Dogies Enjoy Ten Trail Combo Route
On a warm, sunny late November day, the Dogie group of the Sedona Westerners headed off from Sunset Park in West Sedona, on a 10-trail combo route, listed as Carroll Canyon-Table Top and developed by Maureen Rodgers. She led the first group, tailgated by Theresa Frank, and Perlina McCombs, with tailgater Kwi Johnson, followed along with the remaining hikers. Maureen's combo was listed at 6 miles with 400 feet elevation change, fitting the Dogies’ preference for moderation and opportunities to enjoy the scenery.
Our first trail was developed and built by the late Norm Herkenham, "father of Sedona's trails", in the final decade of his long life. Called "Lollipop", it includes signs he fabricated which identify the native plants growing along it. From there, we headed up the Sunset connector trail, to Airport Loop, headed counter-clockwise and ascended to the Table Top trail. Along this trail, we had panoramic views of features along highway 179, including Courthouse and Bell Rocks, and Cathedral. Linda Schermer spotted a blooming flower called Brownfoot (Prezia), which usually blooms in the summer. Abundant and well-spaced rains this fall resulted in a good fall wildflower bloom, and give hopes for a wonderful spring bloom.
Along a scenic social trail, we stopped for a morning break, with great views to the west, including Scheurman Mountain, the Pyramid, House Mountain, and Turkey Creek area features. We then joined the Ridge trail which runs along the eastern rim of Carroll Canyon, and followed it across Chavez Ranch Road (a dirt road at this point) until we could pick up Ramshead trail (if you are counting, we've reached trail number seven). Ramshead was also laid out by Herkenham in conjunction with the Forest Service, as one of the last needed links for the 26 mile series of connecting trails which loop around Sedona. It winds along the east side of Carroll Canyon wash, crosses it, and then joins the Old Post trail. We passed by the Herkenham trail, and continued on our upward climb to finally join the Carroll Canyon trail.
At a gorgeous rocky overlook of the very scenic, and at this point, deep and steep-sided Carroll Canyon, we stopped for lunch. Below we could see water standing in the canyon. Carroll Canyon drains most of west Sedona, between the Soldier Pass drainage on the east and the Dry Creek drainage to the west, and eventually empties into Oak Creek just downstream from Red Rock Crossing. One of the hikers today was Jean Kindig, whose book, "Sedona Area Places & Names" (widely available locally), is a very reliable resource. In it she notes "Carroll Canyon is named for Thomas Carroll who moved to the Red Rock Loop Road area in ca. 1879."
After a relaxing lunch, with temperatures in the 70s, we headed downhill, crossing the Carroll Canyon wash numerous times, as it snakes around the area below Airport Mesa, eventually rejoining the Ridge trail. From there, we picked up the Bandit trail (number ten!) and closed out our figure-eight loop by rejoining a portion of the Airport Loop trail, Sunset trail, and the last round of the Lollipop, arriving at our cars in Sunset Park around 2 p.m. What a great day, close in to town, but with a remote feeling!
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website, www.sedonawesterners.org., for membership information. You may also join at one of our monthly meetings. Our next one will Thursday, Jan.12, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.