What better way to top off one’s Thanksgiving Holiday than a hike? When living in Sedona and being a hiker with the Sedona Westerners - it just comes natural!
On the afternoon of Sunday, December 1st twenty-six Westerners assembled to do just that. The destination was in the crimson cliffs area around Marg’s Draw Trail. The Westerners organized into two groups with Hadji Hadji-Agha leading the first group and Al Abbott as tailgater and Marion Hadji-Agha leading the second group and Liz Sweeney as tailgater. Many of the hikers were unfamiliar with this hike, so it was a true adventure for most. Those familiar with the hike were eager to share the fun experience with the new people. The weather was perfect for this 3 mile, 600 foot elevation hike with temperature around 60 degrees and faint sunshine and slight breeze.
The hikers were serenaded by a juniper titmouse and a spotted towhee as they headed up the trail, scrambling past ocotillo which had a few bright red blooms on top. Their eyes and imaginations were greeted by various sandstone formations the first of which was noted in between two larger pillars of sandstone – the chalice!! After a steep climb of about 600 feet, the hikers were astonished at the great views of Sedona, with Chimney rock and Cockscomb off to the west. A large sloping rock served as a fun scramble to get to another ledge to see an even better view and also another pillar and small window that was hidden from view. Various hiking strategies were used to navigate the large sloping flat rock including the “crab walk” – up on all fours with stomach facing up. The few hikers that attempted this were cheered on by the others and lots of laughter was heard! Snacks of chocolate were shared and devoured….Looking to the southeast, the “submarine” and the “elephant head” formations could be seen. Some hikers’ homes and other landmarks were pointed out in the distance – it was fun to be awarded an aerial view without feet leaving the ground!
After snack break, it was time to head back down. Picking our way carefully down the trail, we lengthened our hiking poles to get good support on the rocks. The first group took a different turn and discovered that, during their detour, the second group had overtaken and gone on ahead!
The first group paused to see a formation called “the howling dog” and also “the thunderbird.” Using creative imagination, if one stares at a rock long enough, cartoon characters, statues, animals, birds, etc. can all be seen in the sedimentary layers.
The beige and golden colors of the dried flowering milkwort and snakeweed added some nice fall color to the hike.
So, all in good fun, the second group of hikers who had “become the first group” made an honorary arch of their hiking sticks for the first group to pass under at the end of the hike. What a Thanksgiving blessing to live in this awesome place called Sedona! Plus 1069 calories were burned on this hike - which helped take care of the calories consumed a few days before - according to one hiker’s tracking statistics!
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 Airport Road.