ON & OFF THE BEATEN PATH :: Arizona, Part Deux

by David Daugherty on February 21, 2011

Before I get too far ahead of myself—prior to hitting the bars and breweries in Arizona—The Hippie and I took a drive to one of his favorite spots. West Clear Creek in the Coconino National Forest. He had told me that the hike down the canyon was a difficult one but I thought I would be up for the experience. We got up early on a hot Arizona September morning and loaded up a cooler with ice, lunch, and Gatorade. It was approximately a 2-hour drive northeast from where the Hippie lives so on the drive, we had a chance to catch up. When we arrived at the West Clear Creek area, The Hippie and I got a little turned around on the directions and it took us a couple hours to find it. Don’t ask why. Suffice it to say that, as the area is beautiful, it wasn’t a concern.

Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest

When we finally arrived at West Clear Creek, we ate our lunch and shoved a few Gatorades in a backpack. I grabbed my camera and we set off for the hike down the mountain. Unfortunately, a bad day for my knee, which started killing me, but we started down the mountain anyway. To read more about West Clear Creek, check out this link, americansouthwest.net/arizona/west_clear_creek/canyon.html.

West Clear Creek, Coconino National Forest

It’s rated a very difficult hike and I made it about half-way down the side of the mountain when I told the Hippie that I could probably make it down there, but it would take a helicopter to bring me out…my knee was screaming! So at his suggestion, I handed off my camera and when he got to the bottom, he took some really great pictures of the creek. I stayed put and sat on a small stool on the edge of a cliff waiting for him to finish while a storm loomed heavy overhead. If you have never heard thunder while in a canyon, it is loud and I mean loud!

Coconino National Forest, West Clear Creek

The Hippie (Bryan Dunn). Thanks for the great shots!

Bryan Dunne, "The Hippie"

After leaving West Clear Creek, we decided to visit Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde, AZ. It was only 20 miles away and we figured it would be worth it. It would be cooler than Phoenix so we headed off for Camp Verde. Another historic and awesome site to see when visiting Arizona! I won’t elaborate on the castle, everything you would want to know can be found here at americansouthwest.net/arizona/montezuma_castle/national_monument.html.

Montezuma Castle, Camp Verde AZ

On our way back to Phoenix, I saw a sign for Cave Creek, AZ and remembered that there was a micro brewery there called Crazy Ed’s Satisfied Frog and Black Mountain Brewery. I planned on going there soon after. More on Crazy Ed’s and others in the next update.

Next: Tortilla Flats and the Apache Trail

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