Early last month I was walking on the Westfork Trail; which is also named "Call Of The Canyon: with my spouse, and good buddy George. At the first crossing, I came across this vibrant wall, and I couldn,t resist taking a few shots with my trusted camera. Desert Varnish
is the thin red to black exposed rock surfaces in arid regions. There is a lot of Red Rock Varnish at Westfork. Varnish is composed of clay minerals, oxides and hydroxides of manganese and/or iron, as well as other particles such as sand grains and trace elements .Westfork Trail is one of the most popular trails on the Coconino National Forest. Once you've strolled beside the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor and looked up, way up, at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it, you will fall in love with it, too. West Fork is fantastic throughout the year. In springtime, migrating songbirds decorate the trees with flashes of brilliance. In autumn, the canyon is ablaze with color, with red and gold leaves floating in clear reflecting pools under a canopy of solid color. In wintertime, icicles decorate from red rock overhangs, and snatches of snow persist in cool shadows. As a matter of fact, you'll probably find a new reason to be here every time you visit.
As for the trail itself, it's an easy stroll, but you do have to cross the stream in a number of places. Usually, that involves negotiating a few strategically placed stepping stones or taking a couple of steps in shallow water. The trail is marked and maintained for the first three miles.
Many hikers explore beyond the end of the maintained trail. Eventually the pathway ends, the route becomes more strenuous, and you will be forced to hike in the stream bed as you continue into the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. If you choose to travel the entire 14 mile stretch from one end of the canyon to the other, plan to do a lot of wading and boulder hopping, and even some swimming. Please read this notice describing the strenuous 14 mile long full canyon route between SR 89A to FR 231 (Woody Mountain Road) before attempting this rugged wilderness route.
No matter how long a hike you take here, you'll enjoy it best if you come at a time when the trail is least crowded. Mornings and weekdays are best, better yet if they're in the off-season.
When you do come, remember to take special care and leave this beautiful place better than you found it. Of course you know not to litter, but picking flowers and autumn leaves can cause just as unsightly a scar. So can short-cutting or rock throwing. Treat this natural treasure with the care it deserves and you'll have plenty of reason to come back and see it again and again.
June 28th, 2019
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