Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

February 5, 2010

Bell and Weir Trails


by Mickey Gershtenson

Hikers waiting to cross Wet Beaver Creek. Photo by Mickey Gershtenson.

On Sunday, January 17, the day that turned out to be the calm before the storm, the Drovers group of the Sedona Westerners spent the afternoon along the Bell Trail and down to the Weir and back. The group was split into two and Mickey Gershtenson and Kevin O’Connor (who is also the Drovers Boss) were the designated hike leaders with Len Lewis and Hadji Hadji-Agha as the tailgaters.

The Drovers meet on Sunday afternoons and there is not a specific agenda that they follow. One week it might be a laid-back hike, another time it might be one like the Bell and Weir Trails, and a third time it could be a difficult hike. What differentiated this hike was the amount of horse manure that was on the trail and although there are times that some of the hikers have trouble identifying scat, there was absolutely no problem on this day.

On the trail across from Southwestern Academy there were four equestrians enjoying this glorious day and we also met up with three volunteers from the Friends of the Forest who gave up their Sunday to do trail work; today was maintenance on the Apache Maid trail. The Friends work under the supervision of the Forest Service and this day they were also on horseback.

As the trail paralleled Wet Beaver Creek we were treated to the sound of the creek. The water flow was 6.5 cfs (cubic feet per second) as measured at the Weir. This area has an antenna to send back the information and a solar panel for the power source. The information goes to the Water Quality Watch -- Continuous Real-Time Water Quality of Surface Water in the United States.

The Bell Trail was named for Charles Bell who had his cattle in the area and moved them in the summer along this trail, across the creek, and up the opposite side to the Mogollon Rim and back the other way for the winter. There were clear signs of the cattle as we proceeded. The hikers continued along the Bell Trail and it was obvious that the javelinas had been rooting the plants. This year they were being more aggressive and destroying some of the fibers on the plant roots minimizing the chance for survival of the plants. As we approached the Weir the noise of the water became more intense giving the feeling of a much larger body of water. A weir aka lowhead dam is a small overflow-type dam commonly used to raise the level of a river or stream. The type here is a V-notch weir, a triangular channel section used to measure small discharge values. These are preferred for low discharges as the head above the weir crest is more sensitive to changes in flow compared to rectangular weirs.

After a break and snack in a somewhat isolated and beautiful location the Drovers started back as the sun was getting low. It was a typical hike back with a faster pace, fewer educational stops, and less talking; however, a wonderful afternoon was had by all.

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, February 11th, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley.