Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sycamore Canyon Overlook Trail, Williams, Arizona

Junction: Whitehorse Lake Trail and Sycamore Canyon Overlook Trail #70
While the government shut-down is affecting many services, including the National Parks and Forests, there are still a lot of activities available, if you're willing to walk just a little bit farther from your car, and pack a few snacks and a bottle of water in your daypack. The Sycamore Canyon Overlook Trail, #70, just outside of Williams, Arizona, meets up with the Whitehorse Lake Trail, #33. Another easy day-hike, it has a brief uphill climb, and is difficult to see in some spots. For me, this only added to the adventure. At trail marker 9 on the Whitehorse Lake Trail, take the trail to Sycamore Canyon View. This will make your hike a total of just over 3 miles, unless you have to park outside the Whitehorse Lake Campground and walk in to the trailhead. The reward is a mostly easy, fairly level trail, with abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing (especially with fewer people about) and interesting obstacles, such as these cattle gates, to negotiate.

I was standing right here, when a large hawk rose out of the canyon below and hovered in front of me. Noting his audience, he began to soar high overhead, dipping and rising on the air currents. My heart thrilled and I forgot to breathe for a moment. I sat and watched a small group of hawks dance on the winds for the better part of an hour.

The Dragon Tree
My mind, thus freed from its carefully constructed restraints, discovered this Dragon, cleverly disguised as a tree, apparently waiting either for its rider, or for some hobbit to try to steal its treasure. I was not going to fall for its tricks. The sun was setting, so I reluctantly returned down to the trailhead, mindful of the couple of spots where the trail was not very clear. 10 year old Yak would have enjoyed this hike, but at the time, the guys were in Colorado, so I had to go solo.

If you decide to take this hike, keep in mind that at the top, there are steep dropoffs and no safety rails. Keep young children close. Also, wildlife is not always friendly. Know how to protect yourself. Especially with Forest Rangers not on duty due to budget constraints, make sure somebody expects you back, so someone can alert authorities if you don't show up.

That said, Happy Trails!

No comments: