I immediately let out a shriek as my hiking boots started quickly gliding across the frozen stream crossing. Adicous, my 90lb German Shepherd had suddenly decided he wanted to practice for the American Iditarod, unfortunately with me in tow. In the first 1/10th of a second I was smart enough to realize that he had better traction over the icy surface and if I were to let go I would instantly fall. I didn’t want to fall, nobody WANTS to fall on a thin sheet of ice, so for the next 3 seconds I gripped that leash as if it was my last glass of a fantastic French Burgundy. I was not letting go. And if you think 3 seconds is a short time frame I am here to tell you that in this situation it was the length of a lifetime.
We made it to the other side safely and before I could tell my husband “I’m OK” I see my 75lb German Shepherd, Audelina, barreling towards me at the speed of a cheetah. After watching my smooth ride Matt unhooked her leash….clever. When she reached Adicous it was an instant clash of the titans moment as they rolled around in the snow covered trail full of never ending energy.
We were hiking the West Fork Trail of Oak Canyon, located off of 89A in Sedona, Arizona. Hailed as one of the Southwest’s most beautiful hikes we knew we had to experience it for ourselves. Dogs included.
The 6.4 mile out and back trail that is dotted with trees such as oak, maple, cottonwood and fir. They create a canopy keeping the trail veiled in shade, thus preserving the dusting of snow, the icicles dangling from towering red walls of coconino sandstone and white kaibab limestone, and frozen patches of Oak Creek. The trail is rated as moderate, with the narrowing of steep canyon walls and a few short inclines.
Mostly recommended to visit in fall and spring when full bloom colors explode throughout the landscape, making it a high traffic and ever popular trail. But experiencing this winter wonderland in January with its quiet serene setting with only a few hikers, and the frozen creek reminiscent of dazzling pathways, made it that much more appealing.
As for the rest of the 12 stream crossings….we opted to let the dogs have their freedom chasing their dreams of being sled dogs.