Westerners Redefine “TBA”
Following three rain-filled days, these Dogies were anxious to get outdoors again for a good hike. It mattered not that the trail would be greasy from the wet weather, or that the temperatures hovered in the mid-40s. The prior several days’ weather was such a factor that on the morning of this hike, February 23, a specific trail had not even been stated on the Westerners’ web page. Instead, it only mentioned “TBA” (wherever and whatever that could describe). However, Dogie Trail Boss Marion Hadji-Agha delightfully surprised all of the hikers with a gem, an unnamed trail that provided a new interpretation to “TBA”- “To Be Awesome.”
Starting near the Bike and Bean in the Village of Oak Creek, the hike followed an assortment of bike trails that generally meandered northward along the east side of Highway 179 and near the base of Seven Sisters. For the most part, this portion of the trail was relatively flat. Yet, views of Bell Rock, Seven Sisters, Cathedral Rock, Rabbit Ears, Courthouse Butte, Baby Bell and the Chapel of the Holy Cross were plentiful and dramatic. The morning coffee break found the hikers perched on a red rock formation facing eastward and enjoying these iconic features of the Sedona area.
And yet, the best was still to come. Shortly following the break, the trail connected with the Templeton Trail for perhaps two nanoseconds. That is when the hike leaders, Gordon Scott and Peter Baetzinger, turned westward, intent on exploring areas that were new to many of the Dogies. A challenging climb followed. Ducks left on the unofficial trails by others provided guidance as the Dogies moved onward and upward, although the trail seemed to have a lot more upward than onward. The hikers knew they were onto something special. These well-conditioned Dogies were huffing and puffing, while enjoying the vistas as they climbed to the summit of a ridge situated southeast of Cathedral Rock and northwest of Seven Sisters. Here was the site of their lunch break. Now facing westward, vistas included Cockscomb, and Scheurman Mountain. A unique north facing view combined Cathedral Rock and Capitol Butte into a single photo frame. How could one not enjoy this spectacular setting for a backpack lunch? And so, most of the luncheon conversation centered on the highlights of the hike.
Following lunch, the return trip to the trailhead moved at a quick pace. There were discussions about extending the outing by climbing towards up Seven Sisters, but scheduled commitments by some hikers ruled out that possibility. The Dogies were back to the starting point by 2:30 p.m.
A total of eight miles were hiked, a distance that is inline with a typical outing for the Dogies. For most hikers, the initial expectations of this day’s adventure included only a chance to enjoy the sunshine and to get outdoors, following the recent rainy weather. At its conclusion, this medium to moderately difficult hike provided so many scenic vistas that it greatly exceeded all expectations.
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, April 8, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley.