Sedona Westerners View Verde Valley from Mingus Mountain
January 05, 2018
By Jim Kemper
View from the trail near the top of Mingus Mountain. The Verde Valley can be seen in the center and the San Francisco Peaks are in the distance. Scenery Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Fargo
The Dogies (pronounced “doh-gees”) is the Tuesday, intermediate level hiking group of the Sedona Westeners. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a “dogie” is a motherless or neglected calf. Well, the Sedona Westerner Dogies did not feel motherless, nor neglected, as they escaped the heat of Sedona for the cool mountain air of Mingus Mountain. Jim and Linda Warren led us on a loop hike around the top part of Mingus Mountain, consisting of Forest Service trails #106, #105A, and #105. Our hike, appropriately labeled by the Warrens as the “Mingus Mountain/3-Trail Loop,” began at the Mingus Mountain campground after carpooling from Cottonwood through the heights of Jerome and up Forest Service Road 104 to the Mingus Mountain Recreation Area.
At the trailhead parking lot, we assembled into two groups lead by Jim and Linda with Don Kling and Jim Kemper tailgating each one to ensure that no hikers were lost on the hike. We started on trail #106 with a steep descent. As we slipped down the hill, those of us with hiking poles quickly appreciated the added stability afforded by our poles. After descending some 200 feet, the vista opened to a synoptic panorama of Cottonwood and Clarkdale in the foreground and Sedona and Cornville in the distance. In addition to the views, we admired the oak trees that lined the trail, which were stunted at the higher elevations of Mingus Mountain. We also carefully avoided several huge clumps of hedgehog cacti which were beside the trail.
At the first junction in the trail, Jim and Linda led us to the left onto trail #105A, as the hike gradually leveled out, thus affording us better opportunities to enjoy the panoramic vistas as we continued our hike around the top of the Mountain. We then proceeded to the next junction of trails, #105A and 105. At this juncture, Jim and Linda led us up the hill to intersect with Forest Service Road 104, to complete the triumvirate of trails for the day. Unfortunately, having descended some 1,000 feet on trails #106 and 105A, our ascent also required 1,000 feet elevation gain to get back to the top. Although the trail was gratefully designed with innumerable switchbacks to lessen the ascent, we still frequently stopped to catch our breath, since we were lowlanders from Sedona and Cottonwood, unaccustomed to the almost 8,000-foot elevation of Mingus Mountain.
Finally, reaching the top, we stopped for lunch at the launching point for hang gliders, where Jim and Linda graciously shared delicious brownies with the group. We anxiously waited for a hang glider to appear and take that daring first step off the side of the mountain, but none appeared. After lunch, we proceeded down Forest Service Road 104 to our original parking site, to complete the loop. Several of us consulted our GPS units, and after some friendly banter, agreed that we had hiked 4.6 miles and that our cumulative elevation gain was 1,230 feet. Thus, concluded another day in the life of the Dogies.
If you are interested in joining the club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at www.sedonawesterners.org/membership. You are invited to our next monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 11, at the Sedona Methodist Church, 110 Indian Cliffs Road. Sedona Westerners, written this week by Jim Kemper, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.