Horton Creek Tr -A Seductive Cascade Through A Rich Forest At Base Of The Mogollon Rim
Horton Creek Trail is a fun favorite of mine. Fun for both activity and inactivity, for while there is a reward of exercise, there is also a peace to just doing the opposite, and tucking yourself away around some bend in the flow, letting Nature gently and fully a liven all your senses. For a description of this wonderful little hike, I will refer you to the following well-written words of friend and writer, Roger Naylor, from his latest book "Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook For Hungry Hikers", where this image, as well as the following one, were both blessed to be prominently placed. For the second image and further however, I will revert back to my own writings and musings. I hope you enjoy, and please check Roger's book out:
The Seductive Call Of A Cascade
"Being a waterway in Arizona is often a seasonal job. Some creeks run as feisty as an over- caffeinated terrier during rainy times and lie around in sandy pajamas the rest of the year. Horton Creek is no part-timer. It goes non-stop, tumbling in a furious rush through a rich forest at the base of the Mogollon Rim. Needless to say, that combo makes for a spectacular day of hiking.
The trail starts at the Upper Tonto Creek Campground, following an old wagon road. It parallels the stream, yet is slightly removed from it. While this is a fine, shady ramble beneath Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and an understory of juniper, oak and maple, the water beckons. A trace trail hugs the creek bank with filament pathways connecting the two. When a seductive cascade calls you down to the water, you can clamber along the creek-side path. When you want slightly easier travel — not winding among rocks and downed logs — return to the wagon trail.
The wagon road and trace trail stay in pretty close contact until the last half-mile. The wagon road gets steeper, crossing a rock-strewn segment, then launches into a few sharp switchbacks to a junction with the Highline Trail. This is today's stopping point. But first follow the sign pointing to the right to check out Horton Spring, the source of this picturesque little creek. Water gushes from the hillside, spilling over moss-covered boulders.
This is a wonderfully refreshing summer hike, and a favorite in autumn as well when things get gaudy up in here." ~ Roger Naylor - "Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook For Hungry Hikers"
Rooted In Strength And Beauty
"Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don't see what goes on underground - as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don't see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree." ~ Joyce Meyer
Big-tooth Maple tree, along Horton Creek, in Arizona's Tonto National Forest, near Payson, While taking a rest and laying under this strong and beautiful Maple, I appreciated not just what was visible, but also what was hidden beneath the Earth that fortifies the character above -- and secretly hoped the roots of my own character would support me so well through the seasons.
A Friend To Sit Quietly With
"A brook can be a friend in a special way. It talks to you with splashy gurgles. It cools your toes and lets you sit quietly beside it when you don't feel like speaking." — Joan Walsh Anglund
This Autumn colors forest reflection in the water was captured on Horton Creek, in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona. This 3.5 mile (one way) trail follows a spring-fed creek below the Mogollon Rim, East of Payson, Arizona. It is a very popular hike in the warmer months as it has all the elements you might want for an Arizona summer hike.
The great thing about this hike is you don’t have to hike the whole trail to get to a ‘destination.’ The trail parallels Horton Creek and runs right next to it for maybe a quarter of the hike, so there are plenty of places to walk off the trail and plop down on a large boulder or slab of rock and let the tranquil environment envelop you; which is exactly what I quietly did as I got to know my new friend.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~ Albert Camus
While hiking along Horton Creek, of Arizona's Tonto National Forest, near Payson, the long morning light breaking through the tree tops created wonderful shadows of the Autumn trees. Each colored leaf glowed as if flowers from a second Spring.
Use Your Senses Fully
"Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence underneath the sounds. Touch something — anything — and feel and acknowledge its Being." ~ Eckhart Tolle
While hiking Horton Creek Trail, during Autumn, in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona, I decided that I needed to just stop hiking, pick a spot along the creek, and then just let go and Be -- without any interpretation. I set the camera down, set myself down, and spent two hours in the same spot along the creek doing nothing but allowing my senses to shine. The sounds, light, shapes, colors, and textures took hold of me with gentle force; and suddenly I had awareness that my moments of just being could not fully awaken without the full acknowledgement that everything else around me was also just being. When I grasped that the great spirit in myself and in this environment were the same, I was fully at peace. Then, and only then, could I finally capture the essence of all of it in this single photograph.
Poems Upon The Sky
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” ~ Khalil Gibran
While hiking along Horton Creek, in Arizona's Tonto National Forest, near Payson, the Autumn air and the sunlight diffusing through the colored canopy was delightful. I took my pack off and laid against it on the ground under the glorious red leaves of many Big-tooth Maples, mostly to rest and have some nourishment, but soon enough I forgot about my meal, and nourished myself instead on these fanciful poems the Earth writes upon the sky.
Silent Riddle Of Root And Sky
"Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence." ~ Kim Taplin
This Big-tooth Maple against a rising sun was photographed during Autumn at Horton Creek, in Arizona's Tonto National Forest, near Payson. After arriving in the early morning and spending my day surrounded by these glorious trees, I indeed wondered if there was some secret wisdom I could gain about our lasting and spiritual existence, by spending so much time in their presence. While the riddle still alludes me, I have a sense that the answer involves time, and is revealed about one minute after my giving up and leaving.
Flowing Colors Of Horton Creek
While hiking the Horton Creek Trail, of Arizona's Tonto National Forest of Arizona, I found this lovely area of the creek that drew me in and kept me on location for many hours. I sat and watched the leaves float by while the sun moved overhead, constantly changing the lighting of the scene. After awhile the lighting changed to a point I could no longer ignore it, and I was in awe of this shadowed scene, being colorfully and brightly reflected upon, by a sunlit scene out of view. I waited for the next big breeze to launch some new leaves of various color upon the water, and then shot this moment with a slow shutter to accentuate not just the colored reflections, but also the colored trails of the various leaves as they floated through the fast current.
Flowing Colors Of Horton Creek
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