Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

October 9, 2009

Fay Canyon


by Barbara O'Connor

Relaxing along the Fay Canyon Trail. Pkoto by Kevin O'Connor.

The Drovers started out their first hike of the season on Sunday, September 13th with Fay Canyon and more. The hikers were divided into two hiking groups with Will Gibson and Kevin O’Connor leading the troops. Tailgaters Gloria Vander Peut and Perlina McCombs made sure the troops behaved and didn’t wonder off from the group.

After an exciting week of monsoons that brought flash floods and mud slides to Sedona, they all wondered if they would be the next victims of the unpredictable Sedona weather. The temperature was in the high eighties while the clouds above were building but this didn’t frighten off the experience and not so experienced hikers, so off they went to enjoy a beautiful Sedona Sunday afternoon. The only question was “which way do we go if we run into a flash flood?’ This was quickly answered with “UP, look for higher ground!”

The Drovers hike on Sunday afternoons three to five miles with an interesting view or point of interest. The objective today was to start building back those hiking muscles that had taken a respite during the heat of the summer and to enjoy the views.

Fay Canyon Trail is an easy, short hike (2.4 miles round trip) through a wide canyon with impressive red cliffs and a natural arch. At the end of the trail up a short rock scramble is a spot from which the hikers saw fantastic views of Secret Mountain Wilderness Area. The first group was so intent on the hike that they completely forgot to look for the arch. Since some of the hike requires scrambling though the washes over rocks, it could be said that they were watching their footings. Those fortunate to be hiking with the second group did enjoy viewing the natural arch. There is a trail up to the arch but it is obscure with lots of brush and loose rock.

About one mile into the hike there is a rock slide. Liz Sweeney, current Trail Boss, reported that the slide had occurred about eight years ago and was happy that she had not been hiking, one of her favorite hikes, in Fay Canyon when it happened. The Drovers scrambled over and around the rocks to continue their hike. Many hikers stop at the rock slide assuming this is the end of the trail but the trail continues about 1/4 mile beyond to a sandy area at the back of the canyon.

Upon reaching the back of the canyon, they took a snack break. Kevin O’Connor provided the group with his homemade peanut butter cookies. Kevin was following the tradition of the previous year’s Drover Hike Boss, Clint Gelotte, of providing goodies to the Sunday group. Everyone enjoyed the cookies…look out Bob Dannert, you might have some competition! Bob has been the Cookie King of the Westerners for a few years now.

The rumbling of the skies above convinced the group that is was time to complete their hike. The weather had been most accommodating providing the hikers with some shade from the clouds and a light breeze. All returned from their adventure safe and bit stronger, ready for the next Drover hike.

"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, November 12, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Synagogue and Community Center."