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Bear Mountain Trail #54
March 4, 2000
by Jeannie Van Lew
Dave, Adrienne, Tom, Jeannie, Darleen, Doris, Yu-Ling

Due to miscommunication, the hike leader for this hike did not go; however, six adventurous Hiking Club members met at the Bear Mountain Trailhead and began a day of hiking in the beautiful Sedona area. According to one Sedona area trail book, Bear Mountain was probably named for bear sightings in or around nearby canyons by its base. The book continued to state that the plateaus and slopes of the upper portions of the mountain are sun baked and without any reliable sources of water so they are unlikely residences for bears. However, we believe we spotted some bear scat on the path all the way up the trial. We learned that the bears hibernate for a couple months during the winter, so it’s unlikely to find any bear signs until after their spring awakening. So with our warmer winter and spring like weather, we wondered if the bears were indeed up and about.

We began the hike with Darleen Lindquist and Doris Madueno in the lead, followed by Yu-Ling and Dave Langford and Tom, Adrienne and Jeannie Van Lew with their dogs Sandy and Maggie bringing up the rear. We soon discovered we had missed a turn off on the trail because the trail we were on slowly petered out as we wandered across a meadow laced with yucca and juniper. Tom and Dave returned to the trailhead and got us back on course.

It’s a big climb getting up there.

We then began up a set of switchbacks across an exposed mountain face as we followed the cairns left by previous hikers. The weather was cool, but the occasional breeze was a welcomed relief. We climbed to the first of several plateaus and stopped to appreciate the fine views of Boynton Pass and Capitol Butte in the Distance. We climbed higher and were rewarded with spectacular views of the Courthouse Butte area, Mingus Mountains. We kept looking for the trail to take us higher but we found one that took us along a ridge that seemed like it may take you completely around the mountain. We stopped for lunch with the red rock of Sedona providing the ambience and the hawks soaring on the thermals above our heads provided entertainment for the dogs.

What a spectacular view from Bear Mountain!

As we returned, Tom discovered a fork in the trail that seemed to go up a crack in the mountain. He and Adrienne, followed by Dave and Yu-Ling, climbed up to the top of a ridge shouting to those of us holding tight at the bottom. We were told the views from up there were even more spectacular. Tom and Adrienne soon came back, as we needed to return to Phoenix shortly. Dave and Yu-Ling eventually did make it to the top of Bear Mountain and reported that it was covered with chaparral and had fine views in all directions.

The trip down found us missing a few turns and backtracking just like the trip up. It was a lovely day for a hike and a picturesque setting in which to hike. Maybe next time, we too can do it right and make it to the top of Bear Mountain.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 31, 2012