Back in the late 70’s (or early 80’s?) I went swimming at Oak Creek Crossing in Sedona, Arizona. But I believe a few people thought I was exaggerating because much of the time Oak Creek Crossing is shallow and there’s no obvious place you can swim.
Yet I’ve recently discovered several photos that prove my case.
When I came here back in the 70’s I had Spiritual experiences here – and it was still pretty well unspoiled. I climbed up to Cathedral Rock and I felt like it was a secluded sacred moment – like nobody had ever been up here before. Now there are hiking trails that go up here and people all over the place. The Spell of Solitude is long gone.
But it’s beauty and mystique can never be completely destroyed.
So Nick, our Guide/Driver, says there’s something else he wants to show us close by.
Lead on …
He points to a nearby tree and says: “See this tree?” “This is John Wayne Tree”.
What?! Really!! How so?
Nick says that back in 1947 when John Wayne was starring in Angel and the Badman
John had posed by this tree for a photo.
I now recalled seeing that photo somewhere? but I’ve been able to find it since.
This did seem seem to be an amazing coincidence though because there’s no way Nick could have known
that I had a blog called My Favorite Westerns where I had extensively featured The Duke.
Nick claimed John posed something like this. (Notice how I bear absolutely no resemblance to John Wayne who was without a doubt about one of the most photogenic Celebrities who ever lived.)
But I really had to wonder though at the odds of this??
We hadn’t planned on taking Jeep Tour at all and these Jeep Tours go to many different locations in the area.
Yet here we were. Pretty amazing.
Angel and the Badman / 1947
One year before I was born.
John Wayne was 40 years old.
He was a Star, but had not yet achieved the unparalleled heights of SuperStardom
he ultimately reached.
Eight years earlier John had Starred the most important Western ever made: Stagecoach. Directed by John Ford which raised Western Film from pulp to legitimate Art. This had been also John’s breakthrough role as a Western Hero.
I never really did tell the full story of our John Wayne Tree adventure at Sedona back in 2013. My previous posts on this were lousy so I want to fix that.
In Sedona my pardner, Rose, won a Jeep Tour prize by getting sucked into a TimeShare presentation. That was the hook. I wasquietly kicking Rose for making me endure the TimeShare thing, but we would never have gone on this Jeep Tour otherwise.Life and Fate, however, often have a different idea that they only let us in on when we’re right in the middle of it all. Sometimes wonderful things happen. Sometimes not. This turned out to be pretty wonderful.
So off we go.
When you realize how many Jeep Tours there are here and the many different places they go,
you have to realize what an amazing coincidence this event turned out to be.
Schnebly Hill Road
A bit of history:
Theodore Carleton (T C) Schnebly and his wife SEDONA Arabella Miller Schnebly
moved to the Sedona area in 1901.
Schnebly Hill Road, of course is named after them and Sedona after her.
The Hill road is an adventure in itself. Below you can see one stretch of the road – and why they use Jeeps. All six of us were all well strapped in, but we still needed to hold on to our saddlehorns. At one point we saw a family in a minivan coming up the road. You can bet they regretted that.
Nick, our driver, was giving us a running commentary on the area as we bumped along. (Can’t remember a thing.)
Nor was there much chance for taking any pics on the way up.
But we did snap a couple.We jostle and jerk our way up to see a viewpoint Nick calls Schnebly Hill Vista
… and jump out for a jaunt.
I look back down and see the old timer still sitting in the jeep. (below)
(He was a very unhappy camper to be along on this excursion – and didn’t hide it.) Possibly another victim of a TimeShare pitch.
Hiking up a short, but steep little path and arrive at the Viewpoint …
Nick was right. This is a hell of a viewpoint.
You can literally see for miles. Sedona in the distance.
There are a lot of such vista views around Sedona area.
I’ve been to Sedona on and off since the early 70’s. On my first visit I hiked up to Cathedral Rock. There were no trails or pathways going up there in those days. And no people. I enjoyed a moment of pure solitude. That evening I swam at Oak Creek Crossing as the sun set. Native ladies and their children came down to sit on the rocks to enjoy a serene twilight. It was truly a magical moment and a once in a lifetime experience. I was One with them. Sedona is not the sleepy secret it used to be, but I hope there is still some solitude and peace to be found here.
I’ve been going to Sedona, Arizona on and off since the 70’s. Love that place. Back then although Sedonaand it’s Waterholeweren’t really a secret, things weren’t overly crowded either. That changed. Some major magazine (was it Look?) published an article on America’s great waterholes. Next thing you know the place was packed. Now it’s called Slide Rock State Park. And you have to pay to get in. Like many National Parks in the US and Canada the whole area has become a Tourist Trap. Frankly, many Parks are being ruined by too many visitors. Hell, Yellowstone has had traffic jams for years. Banff National Park in Canada will soon be forced to limit access. Just too many people. And if you want to camp in most any major Park up here you have to book WAY ahead. Sometimes a year ahead. It’s a crisis situation. Some Parks I visited you can’t even take a photo without 10 people in it. Or more. ??? So I’ve been dismayed for many years on how badly Sedona is being impacted. Jeep Tours, ATV rentals, mountain bikers, motocross cycles – a lot of different things. The place is being destroyed. When I hiked up to Cathedral Rock back in the 70’s I felt like I was in a remote area. Not now. Most of the following photos are from a visit in 2013 (?). Here’s what it looked like that day. We snuck in – it woulda costs 20 bucks otherwise.