Over the last few weeks, I've explored this canyon a few times at various entry points in an attempt to bask in the scenery that few casual visitors to the region will ever see. My first couple of ventures involved day hiking along the only perennially flowing stretch of Sycamore Creek up to Parsons Spring, taking in a gorgeous swimming hole along the way. This hike takes you along a stretch of the creek that is bordered by inner canyon walls, thus you never get to see the entire scope of the outer canyon. Regardless, it's a beautifully riparian canyon hike that is very different from what you see in rest of this wilderness. I did this hike twice because I wanted to photograph it both with green foliage and then again with fall colors lining the creek's banks.
|A Swimming Hole Along Sycamore Creek|
|Autumn View From Parsons Spring Trailhead|
My next adventure involved a backpacking trip deep into the heart of this wilderness. My buddy, Greg Rynders, and I originally planned for this to be a three day trip starting at the Dogie trailhead on the east rim of the canyon. From there we planned to backpack the Taylor's Cabin to Casner Mountain loop, some 21 miles that descends down to the creek bed to an out-of-commission (but restored) rancher's cabin and ascends back up via the Taylor Cabin trail to Casner Mountain. However, it being late November and all, the weather usually has the final say on all plans and it turned out to be far too cold (for our liking) to consider camping atop Casner Mountain. As it was, we awoke to a snow covered tent on our overnight at Taylor's Cabin which is nearly 2000 ft below Casner's summit. We opted (wisely, we both agreed) to shorten the trip to a single night out and back from the cabin. To change things up a bit, we did choose to come back a slightly different way by hiking the dry creek bed (instead of the official trail, which followed a bench high above the creek) back to the intersection with the Dogie Trail. While this boulder hopping route was tough on my chronically bad ankles, the new viewing perspective it afforded us definitely made it worth the while.
|Taylor's Cabin - Sycamore Canyon Wilderness|
|Sinagua Indian Ruins - Sycamore Canyon Wilderness|