Westerners hike and party, all in one day

December 25, 2015

Curt Kommer
by Curt Kommer

"The Holidays drape us in magic." - Toni Sorenson

Hiking the trails around Sedona is always a magical experience, but never more so than this time of year. The weather is cooler, the light spectacular, and the trails seem filled with friendly, happy people - a perfect time to be a Sedona Westerner.

On a recent Thursday, in the spirit of the season, the Club managed to combine two of its passions, hiking and good-fellowship. During the day Club members participated in hikes on the Teacup Trail, the Long Canyon Trail, and the trails around Courthouse Butte. Later that afternoon those lucky hikers and the rest of the Club gathered at the Sedona Elks Lodge for the annual Westerner Holiday Party. This event has been a Westerner tradition for over 50 years and in its earliest versions involved Westerner-guided horse and wagon tours and square-dances for Holiday visitors.

Have the Red Rock Rangers been Naughty or Nice only Santa knows.

While no animals were involved in this year's party, host and Club President (Trail Boss) Mary McCaffrey treated members to an evening filled with good food and imaginative entertainment.

The Westerners thrive because of volunteers. Each Club Hike takes planning and responsibility, and as there are over 170 Westerner hikes each season this can be hard work. Mary made it a point to acknowledge and honor the people that plan all year for these many hikes – the hike bosses; Tom Blecha, Tom Yager, Cathy Lutz, Helen Ducharme, Velma Keller-Henry, Chris Greene, and Jeff Brumbaug. It is due to their efforts and preparation that Westerner hikes can seem so fun and stress-free.

Once the official business had been completed the entertainment began, and ranged from a "Bollywood" dance number to hotly-contested games of Dreidel at each table. Singing and music then followed guided by the voice of Michael McCaffrey accompanied by the piano skills of Louise Gelotte. Chuckwagon Boss Al Abbott was spotted dressed as one of Santa's elves, and Santa suspiciously looked like Westerner Jim O'Brien. A good time was had by all.

The well-known philosopher Kim Kardashian once said: "The Holidays are the BEST! I couldn't imagine being from a small family." Like the Kardashians, the Westerners are a BIG family, and during the Holiday season the Club takes special pleasure in hiking together, supporting each other and our community, and appreciating friends, family, and the beauty of the Red Rocks. Happy Holidays, and enjoy the trails.


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