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Boynton Canyon Day Hike
November 8, 2008
by Handlebar Ray
  GPS Map 

On November 8th the Arizona Trailblazers ventured up to the Red Rock Country of Sedona. We had eight hikers on our trek: Beth, Michael H, Ted, Chuck, Eileen, Wayne, Carol, and Ray. Debbie stayed in Sedona nursing an injury from the last hike and Sheila volunteered to keep her company.

Mike A. flew his plane to Sedona to join us for lunch at the airport but most of the group were still on the hike when Mike took off.

We made it to the top! Trailblazers picnic in red rock splendor.

Our purpose was to hike Boynton Canyon.

Formed some 250 million years ago, the mountain itself consisted of shale, sandstone, limestone, and sands that were deposited by sea level fluctuations. The resulting deposits left a rainbow of red, orange, pink, and white layers on the canyon walls. Add in the pine, cypress, and oak forest along the canyon bottom and the views were fantastic.

A fantastic rock fortress overlooks the Boynton Canyon Trail.

We were reminded as we hiked that even the easiest of hikes can turn into tragedy if someone uses poor judgement or is unprepared.

We started seeing Search and Rescue personnel along the trail and soon learned a hiker had become stranded overnight in the canyon. He had left his hiking companion and ventured up the mountain when darkness prevented him from finding his way down. He had no flashlight, compass, matches, or warm coat.

It was a good reminder to take hiking seriously! We found out the paramedics were bringing him down while we were in the canyon. We did not know his condition but hoped that he was okay.

Colorful autumn leaves brighten our passage.
The lineup: Chuck, Beth, and Ted (picture by Michael Humphrey)

On the other hand, we came across two hikers that were not taking any chances. One was wearing “bear bells” to prevent accidentally surprising a predator along the trail.

Bears, of course, are shy creatures and normally avoid contact with humans, but it wasn’t a bad idea. And besides, it sorta brought the Christmas spirit into the canyon!

With over 4 million visitors a year going to Sedona, it was not uncommon to hear German, Chinese, Italian, as well as a British accent being spoken along the trail when we met up with others enjoying one of the most scenic places Arizona had to offer. As we continued hiking, we viewed large chunks of stone that had fallen into the canyon and were now covered with lichen of varying colors.

It soon became obvious that any attempt at following a definite time schedule for the hike was impossible. It seemed at almost every step there was a Kodak moment. The fallen leaves, the rocky spires, and some of the flora along the trail kept us all at different hiking speeds as photographs were taken. The trail was ALMOST fool-proof, one way in and one way out, but again, someone the day before proved nothing should be taken for granted!

The forest frames a prominent butte.
rock knob
A two-tone balanced rock bids us farewell.

About noon or so we reached the end of the trail. We knew that because of a sign that said...END OF TRAIL!!!

There was a natural bench in the side of the canyon where we all sat and had a snack before heading back. We made it back to the parking lot without incident and returned to the meeting place. Some hikers headed back to the valley as others enjoyed lunch at a Sedona eatery.

It was well worth the 100 mile plus drive to Sedona to see Arizona’s beautiful Red Rock Country.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated November 20, 2017