I'm really starting to enjoy all the great trip reports here, and wanted to give back a little. We decided to do an impromptu semi-canyoneering weekend trip up the West Fork of Oak Creek near Sedona, AZ. For those unfamiliar with this place, it is probably one of the most popular day hikes in Arizona. After around 3 miles the trail ends (along with the crowds) and the canyon itself extends for around 14 miles total. We hiked in 6-7 miles and set up camp on one of the ledges that can be found above the creek bed. For those who are interested in exploring a canyoneering type of adventure, this is a fantastic introduction. We did ultralight hammock camping on this trip. I already posted a version of this trip report on HF, but decided to post it here as well since there seems to be a lot more buzz and interest on hanging at BPL lately. I'm thinking that this community would be more interested in the specific lightweight gear aspects of this trip.
Here are some pictures and a dialog of this trip:
Near the trailhead the trail consists mostly of loose sand, and there are some remnants of older buildings that still stand.
You very quickly enter the slot canyon and the walls seem to rise up before you.
The trails ends at around 3 miles and it's stream walking and rock hopping from there onwards.
You'll wade through many narrow sections in this slot canyon.
Many obstacles and problem solving required along the route. Wonder what that pointy rock is pointing at?
My favorite picture with the glassy creek reflecting the towering cliffs.
The looming canyon walls ever present along the way. This is where we stopped to camp.
We scrambled up this face to find a ledge to camp on.
Here's a Youtube video from the campsite vantage point.
Now a little talk about gear. Angelo and I both brought along our Warbonnet Traveler hammocks, that weight in at around ~15.5oz. Also shown is the Snowpeak umbrella, at ~4.7oz and is used for incidental rain protection as well as shade. We had our umbrellas mounted on the ridgeline to shade us while we took an afternoon siesta and enjoyed the luxury of margaritas poured from the platy bottle shown near the packs. Also notice the whoopie sling suspension we both used for our hammocks. It's a very lightweight and easy-to-adjust method for hanging your hammocks. Angelo had a Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack, and I brought along my favorite and trusted companion, the ULA Conduit circa 2007. We both had cuben tarps in case of rain, but never had to break them out. There is nothing like hanging under the open sky and gazing at the stars. I had an MLD cuben hammock tarp, and Angelo brought a custom Zpacks cuben tarp.
My view from the hammock, facing the canyon wall on the other side of the creek.
A glimpse at more gear. We both utilized top quilts. Angelo has a custom one made by Te-wa, at ~19oz rated into the 20's and way overkill for these temps. My top quilt was a Golite Ultra20. At 19oz, not quite as warm as Angelo's but still way overkill for these temps (overnight low ~50 degrees). We were both experimenting with our new Insultex full length summer underquilts. This is currently the rage at HF, and provides a lot of warmth for ~8oz. We are getting ready to heat coffee and cook breakfast on our Caldera Cone Tri-ti stoves.
One more Youtube video taken on the hike back out. Don't know why my camera made those annoying audio pops and clicks.
It was a really fun and memorable weekend trip, one that I will repeat very soon. Next time we'll probably through-hike it from the top.