Posts Tagged ‘Oak Creek Canyon’

            Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. – John Muir

Looking down from the top of Oak Creek Canyon at Highway 89A's hairpin curves. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down from the top of Oak Creek Canyon at Highway 89A’s hairpin curves. — Photo by Pat Bean

Autumn Wasn’t There

            The steep winding drive up Oak Creek Canyon was magnificent, and my vehicle, Cayenne, took it gracefully, without the hiccups she suffered in Sedona. But the fall colors I hoped to see as I gained in elevation from the upper Sonoran Desert were pitifully few, only a couple of low and faded patches of rusty red beside the road.

I always stop for butterflies. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I always stop for butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had hoped for more, but the beauty of the river gorge was enough to satisfy me. I strongly believe in the words of Garth Brooks:  “Happiness isn’t getting what you want; it’s wanting what you got.”

And I was on a road trip, so who could ask for anything more? Well, perhaps a little less traffic. But that was wishful thinking. The Sedona –Oak Creek Canyon area is the second most popular tourist destination in Arizona, surpassed only by the Grand Canyon.

The Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive on Highway 89A has been called of one the top five most scenic drives in America by map makers Rand McNally. The winding road climbs 4,500 feet from Sedona to the top of the Mogollon Rim. I had driven it once before, but that time was from the top to the bottom. Going up it was a new experience, like learning the other side of a story, which there always is.

The 12-mile river gorge, sometimes called the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, winds through a forest of oaks and evergreens with backdrop views of red-faced rocks and cliffs.

Oak Creek -- Wikimedia photo

Oak Creek — Wikimedia photo

The long, narrow parking lot at the top of the canyon overlook was full, but I squeezed Cayenne into one of the last spaces at the very end. That put us in position for about a quarter-mile walk to the overlook, which was fine with both Pepper and me. We had been driving, with only short stops, for 265 miles and we still had 135 more miles to go. We needed to stretch our legs.

Autumn was nowhere to be seen, but the views were still worth the walk, which held its own reward. After about a half hour of meandering,  and looking down to the road we had driven up and across the canyon, Pepper and I strolled back to Cayenne to continue our journey. To be continued …

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Ranting Crow:  http://tinyurl.com/oo7zotb  Thought of the day. I think I already said this, but it’s worth repeating.

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