring to say the least! Reminds me why I’m allergic to too much ‘civilization’. πŸ₯΄

      January 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      • I’m allergic to all of that “civilization,” as well, Gunta…but must endure it for now and so look forward to any escape from it. πŸ™‚

        February 20, 2021 at 9:14 am

    • Yes, Gunta, there’s always that whittling-down process, isn’t there?

      And yes, all of that desert can be so very appealing…sometimes (to me)…and you are indeed one of the lucky ones to have the ocean nearby…you probably can’t see my green tint as I say that!

      We are doing well, Gunta…hope you guys are, as well. Thank you.

      February 20, 2021 at 9:12 am

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