A Canadian’s Enjoyable Return to Sedona

May 27, 2022

By Allison Thomas

Sedona’s vistas offer a visual treat for the senses. The vivid red blooms of this cactus offer a glimpse of the beauty yet to come to our area.

After a long Canadian winter, I headed out on my biannual trip to Sedona. Arriving in late February, I hoped to see less snow, the first signs of spring, and all my Sedona Westerner friends. This trip provided the opportunity to say good-bye to winter and to see first-hand the beginning signs of spring in Red Rock country. The feeling of re-energizing oneself after waking from a long Canadian winter’s nap with renewed vigor brings excitement in discovering new trails and anticipation in revisiting old favorites.      

One of my first Rough Rider hikes was Ears and Tiers, where it would seem spring was arriving a little later than usual in Sedona.  Remains of snowfall were still evident as we tackled the tiers of the hike.   These Rough Riders could not ignore the opportunity to take advantage of perfect packing snow for a fun filled snowball fight. Surprisingly, we could still see the first signs of spring, wildflowers trying to poke their way through the newly fallen blanket of snow. They too were coming out of their winter nap!   

Spring is a great time to reflect on and appreciate how lucky we are and what we have learned. My time hiking with the Westerners are moments that bring me fond memories. Much of what I have learned about hiking has been through my numerous hiking experiences with the Sedona Westerners, in particular from the Scouts! It is thanks to them that I could build my confidence in my abilities as a hiker and enjoy the challenges they presented. Almost everything I know about hiking, I learned from this group of experienced hikers. Here is what is important to remember…

  • Stop first and then look around at the breathtaking views. Gawking and walking can be hazardous to your health.
  • Cat’s claw plant literally has thorns that look like a cat’s claw and they really do hurt…and it really isn’t a hike until someone is bleeding.
  • Rocks get higher and taller toward the end of the hike, but all hikes eventually lead back to the parking lot!
  • Prickly pear cactus doesn’t just have spines, it has “glochids” around the base of those spines. (Glochid in Greek means "tip of the arrow;" no surprise there.) These fuzzy little needles are incredibly painful. Steer clear of this cactus, especially when falling!
  • Don’t give a full hike description when you are the leader, half the fun is keeping them guessing! And in doubt, we are not lost, we are just checking our options.
  • Look at where you want to be, not where you don’t want to be. Never stand with your back to cliff ledge.
  • Poles really do help…just have them adjusted properly.
  • Red Rock is slippery when wet!

At the end of the day what I have really learned from the Scouts is that they always have your back, or at least they have a hold of your backpack, especially if you lose your footing! I always look forward to making my return to Sedona, where I know there will be many new and exciting adventures to conquer with fellow Westerners!  

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