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Woods Canyon - Sedona
7 Photosets

mini location map2003-06-21
10 by photographer avatararizonaheat
photographer avatar
Woods Canyon - SedonaFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2003
Hiking14.80 Miles 2,485 AEG
Hiking14.80 Miles
2,485 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Well today was the big day. I bounced out of bed, did back handsprings into the kitchen, downed a couple of bowls of Tony Tiger, because their Grrrrrrrrrrreat, and I was going to need a "Tiger in my tank" for what laid ahead. I picked up Cactuscat at 2:45 AM and we were off for our destination. We arrived at the Lower Woods Canyon Trailhead at about 4:45 AM, a distance of 132 miles from Northeast Mesa. We had been there about 15 minutes or so, when suddenly we saw some sort of aborition approaching, we weren't certain what it was and thought it may be caused by on of those Sedona New Age Vortexes! It took on several different alien life forms then voila, there was the Grand Master of HAZ, Teva Joe, coming through the gate.

We left his rig at the Lower Woods Canyon Trailhead, all piled into to mine and we were off on a shuttle to the Upper Woods Canyon Trailhead. We drove the 5+ miles back to I-17 like sane people, but once we headed north on 17 toward our destination we went from impulse power to warp drive (for you trekies), we got off at exit 315 and followed FR80 a short distance where we picked up Pfredricks, who had spent the night.

We continued down FR80 toward our starting point, shaking our innards and rattling our teeth, when we came upon the first excitement of the day. We spotted a mother hen Turkey with about ten little chicks crossing the field in front of us. I attempted a photo, but they were to quick to take cover.

Soon we were at our starting point, it was time for the four of us to make an attempt at conquering Woods Canyon in its entirety in a single day. A rare feat, and a admirable challenge. Total distance is only around 15 miles but the first 10 of those are totally off trail and involve nothing but bouldering, rock hopping , swimming, scrambling and on the bright side very little bush whacking. In my line of thinking this type of hiking is "HIKING NIRVANA"

We were soon cutting cross- country to a point where we would enter the upper reaches of Woods Canyon. The outside temperature at this point was a balmy 43.5 degrees. The minute we started our decent into the canyon I knew this was going to be an incredible hike. The rains from this spring had performed wonders on the flora habitat and a green lushness surrounded us, stimulating our senses. We worked our way down the Canyon, first coming upon "The Dip", then the 70' Basalt Drop (See Teva's excellent description of Upper Woods Canyon)
Soon we found ourselves at the point we had been anticipating the most, "The Liquid Pool of Ice", a long narrow pool shaded by the soaring red rock cliffs. It is a totally awesome sight. We loaded all electronics and other items that can't get wet into dry bags and prepared ourselves for the swim. The water was a balmy 59.5 degrees, which really wasn't bad. Pfredricks was first in, floating his pack. It is possible to wade for a distance on the upper end in chest deep water, but swimming is soon essential as the water is extremely deep the rest of the way across. Pfredricks was followed by Teva then Cactuscat with Arizonaheat ( the Mark Spitz of........I mean the lead weight of the group bringing up the rear), I'm glad the swim wasn't any longer, estimated distance around 50 yards, but it was a blast!!!!!!!

A short distance beyond the Liquid Pool of Ice is your next swim. It is possible to wade in chest deep water across at least half of this pool, before it's necessary to swim. This pool actually felt colder than the first. I don't believe Teva took the temperature of the second pool.

We continued at a blistering snails pace down the canyon past several more pools of water. There is one pool that is absolutely astounding, looking almost bottomless when you peer upon it from above. Problem being if you jumped you probably wouldn't be able to get back out, it is a huge bowl. We were totally amazed at the amount of water we were seeing, like I said earlier that rain did wonders.

We eventually came to the middle five miles of canyon, a stretch which was new to all of us, as Teva had never explored this part before. The highlight of this stretch was a magnificent display of what appeared to be undisturbed Indian Ruins ( let's all hope they remain that way).

We continued down the Canyon passing many more pools of water carved into the sandstone in various shapes and sizes, admiring the towering vivid red rock cliffs and outcroppings surrounding us, the many sandstone benches, the lush vegetation growing everywhere and the brilliant blue sky above. It just doesn't get any better.

Eventually we found ourselves in the lower reaches of the Canyon, where we were actually now on a trail. We were back to Teva's vehicle for the shuttle back to the top around 6:30 PM, for a hike time of over twelve hours over grueling terrain.

I absolutely loved this trek!!! I thoroughly enjoyed my hiking partners for the day. I would like to thank Teva for putting this trip together, what a great one. We sought and we conquered, Wahoo.

I would not recommend this as a day hike unless you are extremely hard core or you will end up in trouble. Also don't count on there being as much water in the Canyon as there was this time. Teva had done the upper and lower ends previously and was amazed at what he was seeing water wise and plant growth wise.
Rain does work wonders in the desert!

PS: We saw some elk on the way out.

Pictures to come. I'm sure Teva will have some great ones too.

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