Finding a New Trail

Stu Frost (left) and Paul Feeney on the hunt for a club-worthy hiking trail in Prescott (photo by Warren Wasescha)

Warren Wasescha

Each year the Sun Lakes Hiking Club offers an extended-stay trip in an area farther away than we normally hike. Last month it was in Prescott. When you aren’t familiar with an area, it’s an opportunity to find unexplored trails that will delight club members. But with unexplored trails can come unexpected surprises.

Earlier this year, Stu Frost, Paul Feeney, and I ventured north to hike unexplored trails for the Prescott trip. The goal was three interesting Moderate level hikes for three days of club hiking. Long story short, we explored two, not three, trails over the course of two days, with plans to hike the third trail the following week.

Why two and not three the initial trip? Ice and snow on the trail were a big reason. Hiking shoes that grip rock like grim death were no match for the ice. Trekking poles were our saving grace. So, we moved a bit slower than hoped. But the beauty of the snow made up for the lost time. Other than the snow, the first hike was fairly uneventful. Everything went as planned. And then there was that second trail near Lynx Lake the next day.

The hike near Lynx Lake started well. A beautiful learning center at the trailhead, complete with first-rate bathrooms. A glorious vista view early on during the hike. But snow meant slow going again, and despite having AllTrails on our phones, we had a few turnarounds and backtrackings. And then on our final leg of the loop back to the parking lot, we encountered a sign that said, “Area beyond this sign closed due to Bald Eagle Nesting. Reopens July 1.” Decisions were needed. Scrap the hike? Make it a longer hike to avoid the nesting area? Find a new path? We ultimately found a new path that kept us at the length we wanted and, in the process, found some great petroglyphs to view. But the goal of a five-mile hike that day expanded to over 10 miles. We were tired, and a decision was made to delay the pre-hike of a third trail until the following week. But we felt good that we had already secured two good hikes for our Club Special Hike.

Thinking about joining the Sun Lakes Hiking Club to discover the fun of hiking? We’d love to have you be part of our club. We are a friendly, inclusive group of hikers who welcome all able-bodied hikers. Our goal is to make group hiking fun, challenging, social, and safe.

All upcoming and past hikes, along with information about our club, can be viewed on our Meetup site. Just type “Sun Lakes Hiking Club” into your web browser to locate us. Questions not found on our Meetup site? Please reach out to our president Stu Frost at [email protected]

We look forward to hiking with you!