Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

January 9, 2015

Soldiers Pass Trail Delivers Awesome Views

 


by Mike Holmes

This time of year The Sedona Westerners see the ranks of the hiking groups grow as many of the members return from summers spent elsewhere. It is nice to see friends that have just returned to the area and to welcome new members to the club.

On the 25th of October, our club president, Curt Kommer, and Linda Archer led an eager group of hikers on an 8 mile hike that followed interconnecting trails starting at the Soldier’s Pass trailhead.


The Westerners have a large base of hikes to draw from and this allows for variety each year. Some hikes are so popular the club members encourage these hikes to be included in the schedule. The hike over Soldier’s Pass is one of the more popular hikes and as expected there was an excellent turnout. This hike has wonderful views, great places for lunch and breaks on the slickrock, and, of course, the fun of spending a pleasant day with friends new and old.

Once the formalities of introducing the new members and reviewing the plan for the day and rules for the hike, the group organized themselves at the trail head. When hiking in wilderness areas the club always hikes in small groups as a courtesy to others and helping to maintain a wilderness experience. With such a good turnout for this hike the hikers broke up into a couple of small groups.

As usual for the Roughriders, as the Saturday hikers are called, Curt and Linda set out at strong pace with their groups. Once the group had hiked beyond the sign identifying the wilderness boundary, we were pleasantly surprised to encounter only a few hikers for the remainder of the day. The few people the group encountered seemed to be enjoying themselves as well and we were greeted at least once with “You must be The Westerners”.

Some days it is just about the hike, but on this day the club historian, Gini O’Brien, was along and the group took advantage of her knowledge to learn about the area. Gini took time to describe features along the trail and tells us some of the history of Soldier’s Pass.

The trail begins with only moderate elevation gain and gets steeper as you attain Brin’s Mesa. The farther you hike up the trail the views of Brin’s Ridge and Lost Wilson become more expansive.

The first break came along a nice section of slickrock and Curt succumbed to the good natured kidding that we were hungry. This spot provided a chance to catch our breath, have a snack and enjoy the views back along the Soldier’s Pass Trail.

For the middle part of the day’s hike the leaders led their groups to another wonderful vantage point where there was enough time for a leisurely lunch. Once lunch was over the group took off with renewed energy for that last push to the end of the hike.

After a hike like this it is easy to see why the membership of The Westerners continues to grow. A wonderful day with a fun group is hard to pass up.

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, February 12, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.