Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 26, 2010

Drovers Enjoy Wildflowers, Fall Colors and Soaring Birds on Huckaby Windows Hike

 


by Maureen Mathieu

It was a sunny and warm November Sunday afternoon as the Drovers hiking group met at the Posse Grounds before setting out on the hike of the day. There was a buss of excitement in the air, as the Drovers would be hiking a new trail called the Huckaby Windows. The hike would be about four miles with 1000 feet elevation gain.


Frank Will and Perlina McCombs enjoying Huckaby Windows hike. Photo by Cathy Lutz.

The Drovers group of the Sedona Westerners hike on Sunday afternoon’s beginning at 1 p.m. The hikes are usually 3-4 miles long and 3 to 4 hours in length. Generally the hikes are rated as moderate or easy, although in some instances they include steep climbs, rock-scrambles and small ledges. They nearly always have as their objective either interesting view-points or natural features. The pace is adjusted to fit the group.

Since there were about 30 new and old members on the hike, we broke up into three groups. Our leaders on this trek were Bob Dannert, Al Vander Puet and Bob Hudson.

With a 1000 foot elevation gain in about 2 miles, the Drovers knew it would be a challenging hike. The first surprise of the day was the trail started with a downhill section. The second surprise of the day was the number of wildflower in blossom for this late in the year. A warm sunny November day and beautiful wildflowers, what more could the Drovers ask for? They would soon find out.

The trail soon began to climb and the views were incredible. All of the cottonwood and sycamore trees along the Oak Creek were wearing their fall colors and the creek itself was a beautiful blue. There were also Ocatillo cactus along the trail that was full of leaves. Who says the desert is not beautiful in the late fall sunlight?

We continued to climb and were soon nearing our destination. The final climb was steep and included a section of rock scrambling. Many hikers left their hiking poles as they were not very useful on the red rock. The poles would be retrieved on the way back down.

Upon reaching the narrow top of the ridge, the views were incredible, but so were the raging winds. With a front moving in, the gusty winds added yet another memorable experience.

Eight to ten ravens were riding the wind currents and performing acrobatics that make the Drovers wish we were birds. Two of the ravens were flying in unison, climbing high into the sky and then free falling towards the canyon floor. As we enjoyed their antics, Bob Dannert’s famous cookies, and a well deserved rest, everyone agreed it was a fine Sunday afternoon indeed.

It was soon time to start the return trip. Once down off of the ridge, the winds subsided, the sun felt warmer and we no longer had to hang onto our hats. The return hike provided beautiful views of Oak Creek Canyon, Uptown and the red rocks of Sedona.

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 a monthly meeting, our next one will be on Thursday, January 13, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.