Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

September 4, 2009

Meet the New Trail Boss — 2009-2010


by Mickey Gershtenson

Elizabeth Sweeney is the new Trail Boss for the Sedona Westerners hiking club’s 2009-2010 hiking season. “Trail Boss” is the unique name given to the President of the club. In the 43-year history of the Sedona Westerners, Sweeney is only the fourth woman to hold the position of Trail Boss; and she did this after only five years with the Westerners. Her journey to that position was sometimes difficult and sometimes joyous and this past season it was also physically challenging as she was bound and determined to complete some difficult Mustang hikes. Following one of the youngest Westerners Trail Bosses, Liz, a mature and experienced leader and hiker, will make a great Trail Boss.

Liz Sweeney on her "maiden hike" to the top of North Wilson.
Photo by John Avery.

Sweeney has had an affinity for the outdoors from her early years in Michigan spending summers at camps swimming, canoeing, and enjoying the many lakes and rivers. She misses the lakes and rivers as Sedona lacks them but she is not ready to trade them to return for a life in Detroit. Imagine that.

Liz received her Bachelors Degree from Albion College and then traveled to ‘Down State Illinois’ earning a Masters Degree in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Champaign / Urbana and met and subsequently married her husband of 48 years, Bill. She was obviously a child bride of 15 or 16 years.

She and her family lived mostly in the east in the Washington, DC, suburbs of both Maryland and Virginia. There was also a two year period in New Jersey where the family borrowed a pop-up tent camper traveling and camping in New England. Liz realized that she thoroughly enjoyed hiking. There were also stints in Houston, Albuquerque, and four years in Munich, Germany. She and Bill loved hiking in the Alps and learned to cross country ski. She has led a Cadet troop and with these middle school youngsters went on short back packing trips on the Appalachian Trail.

When Bill and Liz moved to Sedona she did not join the Westerners immediately; that occurred after she became a golf widow and was not hiking several times a week with here husband. She was reading the Sedona Red Rock News about this club and tried a Sunday Drover hike. Liz has hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon twice but does not consider herself a strong hiker. She enjoys hiking with the less aggressive groups and it is nice to have these groups better represented this coming year as the majority of previous Trail Bosses were in the more aggressive groups.

Liz will bring a nice balance to the club as she has many interests in addition to hiking. She is an avid traveler having been to all 50 states, many of the Canadian provinces, 66 countries and all 7 continents. She also gives a lot of time as a volunteer with the AARP Tax Aide for 11 years in addition to volunteering with the Verde Valley Caregivers. Liz also enjoys knitting as a hobby.

Here’s to our Queen Elizabeth who really loves the Sedona Westerners and you might too. It's not just the hiking, but the camaraderie that has contributed to the long success of the Westerners. Any member is free to choose any hike listed in the Westerners’ schedule at his or her convenience. Different hiking groups are designed to meet the various levels and interests of hikers.

The Westerners always welcome new members! If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website You may also join by attending the next monthly meeting which will be on Thursday, September 10, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Synagogue and Community Center.