Who Are The Sedona Westerners?
Well, the answer is easy: The Sedona Westerners are a local hiking club, very simple.
You might enjoy reading the weekly articles written by members of the SW in the Red Rock News. This is all very interesting, but there is more to it, so let’s starts at the beginning:
The Sedona Westerners originated in 1961 as a social club, which makes the SW one of the oldest continuously active clubs in Sedona. Shortly after, hiking was added as just another social event. And the Westerners took to hiking! In conjunction with the Forest Service they established many hiking trails which are still in use today.
From the earliest days of club activities in the 1960’s, members were encouraged to become guardians of the scenic and cultural treasures of our area. The Sedona Westerners of the present day remain deeply committed to implementing this legacy of “stewardship” which has always been a hallmark of the club.
SW is a completely voluntary association with no paid officers and is established as a non-profit corporation. It expressly avoids actions or activities that might promote controversy or divisiveness, or favor any commercial, political or special-interest group.
In the 1960’s, when hiking was added to the social calendar of the Sedona Westerners, the group hiked once a week. The demand slowly turned in to hiking twice a week and today, the Westerners boast six different hiking groups.
• The AMBLERS
New members often join this group on Thursdays to test their skills before trying more difficult hiking. This group is designed to cover 4-5 miles. They are lead at a leisure pace and last about 5 hours with many stops.
• The DOGIES
The Dogies hike every Tuesday and are significantly more challenging and variable than the Amblers. Their hikes last 6 hours or so and cover anywhere between 5-8 miles, rated from moderate to difficult. The pace, while faster than the Amblers, is designed to be comfortable for reasonably conditioned members.
• The DROVERS
The Drovers hike every Sunday afternoon between 3-5 miles with ratings from easy to moderate, sometimes difficult, which can include steep climbs, rock-scrambling and small ledges. The pace is adjusted to the group.
• The MUSTANGS
Every Thursday, the Mustangs offer more physically challenging hikes, varying in their degree of difficulty; the distance will be 7-9 miles and will often have an elevation change of 1000-2000 feet, sometimes more.
• The ROUGH RIDERS
These hikes, offered every Saturday, are mostly more difficult and challenging for the more conditioned and advanced hikers. Their distance can be in the 8-10 miles range, faster pace and fewer stops. Significant elevation change, rock scrambling and ledge walking are featured in most of their hikes.
• The TRACKERS
The Trackers are special interest hikes held on selective Wednesdays and are designed to include archeology, botany, geology and photography. The Tracker hikes could be described as field trips.
In keeping with Westerners tradition, the President is referred to as “Trail Boss” and the Vice President is the “Wagon Boss”. The person in charge of the membership is the “Prospector” and it is through the Prospector that new members fill out necessary papers, pay their dues, obtain their name tag and join the club.
In 1999 the Westerners established a website for the club “sedonawesterners.org”. There one can find many more important facts. The hiking schedule for the entire season is listed for the different groups before mentioned, including their ratings, destinations and other important details.
The first rule of the Sedona Westerners is to wear lugged soled hiking boots/shoes (for safety reasons) and to bring plenty of water and snacks. This way one will be guaranteed to enjoy hiking with the Sedona Westerners in our magnificent Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon Red Rock Country.
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, March 6, 2014 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.