Out of Place
~Sunday, March 27, 2022~
Jeff made a good, hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon (for him), homemade hash browns and fruit for today’s 7.3-mile hike in Sedona. Per Kristen’s recommendation (our new friend from boondocking), we chose to do one more trail, the Boynton Canyon Trail, which would require a 45-minute drive back to the Red Rock region. Though it’s only been a week since we left that area, it felt like a welcome friend, seeing the expanse of buttes surrounding us once again.
Even with a full parking lot, we managed to find a good spot on the side of the road along with many other hikers. Jeff and I always prefer street parking over parking lots anyway for safety reasons.
This hike is a stunner from the get-go. What was most beautiful about it was the combination of green vegetation, the red rock landscape, and the vibrant blue sky with an array of clouds further enhancing the display before us. About a ¼ of the way in, we were taken aback at
something that at first seemed so out of place. As we came around a bend in the trail, on our left side, we saw what appeared to be a monstrosity of a home.
The further we hiked in the more we realized this was no home, but an expansion of an already existing luxury vacation spot called the Enchantment Resort. The trail skirts the 70-acre retreat built in 1987, surrounded by the towering red rock walls of the box canyon. The resort is sprawling, with casas, haciendas and casitas, yet camouflaged well by the style of architecture and color choice. We’re actually shocked that the building department would allow such a large resort in an exclusive canyon such as this. Room rates average anywhere between $1,100 to $3,500/night. But the resort is not the only structure in the canyon. There are 20-30 million dollar homes built into the sides or bottom of the canyon all blended into their surroundings.
The trail ranges from an 800-foot elevation gain if you hike directly to the end, but if preferred, can take a side trail to the Subway Cave, adding another 300-feet of climbing. We had heard about this cave, but never saw signs for it, nor did we see anyone heading off the main trail. We found out after the fact, from our friend Kristen, that the side trail to the cave is at the ½ way mark, unsigned. Not sure why it isn’t broadcasted more. Apparently the views from there are stunning (click on the link above to get a glimpse).
About the last mile, where things get a little steeper, the vegetation changes from lush shrubs to conifer trees, reminding us of our California Sierra’s. It also provided nice shade for the remainder of the hike. Evidently as of recent, Boynton Canyon is thought to consist of a spiritual vortex. Though Jeff and I don’t follow these beliefs, there is no doubt that we agree with the beauty found in these natural desert gardens and towering, crimson buttes.
While on the way to Boynton Canyon earlier in the day, we went through the small town of Cornville via Page Springs Road, a historic scenic road full of quaint tasting rooms and rustic restaurants in a rural setting. So we decided to take this same road back, with plans to stop at one of the wine bistros. One in particular appealed to us……the Up the Creek Wine Bistro & Bar. Not sure
if we’d get in without a reservation, we were seated promptly fairly close to the window seats overlooking Oak Creek. They have a thing called “Pour-Off Sundays” to rid themselves of already opened bottles of red wine before closing on Mondays and Tuesdays. The customer gets these wines at 50% off. Hmmm….reminds me of my days working at Franciscan Vineyards when we were allowed to take home amazing bottles of wine if they were less than half-full. Come to think of it, we always made sure the bottles were half-empty. 😉My choice for the evening was a delicious Zinfandel while Jeff selected beer. We decided to have only appetizers so we split an order of grilled artichoke with a honey aioli sauce….delicious! Along with a mushroom bruschetta plate that was delectable!! Fine dining in a historic, but casual atmosphere in Arizona’s wine country.