Hike off those extra holiday calories

Sun Lakes hikers taking a water break

Sun Lakes hikers taking a water break

Roberta Arpan

The Sun Lakes Hiking Club is providing a fun and effective way to stay trim during the holiday season. In addition to the 10 regular December hikes, two special hikes have been scheduled to enhance your holiday spirit.

The list of December hikes follows. A full description of each hike can be found on the club’s website at www.meetup.com/Sun-Lakes-Hiking-Club. New hikers are asked to contact the hike leader before planning any specific hike. It is advisable for all new hikers to start with a Wednesday or Retread hike. Except where otherwise noted, carpools for the hikes meet in the Cottonwood Country Club parking lot east of the tennis courts at 7:45 a.m.

Monday Hikes:

12/1. – Retreads: Lost Goldmine Trail in the Superstitions, rated C, five miles, accumulated elevation gain 250 feet, driving distance 85 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $6. Leaders: Al and Ginny Metz 895-1868.

12/1. – Yetman Trail in Tucson Mountain Park, rated B, eight miles, trailhead elevation 2,750 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1,000 feet, driving distance 190 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $12. Leader: Bud Tasch 802-2836.

12/8. – Retreads: Hedgehog Trail, SanTan Trail and Moonlight Trail in San Tan Regional Park, rated C, 4.4 miles (with option of only 2.2 miles), accumulated elevation gain 500 feet, driving distance 38 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $3 plus share of park entrance fee, optional lunch at San Tan Flats after the hike. Leader: Bonnie Tasch 802-2836.

12/8. – Lousley Hill Trail and Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, rated B, 8.5 miles, trailhead elevation 1,875 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1,150 feet, driving distance 85 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $6 plus share of park entrance fee. Leaders: Mary/Steve Martz 317-750-0253.

12/15. – Retreads: Balance Rock in McDowell Sonoran Preserve, rated C, four miles, minimal elevation gain, driving distance 110 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $6. Leader: Mike Josephson 248-496-5369.

12/15. – Cave Creek No. 4, Cottonwood No. 247and Skunk Tank No. 246 in Tonto National Forest, rated B, 9.2 miles, trailhead elevation 4,066 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1,800 feet, driving distance 170 miles r/t, carpool contribution $11 plus share of park entrance fee. There are some narrow and thorny areas and loose rocks on the trail so wear long pants. Enjoy exciting creek crossings and sweeping vista views. Leader: Dick Giachino 895-5509. Note: Meet at 6:45 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. departure.

12/22. – Tom’s Thumb/East End Loop from Gateway in the Scottsdale McDowell Mountains, rated B plus, 11 miles, trailhead elevation 1,720 feet, accumulated elevation gain 3,100 feet, driving distance 70 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $5. Leader: Brian Hill 802-1050.

12/22. – Retreads: Join us on the special hike on December 24 walking the Oakwood Paths followed by the holiday brunch.

12/29. – Lost Mine/Goat Hill in South Mountain Park, rated B plus, 8.1 miles, trailhead elevation 1,250 feet, accumulated elevation gain 2,040 feet, driving distance 44 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $5. Leader: Cheryl Verlander 883-2766.

Wednesday Hikes:

12/3. – Boulder Canyon in the Superstition Mountains, rated C plus, five miles, trailhead elevation 1900 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1400 feet, driving distance 110 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $7. Leader: Marilyn Harkins 883-7173.

12/10. – Bursera and Gila Trails in South Mountain Park, rated C plus, six miles, trailhead elevation 1259 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1134 feet, driving distance 36 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $2. Leader: Deb Greenwood 917-313-0031.

12/17. – Dynamite Loop, SanTan Regional Park, rated C plus, 6.4 miles, trailhead elevation 1570 feet, accumulated elevation gain 1100 feet, driving distance 38 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $3 plus share of park entrance fee. Leader: Marilyn Harkins 883-7173.

12/24. – Special Hike: Oakwood walk and holiday brunch. Carpool from Cottonwood to a home in Oakwood; walk three to five miles on paved walking paths and neighborhood streets. Wear comfortable walking shoes and leave your backpack at home! Following this walk enjoy an optional potluck Christmas brunch; coffee and juice will be provided. Leaders: Dennis Harkins 883-7173 and Mike Josephson 248-496-5369.

12/31. – Special Hike: Celebrate New Year’s Eve by hiking the Rugged Ridge Resolution Rock Ramble (R5) in South Mountain Park. Trailhead elevation 1390 feet, driving distance 50 miles roundtrip, carpool contribution $3. Option 1: R5 lite rated C plus, four miles, accumulated elevation gain 580. Option 2: R5 regular rated B, up to seven miles, accumulated elevation gain up to 1500 feet. Leaders: Marilyn/Dennis Harkins 883-7173.

Michael Kenny offers the hiking tip for December: When starting down a steep decline, make certain your boots are laced comfortably tight. Added movement in your boots can cause sore feet, as well as blisters.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the December meeting on Friday, December 5 at 3:45 p.m. in the Phoenix Room at Cottonwood.

For more information about the SLHC, contact Brian Hill at 802-1050 or e-mail [email protected] You may also visit the club’s website at the address  given above.