Hmm…what to pack?

Judith Kuse

You’re heading out for a hike in Arizona early on a beautiful April morning. To ensure you can meet most hiking challenges, what should you have with you in your backpack?

According to Stu Frost, a SLHC leader, a well-stocked fanny pack or day pack can go a long way to ensuring your safety on the trail. Here are his recommendations:

Twice as much water as you think you will need. On a typical four-mile hike, carry at least two quarts of water, more if it’s hot outside and/or the hike will be strenuous; a completed emergency information card listing your contact information, medical conditions you have, and any prescription medications you regularly take. You may also choose to put this information on a thumb drive and stow it. The Sun Lakes Fire Department (SLFD) and Community Assistance Program (CAP) offer a medical flash drive program in order to improve the efficiency of medical care received by their patients. By loading a simple flash drive with your medical information and keeping it with you, emergency personnel will have access to it immediately upon responding to a situation. The flash drive is marked to alert SLFD that it contains your medical information. Contact SLFD at 480-895-9343 for further information; some toilet paper in a baggie; an empty plastic baggie (for used toilet paper or trash on the trail), a comb, small needle-nosed pliers and tweezers to remove cholla and other cactus needles from your skin, sunblock, a whistle to alert others if you’re in trouble; you can blow on a whistle for much longer than you can yell and it can be heard from a greater distance away; a small mirror for signaling; a space blanket; a fold-up poncho; a small first aid kit; a flashlight; matches in a waterproof container; chapstick; a few lengths of duct tape; a spare shoelace; an ACE bandage; a folding knife; some trail mix; a warm hat; a compass, and be knowledgeable about how to use it. Don’t rely on your cell phone, as there may be no service where you are; hiking gloves for scrambling over large rocks and a pencil and paper.

Take a few minutes to gather these items together and put them in whatever pack you use when hiking. You’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of hiking, the SLHC’s season officially ends on April 30, and what follows is the remainder of the 2016-2017 schedule. For all hikes, except as noted, meet at the Cottonwood parking lot at 6:45 a.m. to carpool to the trailhead. Those who are new to the club should choose a mellow or moderate hike and must contact the hike leader prior to the hike. A more complete description of the hikes and updated information can be found at the club’s website at

Monday Hikes

April 3 (Mellow) Badger Springs Wash Trail in Agua Fria National Monument. Leader Mike Josephson 248-496-5369.

(Moderate) TBA.

(Motivated) Wild Burro and Alamo Springs in the Tortolitas. Leader Marilyn Harkins 480-883-7173.

April 10 (Mellow) Yetman Trail in Tucson Mountains Park. Leader Tim Donovan 248-535-5285.

(Moderate) TBA.

(Motivated) Hiker’s Choice at South Mountain. Leader Marilyn Harkins 480-883-7173.

April 17 (Mellow) The Taliesen Trail to the Taliesen Overlook in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve South. Leaders Al and Ginny Metz 480-895-1868.

(Moderate) Bell Trail #13 in the Cococino National Forest. Leader Judy Mical 480-883-8686.

(Motivated) Barnhardt Trail in the Mazatal Mountains. Leader Mei-Mei Ahlskog 480-883-2013.

April 24 (Mellow) National Trail to Mormon Loop in South Mountain. Leader Judy Mical 480883-8686.

(Moderate) TBA.

(Motivated) Hangover Trail in Sedona. Leader Marilyn Harkins 480-883-7173.

Wednesday Hikes

April 5 (Moderate) Horton Creek #285 out of Payson. Leader Mike Josephson 248-496-5369.

April 12 (Moderate) Dixie Mine Trail in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Leaders Al and Ginny Metz 480-895-1868.

April 19 (Moderate) TBA.

April 26 (Moderate) TBA.

For more information about the SLHC, visit the club’s website listed above or contact club President Cheryl Verlander at 480-883-2766.