Westerners Enjoy On The Trail Seminars for Safe Hiking

December 17, 2021

By Charlie Schudson

This photo shows the beginnings of a well stocked pack. The Westerners have a course that can help fill yours out!

Much more than a walk in the park, Sedona hiking can be dangerous, particularly for tourists and others unfamiliar with southwestern conditions.  Even “easy” day-hikes raise questions about boots, poles, water, routes, darkness, first aid and other subjects, some specific to the special challenges of red rock country.  And some answers are surprising, even counter-intuitive.  

The Westerners, Sedona’s premiere hiking club now celebrating its sixty-first year, is here to help.  On every one of its hundreds of hikes, Westerners leaders encourage best practices.  And back by popular demand this season, the Westerners “Trackers” group offers on-the-trail seminars to enhance comfort and skills for safety.       

The Trackers course consists of three outings, each about four hours – “Hiking Basics 101,” “Advanced Hiking Basics,” and “What’s In Your Pack?”.  Each outing consists of a beautiful hike to a hidden “classroom” for the on-the-trail seminar.  The three outings, offered in November-December, and repeated in January, are limited to eight participants.

The hiking seminars are presented by long-time Westerners member Charlie Schudson, a Sedona hiker for twenty-nine years, and an eight year veteran of Verde Search and Rescue.  The seminars include boots-on training, mini-lectures, Q&A, and accounts of two you-never-know-what-you-might-meet-on-a-hike rescues – one of a young child, wandering alone off-trail in Sedona; the other of an adult, bleeding heavily after a fall in Ventana Canyon near Tucson.  

Our hikers learn to realistically self-assess their experience, ability, physical condition and endurance.  They learn how to select boots and essential equipment; how to choose trails not only for themselves, but for friends, children and grandchildren who may accompany them.  They learn what light-weight, inexpensive items to always carry … just in case.  

They learn the importance of hiking poles and how to use them.  And they learn about hiking nutrition, and hydration!

All hikers are responsible for comfort and safety – for themselves and their families.  All hikers must use caution.  Ultimately, all hikers must determine their own best practices.  But essential fundamentals – many of them unknown, and some surprising – can be learned.  The Westerners and their Tracker seminars are here to help make sensational Sedona hiking as safe as possible. 

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