August 1, 2015
The advantage of getting the local’s point of view when touring an area is that they know places to visit for a nominal fee or free! As a tourist in Sedona, I’ve hiked the vortex spots, boarded the Sedona Trolley tours, shopped at Tlaquepaque, ate like Rachel Ray on $40 a day, and enjoyed prickly pear ice cream. As an aspiring local, trying to find fun and cheap thrills, I got to see Cathedral Rock from the back side, saw over a thousand petroglyphs at V-V Heritage Site, and tubing on Verde River at Camp Verde.
A Sedona local invited me to a half-day tubing trip on the Verde River designated as a National Wild & Scenic Rivers System (this peaked my interest, hence this blog). The ‘scenic’ part of the river begins near Beasley Flat and continues downstream for 18.8 miles; this section has few access points and largely undeveloped. The ‘wild’ part of the river is 22.2 more miles after the scenic part; this section has the least accessibility and the most natural in appearance.
Beasley Flat has a parking lot, vault toilets, changing room, and picnic ramada. The put in is about 1 mile up the road and the take out is at the first picnic ramada. We floated approximately 1.5 miles with TubeTracker which is an oblong shape tube and a paddle. My friends brought theirs while I rented from Verde Adventures for $35. If using their shuttle, advance reservation is a must. I was with locals with two vehicles, so we arranged our own shuttling system.
We floated by riparian shrubs and trees such as cattail, cottonwoods, and mesquite, living up to the river’s Spanish name Verde meaning green. It was relaxing at best with birds chirping, cool splashes of water, and dragonfly racing to your tube’s pace as they land on you (a sign of luck). The 1.5 river mile gave us about three nice and sweet class 1 rapids with the last stretching longer and faster. Being on the Verde River was an honor and made me grateful to those people who decided that a river should be free of clutter.
President Lyndon Johnson on signing the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968: “An unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today. Their flow and vitality have been harnessed by dams and too often they have been turned into open sewers by communities and by industries. It makes us all very fearful that all rivers will go this way unless somebody acts now to try to balance our river development.” I hope this inspired you to visit as many of the wild and scenic rivers starting with the Verde River.