Have you ever noticed how there are two types of enchanted forests? There's the happy kind of enchantment, where dew glitters on leaves and pollen dance like fairies in the golden rays of sunlight that break between trees.
Then you have the dark enchantment. The eerie kind in which you'd half expect to find a villainous storybook character amidst the grey fog and damp chill that hover between black tree trunks.
I walked through areas reminiscent of both in Sedona's West Fork Trail on this month's hike and brunch with Women on Adventures. After waking before no sane person should wake, driving more than two hours, and having to park half a mile away from the trailhead—we soon found out this was one of Sedona's most popular hikes.
Soon into the 6-mile hike, it wasn't hard to see why. The trail—nestled in a valley of the Sedona's notorious red rocks—followed a river and wove between foliage that reminded me of northern Michigan. As it was color season, we saw bright red and orange trees complement the dusty red canyon walls behind them and hiked through patches of yellow-leafed trees that set the entire trail aglow.
The beautiful colors continued all throughout the hike. The trail didn't really have an end to it—you're able to continue for another couple miles to the campgrounds—but we stopped a little over three miles in where the creek widened beneath a canyon wall that curved over it.
As beautiful as the West Fork trail was, I was relieved to get back to the trailhead. The trail got increasingly busier as we crept into the afternoon, and hiking over six miles had me approaching hangry.
We stopped for brunch at Indian Gardens Café, where I opted for the healthier garden pita over the tempting pulled pork sandwich. Both looked equally delicious and the pita was more satisfying than I expected after such a long morning. I also got one of their iced coffees, which was a tasty as everything else.
After brunch, we hit Sedona's infamous traffic for about an hour before we could head back to Phoenix. I thoroughly enjoy the morning hike, but it was a long day. Next time, I'll be sure to do what a few other women did and make a weekend out of it.