A Day in the Life of Us Dogies
March 20, 2020
By Peter Black
View from Cockscomb
I have just arrived in Sedona having never before explored the area and this is my first hike with the Sedona Westerners. We gather at the Aerie trailhead, elevation 4570 feet, where I am encouraged to see a table set with tablecloth and fluted glasses of champagne. But this is not, of course, for us Dogies. I am partly mollified, however, when a lady freshly descended from her heavenly engagement on a balloon flight, waves her glass to me sympathetically, takes an elegant sip and wishes me well on my hike.
Our leader estimates four hours for the trip. Fourteen of us split up into two groups of seven. We set off north and clockwise to go around Doe Mountain. It’s a gorgeous day; bright sun, clear sky and likely to be the warmest day of the year so far. Everyone is in excellent spirits and most friendly; I am enjoying my introductory Westerners experience.
For our first segment we walk with the sun at our backs, then in no sun because we’re in the shade of the north side of Doe. Our second segment begins as we turn onto the east side of Doe, out of the shade and into the warm sun. We immediately discard layers and head south on the Cockscomb trail. Here the scenery opens up with Capital Butte, Lizard Head, Chimney Rock, and Little Sugarloaf all gracing the stunning vista to our east. Further on we also see the odd sight of puffs of pollen in the distance, floating cloudlike from the junipers. At the southernmost point of our circuit we brace for the ascent to our highest elevation of 5,000 feet. We gain the top, the balmy resting highlight of our day. Settling down for lunch on the flat and prettily vegetated summit we are afforded a magnificent 360 knockout view including all the way across Sedona to Munds, Courthouse and Bell. Nirvana is confirmed when our hard working and generous leaders hand out tasty bakeries to supplement our picnic fare. It turns out that these gifts are another charming and unofficial tradition of the Westerners.
As I enjoy my lunch and companionable conversation, I also realize how knowledgeable the Westerners are about their beloved region; its habitat, history and lore, which heightens my appreciation of the beauty and fascinations of the area. At the end of the trail I am grateful for the good fortune and privilege to have experienced such a happy and memorable day.
Written by Peter Black
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, April 9, 2020, at the Sedona Methodist Church, 110 Indian Cliffs Road.