Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

December 30, 2011

Who’s Who and What’s What with the Westerners


by Mickey Gershtensen and Joan Scott

When you hear members of the Sedona Westerners Hiking Club talk about their club you might think they are talking about an old western movie. They use terms like “Prospector,” “Wagon Boss,” and “Tracker.” But this is no movie. These are the titles of their club officers, and the tradition goes back a long time. Members refer to their officers by titles that honor the club’s historical interest in western lore. The whimsical names are reminiscent of the days when cowboys on horseback herded cattle and drove them along many of the very trails club members hike today.

The club runs smoothly due to the commitment at all levels, from Executive officers to the hike “bosses” who coordinate the various hikes at all ability and interest levels, to those who plan social events, maintain relations with the National Forest Service, provide educational programs for members, and much more. The News readers have met some of these folks in previous articles this fall. This season’s line-up includes:

Executive Officers:
Trail Boss (President) – Walter Krywucki
Immediate Past Trail Boss – George Witteman
Wagon Boss (Vice President & Program Chair) – Mike Holmes
Wrangler (Secretary) – Julie Zabilski
Foreman (Treasurer) – Linda Archer
Top Hands (Board of Directors & Executive Committee) 3, 2, and 1-year terms: Louise Gellotte, Olga Olstrom, Gloria Vander Peut

Other Elected and Appointed Officers
Prospector (Membership Chair) – Alan Gore
Chuck Wagon Boss (Food/Refreshment Coord.) – Sandy Krywucki
Ranger (Forest Service Liaison) – Andy Beeler
Lookout (Emergency Assistance Team Coord.) – Andy Beeler
Roundup Boss (Public Relations Chair) – Joan Scott
Old Timer (Historian) – Marion Hadji-Agha
Sunbeam (Counselor & Card Sender) – Laura Beeler
Cliff-Walker (Cultural Resources Education Coord) – Jerry Walters
Point-Rider (Website Consultant) - Jim O’Brien

Hike Leaders & Assistants
Ambler Boss (Thursday Ambler Hikes Coord.) – Sandy Unger; John Mezera
Cactus Dodger (Saturday Rough Rider Hikes Coord.) - Paul Sullivan; Curt Kommer
Dogie Boss (Tuesday Dogie Hikes Coord.) – Cy Elliot; Mickey Gershtensen
Drover Boss (Sunday Drover Hikes Coord.) – Perlina McCombs; John Avery
Mustang Boss (Thursday Mustang Hikes Coord.) – Pam Greene; Cathy Lutz
Tracker (Special Hikes Coord.) – Michael Dalley; Linda Schermer

Hiking Groups
At its beginning fifty years ago, the club held only one hike each week, on Saturday. As many as 50 people would participate. Over the years, the club has evolved to be more mindful of the environment and more accommodating to hiking ability levels and interests. Today, with five hiking groups, hikes vary from slower and moderate/easy, through moderate, to faster and demanding. The schedule, listed on the Westerners website, states the meeting time, destination, distance, elevation change or cumulative change, and difficulty. The group names relate to the original western interests.

Sunday Drover Hikes: These hikes start at 1:30 pm with a near-Sedona destination, are generally moderate, three to five miles in distance and last about three hours.

Tuesday Dogie Hikes: Dogie hikes are moderate, generally five to eight miles in distance and last about five to six hours. The elevation change averages 700’ but can be more!.

Wednesday Tracker Hikes (approximately two per month): These are special interest hikes that include archaeology, botany ethnobotany, geology and photography. Some can be described as field trips; others will include hiking or rock scrambles to a destination.

Thursday Mustang Hikes: Mustang hikes are moderate to difficult, generally seven to nine miles in distance and 700’ to 2400’ elevation change. Hikers are generally on the trail five to six hours.

Thursday Ambler Hikes: These are easy to moderate, slower hikes from two to five miles with an elevation change of 100’ to 450’. This season Ambler boss Sandy Unger has put together a number of new and interesting routes for the Amblers!

Saturday Rough Rider Hikes: Led by veteran hikers who like a fairly fast pace, Rough-Rider hikes are often demanding and difficult. The terrain might include ledges and scrambling and could be more difficult than the elevation change or distance indicates. They are generally from six to twelve miles in distance and can have very significant elevation change.

The Westerners always welcome new members! Check our website for schedules of hikes and social events. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website You may also join when attending the next monthly meeting, on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m., at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Lane, off Hwy. 179.