Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

The West Fork of Oak Creek

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on December 28, 2009

The West Fork of Oak Creek
Coconino National Forest
12/28/07, 11/29/09


The West Fork of Oak Creek canyon is an intense and sublime place that can be explored during a perfectly mellow day hike. In the summer the hike provides shade and a cool escape from the Valley. In the fall you can see the brilliance of the foliage and in the winter it is a slippery trounce through the snow and ice. I imagine in Spring this place also provides a contrasting and unique wilderness experience but I have yet to trek through during this time of time year.

The West Fork of Oak Creek is always a welcome sight after a long day of technical canyoneering as a number of technical canyons drain into it (Barney Spring & Flintstone). The creek meanders through boulders and red rock. Along the way it carves narrow channels, sharp pools and tiny waterfalls. Look up and you can see precarious rock formations perched 500 feet overhead. The warm toned sandstone walls are stained black and pink and yellow from wind and water.

Most recently David and I took his parents and sister hiking while they were in town visiting from the East Coast for Thanksgiving (click here and here for previous adventures with David’s family). With each stream crossing Sarah and Marsha gained confidence in their footing and after 26 times back and forth across the creek they were pros with dry feet. By the way, David’s feet were the only ones that were wet.

The West Fork is a photographer’s paradise, In addition to the big picture I like to focus on the abstract with my photography. A lichen-covered tree caught my eye with its interesting natural texture. A boulder covered in snow in the middle of the creek caught David’s. This place is vast and detailed, intense and mellow. A place we always enjoy whether just out for a relaxed walk or the end of an intense day of canyoneering.



4 Responses

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  1. […] grey pluming clouds, thunder in the distance and a light sprinkle in the final miles of the West Fork before reaching […]

  2. Pop and Phyllis said, on December 31, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Amazing and beautiful!
    The verbage was as educational as the pictures were beautiful…

  3. […] sections it was easy to pick Briscoe up like a brief case and carry him forward. (Click here and here for other adventures with […]

  4. […] over; a six mile hike in the sweet light of early evening down the beautiful and majestic canyon, The West Fork of Oak Creek, to our car at the Call of the Canyon […]

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