Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The OTOs

Lurch (the camper) on Sycamore Canyon Road, predawn
That’s “One Tank Overnighters;” a quick drive to a higher altitude close to home for a little weeknight solitude.

When my schedule fills up, I feel as if I need a crowbar to fit in my nature fix, but I can do it.  I had two of these in the last couple of weeks and they’re well worth the trouble.  In truth I’ve gotten pretty good at quickly packing and prepping the camper.  I can be on the road in 20 minutes.

Sycamore Creek, near its confluence with the Verde River
Last week I set up at the Parsons Spring Trail-head outside Clarkdale.  The sky was delightfully stormy and moody but there wasn’t enough rain in the forecast to put me at risk of flash flood or sliding off the dirt road on the way out.  Dispersed camping here is on a mesa with a spectacular view of the confluence of Sycamore Creek and the Verde River and I had the whole place to myself.  My camera gear and I made two trips down into the canyon and upstream where there’s a prolific yellow columbine bloom.

Sunrise near Sycamore Pass Road
Last night I was further north along the same drainage, near the Dogie Trailhead.  Again I was fortunate to have the place to myself for two trips up the trail to take in the breathtaking views. 
Hiking alone gives me ample time to think, and for better or worse I cooked up a plan for this morning.  The alarm went off at 4:00 AM to give me time to drive to another spot in the dark and catch the 5:15 sunrise. For all that I was home and back to work by 8:30.

I don’t know when I’ll have another chance to embark on one of these trips, but you can bet I’ll jump at it when I do.

More images are in the Northern Arizona Gallery on the website