Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

September 14, 2012

The Sedona Westerners Start a New Season with a New Trail Boss


by Angela Loscalzo

With summer almost over, one can almost hear those die-hard surfers yelling “SURFS UP” one last time! Hey, but we are in the desert and the end of summer means something different if you are a Sedona Westerner…“HIKES UP!!” September marks the beginning not the end of the hiking season for the Westerners. The treks begin all over Red Rock country and beyond and offer something for every one. Beginning this season the Westerners have a new Trail Boss, Mike Holmes.

So what exactly does a trail boss do? One may think they only lead hikes and have fun! While that may be true, in reality the Trail Boss (Club President) presides over all Club activities, maintains relationships with other agencies or organizations and prepares the agendas for monthly meetings. It is a time consuming commitment and strictly a volunteer position. Last year Walter Krywucki headed up the Westerners and will now assume the role of Assistant Trail Boss, backing up Mike Holmes and providing guidance to the Club.

Mike Holmes, far left, leads a group through Dark Canyon in Utah in May. Holmes organized this trip and as you can see a little rain does not stop these intrepid hikers. Holmes is the new trail boss, or club president, of the Sedona Westerners hiking group. Photo by Al Vander Peut.

Mike Holmes is certainly no stranger to the outdoors or afraid of responsibility. Born in Illinois and raised in Arlington Texas, Holmes is a self proclaimed Texan. He has been hiking just about his whole life and it all started with a camping trip back in 1972 with his Dad in the High Uinta Mountains in Utah. One year later he moved to Utah and began hiking and backpacking throughout Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. He received his Karate Black Belt at Texas Karate institute from world champion Alan Steen and went on to open his own studio, instructing evening classes and allowing him to hike every day of the week. Holmes competed nationally in tournaments and ranked in the top 10 karate competitors in the Intermountain West. During his time in Utah, Mike also became an accomplished dirt bike racer. In 1982 he moved to California and went on to racing sports cars and has competed continuously since then. In-between all of this, he managed to complete his collage degree from University of Phoenix. He managed equipment maintenance and engineering groups for the 26 years he worked at National Semiconductor and completed his career as Manager of Engineering at Honeywell Electronic Materials.

Holmes states “During this time I was also head of the emergency response team for 3 of Honeywell’s manufacturing sites in the San Francisco Bay area. I backpacked in Utah 2 or 3 times a year and on weekends I hiked the trails and parks in the San Francisco Bay area. I taught performance driving for several of the car clubs during the time that I was living and working in the San Francisco Bay area with the students driving their own car at speed on a race track. Usually fun, sometimes scary!” With as busy as Mike was he somehow found time to get married. He and his wife Liz and their 2 dogs retired in Sedona in 2006, which Mike states is his “favorite part of the country! “ He joined the Sedona Westerners shortly after his arrival.

So you may be asking your self “ Is there anything this guy didn’t do?” Yes! He was never Trail Boss for the Westerners until now! Since 2006 he has led just about every hiking group within the Westerners and so it is only fitting that he now is crowned Trail Boss. As a Westerner myself, I’d follow this guy anywhere and know I’m getting home safely! Why don’t you try following him too?

The Westerners always welcome new members! If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website You may also join by attending any monthly meeting, which is the second Thursday of every month beginning at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Synagogue and Community Center of Meadow Lark Road.