The Sedona Westerners had a great fall day to hike up Bear Mountain. The group of 19 hikers divided into two groups: the “fast group” led by Brad Bell with Debby Losse tailgaiting and the “fun group” led by Terri Petrescu with Al Abbot tailgaiting. There were lots of foreign visitors on the trails and hikers stopped to welcome them to our beautiful area.
The hike proceeded up many false peaks of the mountain. First a view of Doe Mountain was enjoyed. Higher up a stop was made to overlook Doe Mountain and view Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and the Village of Oak Creek. Even higher were views of Thunder Mountain looking back towards Sedona, Fay Canyon below us, and some great sandstone geology features. Twisted trees reminded the hikers how windy it can be up on the mountain. Luck was on our side as it was a great fall day with sun and a nice breeze to keep us cool.
Finally at the top, the vista included great views of the far away mountains. Looking north, Humphry’s Peak outside of Flagstaff and Bill Williams Mountain outside of Williams were visible in the distance. Looking down the steep mountain the old settlers house at Palatki, built by Charles Willard in the 1920’s, could be seen to the west with views of the Verde Valley beyond. Distance patches of fall wildflowers in bloom made parts of the valley yellow. The top of Bear Mountain became our picnic spot for the day. Sitting on a ledge a much needed rest and lunch was enjoyed. Lunch was capped with a treat of brownies for dessert before heading back down.
While the hike is only 5 miles, there was just over 2100 feet of cumulative elevation gain which resulted in a good cardio workout for all involved. Wildflowers were enjoyed along the hike thanks to our active monsoon season this summer.
The group took our time coming down and continued to enjoy the camaraderie. There was a lot more talking on the way down than on the way up! Cameras came out and the pictures taken of the scenery and fellow hikers will be used to remember the hike later.
None of the hikers knew how Bear Mountain was given its name. Was there a population of bears living here in earlier days? Is it because the hike is such a bear to do if you’re out of shape?
To do the hike on your own, bring plenty of water and a hat as this is a hike with little shade. If you enjoy the company of others, Sedona Westerners always welcomes new members and hiking groups for many different levels of hikers.
If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at http://sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110, located just off Airport Road.