The Westerner Way
May 15, 2015
by Curt Kommer
Three hikers walk into a bar. (apologies to Westerner members who have heard this joke)
The Bartender asks, "What would you like?" The first hiker answers, "I'd like a beer." Second hiker says, "I'd also like a beer." The third hiker ponders for a moment, then answers, "I'd like a hiking club that offers five guided hikes a week, two picnics, one holiday party, educational hikes and expert speakers, more friends than I ever thought possible, and I would like all that for $30 per year." The Bartender looks at him and says, "I can't serve you, Buddy, you already sound delusional."
And yet, thanks to many hard-working volunteers, this is what the Sedona Westerners provide their members every hiking season.
During a season that ranges from September to May the Club manages over 150 hikes by the following groups, rated for distance and elevation:
Tuesdays (Dogies): Moderately challenging hikes
Wednesdays (Trackers): Educational hikes for members of all ability levels
Thursday (Amblers): Easy to Moderate hikes.
Thursday (Mustangs): More challenging hikes.
Saturday (Roughriders): Most challenging hikes.
Sunday (Drovers): Shorter but moderately challenging afternoon hikes.
Obviously the Westerners love to hike, but the Club is so much more than that. Our members leave their egos, their jobs, and their status at the trailhead as they support each other and the community in times of need. The Westerners have had a strong partnership with the Red Rock Ranger District for many years. Sedona boasts 260 miles of trails; trails that the Westerners and over one million visitors per year rely on to transport them to the beauty of our Red Rock country. It is a daunting task to manage and maintain this fragile, unique, and popular trail system. Every day the Westerners try to assist the Ranger District in the following ways:
Through the "Adopt-a-Trail" program the Westerners have taken responsibility for the Little Horse Trail near Chicken Point.
Westerner hikers, as a Club policy, are vigilant in reporting problems such as graffiti, illegal fires and camping, and illegal trail-building. Our members are routinely involved in litter clean-up, trail maintenance, and graffiti removal.
Many Westerner members serve as docents and stewards for local archaeological sites and the Club makes an extraordinary effort to educate our hikers, and visitors, about treating these sites with care and dignity.
Westerners are committed to sharing the trails with other hikers, bikers, runners, and equestrians in a safe and respectful way.
The Club stresses "Leave No Trace" hiking and hiking preparedness, and at every opportunity educates trail users about fragile plants and soils, hydration, sunscreen, and route finding.
Many Westerners are involved in The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, a local effort to raise funding needed to maintain and improve the Sedona-area trails.
For 54 years the Westerners have been a part of this community, and we take pride in being responsible stewards for the natural treasures that make Sedona so special. The Club is fortunate to exist in a place where the extraordinary wilderness that surrounds us is appreciated, supported, and protected by all who live here. Come join us, or access our website to learn more about safe, responsible hiking.
A view of Sedona and its 260 miles of hiking trails.
If you are interested in joining the Sedona Westerners, please go to our website - sedonawesterners.org