Dogies Hike Soldiers Pass / Brins Mesa / Cibola Loop
November 01, 2019
By Michael Owen
Soldiers Pass Arch from above, Photo courtesy of Al Gore
On a Tuesday morning, the Dogies hiking group began what was rated as a difficult hike with steep climbs. We started the hike at the trailhead off Jordan Road in Sedona shortly after 8 o'clock with partly sunny skies on a chilly fall morning, temperature in the 60's. Our leader kept the pace moderate as we headed up the Cibola Pass trail. It wasn't long before we stopped to shed our jackets as we quickly warmed up on the climb towards "The Mitten".
I'm told that this mitten has 2 thumbs if viewed from the proper angle. As the conversation went, there are certain gloves that are made with 2 thumbs. The things you can learn on a Westerner Hike! At the first bench we stopped to take in the view of the Sphinx and survey what was to come as we hiked on toward Morning Glory. After a steep climb, we were rewarded with an incredible view on top. We then took a well deserved break before heading back down. We proceeded along a route with more great views (as always on a Sedona hike) and arrived on top of Brins Mesa. Scouting near the trail for a lunch spot with lots of good seating and exceptional views, I was quite surprised to find that we were above the alcoves seen from the Soldier Pass trail below. This was my first time seeing it from on top. It was a thrilling experience to walk across the hidden arch that can only be seen up close, usually from below, but this time from above.
Obviously this trek was for experienced hikers with good stamina. This is my second season with the club. Each hike is rated for difficulty, mileage involved, and what to expect in terms of terrain. The different groups including the Amblers, Mustangs, Dogies, etc., are each designed for different levels of experience from beginner to expert.
Good hiking boots are a must. Many of us use trekking poles as well. We always carry plenty of water, 2 quarts minimum. Food to keep our energy up at breaks and lunch stops is also a must. Some of the members are volunteers in Search and Rescue teams and must take specialized training to keep up their skills. In addition, as good stewards of the trails we police for litter and leave no trace, (except for footprints).
As we made our way back on the Brin's Mesa Loop trail one could see the remnants of the 2006 Brins Mesa fire. Fortunately it now has new growth including oak and cypress trees as well as manzanita. We then proceeded downhill to our starting point. Our GPS's informed us of a mileage of just under 5 miles and an overall elevation gain of 1260'. At 4 hours total time, it was a morning well spent with a great group of fellow hikers.
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 regularly scheduled monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 14, at the Sedona Methodist Church, 110 Indian Cliffs Road.