Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

January 15, 2010

Dogies Hike Includes Three Landmarks

 


by Maureen Mathieu

n a cold January 5th morning, a group of Sedona Westerners met at the Posse Grounds to conquer three Sedona landmarks. This was the first Dogie hike of the New Year and the new decade. This hike would prove to be a great beginning for the 2010 season.

This hike would take us to the top of Little Sugar Loaf, Lizard Head and Chimney Rock. Our hike leader, Walter Krywucki, provided an overview of the day. Although each of these landmarks has been climbed in the past, this was the first time all three would be included on the same hike. In addition, Walter would be including some new trails on this hike. We would be covering about 6 miles with a total elevation gain of approximately 2300 feet.

We started out at a fast pace, and were soon climbing steadily up Little Sugarloaf. Many of the long time members of the group were commenting on the new, interesting and challenging route to the top.

Our hard work paid off once we made it to the top. The view was awesome, including snow capped peaks near Jerome. Walter was able to point out the trails we would be taking to both Lizard Head and Chimney Rock. Some of the hikers were able to point out their homes in the area as well.


A landmark of its own. Photo by Alan Gore.

After a short break and clothing adjustment, we headed down Little Sugar Loaf on our way to Lizard Head. As we descended, there were still patches of snow left on the trail from our last snow fall. Some of us wished we had not been so quick to remove one layer of clothing while we were on break.

Once we got to the bottom of Little Sugar Loaf, the trail was clear of snow and in the sun. Soon, we were starting our climb to Lizard Head. At this point, the sun had heated up the air, and we were once again stopping to make additional clothing adjustments. The weather forecast had called for a high of 55 degrees, but it was not yet noon and already that warm.

The trail up Lizard Head was both up and down. We would climb for a while, and then descend again only to climb once more. Walter had warned us the trail had “a lot of up and down sections” and it lived up to its reputation. As we neared the top, the trail became quite steep and narrow and we were back in the shade again. More snow covered the trail which made the climb a little more challenging.

We were all ready for lunch when we got to the top of Lizard Head. Once again we were in the sun and surrounded by the beautiful vistas for which Sedona is so well known.

Lunch break is usually 30 minutes to allow time to eat and take in the view. After eating, Walter asked if anyone was interested in climbing to the top of the next peak to see the canyon it overlooked. Some of the group followed Walter, while the rest of the group continued to relax in the sun. The fifteen minute climb revealed a pretty tree lined canyon that still had snow on the rocks.

We regrouped and started our decent of Lizard Head on our way to Chimney Rock. Most of the trail was in the sun and the temperature was close to 70 degrees. It was hard to believe we were hiking on an early January day, blue sky, warm sun and not a cloud in the sky.

The climb up Chimney Rock was once again challenging, with more snow on the trail in spots. Everyone was glad we were closing in on our third landmark. We took our final break near the top and were glad to hear that the rest of the hike was downhill. Once back in the parking lot, everyone agreed this hike was a great way to start the New Year

The Westerners always welcome new members! If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website www.sedonawesterners.org. You may also join by attending the next monthly meeting which will be on Thursday, February 11th, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley.