Why We Hike
January 21, 2022
By Dick WIlliams
edona Westerner Dave Minott’s inspiration to become a life-long hiker was his Aunt Gladys, an early-adopter hiker, shown here at upper left on the summit of New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock in 1908.
The wet and chilly weather of late December made many trail enthusiasts in Sedona hunker down in their houses. Although many of us have plenty of cold weather gear, sometimes it’s just the trails that need a rest, and protection from deep footprints in slippery mud.
Time off the trails affected people in different ways. For the intrepid souls used to hiking 3-4 days a week, the downtime was frustrating because their exercise and time with nature had been curtailed. For others, the downtime was a welcome respite and time to rest, let muscles and joints rejuvenate, and recharge their batteries.
Many of us gained quiet time to reflect upon our favorite activity, and why we love to hike. I thought it might be interesting to explore some of those thoughts.
According to Linda Pallas, the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona inspire us all in so many different ways. Sometimes the scenery compels us to paint or make music. Sometimes the land motivates us to write or meditate. Most of us have felt the need to take a photograph of the landscape for the family album, while others go on to capture professional images. Many times we feel a more kinesthetic reaction – the scenery inspires us to hike.
Debby Losse, who enjoys hiking in the upper altitudes, loves connecting with nature, getting good exercise, and being with friends. She finds meeting new people an added incentive. One of her most interesting encounters has been a group of New Mexican Pueblo inhabitants making an annual ceremonial hike to honor their ancestors. She also reflects upon the time a man who identified himself as a cowboy poet entertained the group.
Chris Rhiner hikes because she finds it a good balance from mountain biking and great training for backpacking. She also likes meeting new people. On one trip she met an author of a book about the Flying Tigers in WWII. She bought the book and began to read it on the very next hike.
Sandi Heysinger loves the exercise, the views, finding new hikes, seeing new things, and watching geologic history come alive. With the Westerners, she loves the friendship and their interesting stories. Sandi says you can see many of the views of Sedona from a car. It is only when you hike and get up close, however, that you truly feel and experience the magic the red rocks have to offer.
Ernie Negrete is relatively new to the Westerners but anxious to get out on the trails. His granddaughter influenced him to take up hiking, and he fell in love with it.
Leslie Lundberg’s answer is very simple yet very eloquent. She finds herself. The peace and beauty soothes her soul.
Dave Minott, our Trail Boss (President), developed a life-long love of hiking because of where he grew up and also the influence of his “sparkplug” aunt. Although he played outside in New England as a child, it was his Aunt Gladys who inspired him during his teenage years to serious hiking, mountaineering, and skiing. Her enthusiasm was contagious, inspiring her own children as well as her nieces and nephews, like Dave, to become mountaineers and skiers. Dave’s family has some tremendous 1908 photos of Aunt Gladys and the family summiting a mountain in New Hampshire.
As for myself, I love the views and the textures of the landscape here in the Red Rocks. The blue of the sky, red and white of the rocks, and green of the plants create a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and scenes that constantly change with the lighting. They never get old. A true bonus for me is the time spent visiting with fellow Westerners during our hikes. Their backgrounds, hobbies, and life experiences are nothing short of amazing and inspiring.
We have over 370 Sedona Westerners, so there are probably hundreds more reasons, some more personal, as to why people hike. A consistent theme to all of them, however, is the magic of the outdoors. We are truly fortunate here in Sedona to have the Red Rocks as our backyard playground.