Inspiration Point is aptly named

Hikers give a thumbs up salute while standing in front of Tom’s Thumb rock formation.

Hikers give a thumbs up salute while standing in front of Tom’s Thumb rock formation.

Roberta Arpan

On a recent brisk and sunny morning, 26 Sun Lake hikers met for another awesome outdoor experience. Their destination was Inspiration Point in the McDowell Preserve north of Scottsdale.

Some may think desert hiking is all about sinking your boots in sand while looking over a stark grayish sea of small pebbles in search of an oasis. Not so! And Inspiration Point proves this point. The lush, verdant landscape was accented with rock formations in hues of ochre, sienna and mauve. Imagine this scenery even more vibrant in March with the profusion of spring wildflowers!

Inspiration Point was so named because at the end of the trail the following inscription is embedded on a rock, “The heart sees, the eyes touch, the bones feel. Here the centuries gather”. Credit for this poem goes to Arizona’s first poet laureate, Alberto Rios, who was born in Nogales, Mexico in 1952. Hike leaders Joan Porterie and Chris Vipond discussed his work and a brief history of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve when hikers stopped for their lunch break at the high point of the trail.

This 6.7 mile hike has an accumulated elevation gain of 1300 feet and the terrain is rocky with loose gravel. Hikers were extravagant in their praises of Inspiration Point; the only frustration vented was that it is often necessary to watch your footing thereby missing out on the vast panoramic views. Several hikers, new to the club, appreciated the challenge of this workout knowing that it would give them confidence to tackle even more strenuous hikes in the future.

Sixteen hikes are scheduled for March. Carpools meet at the Cottonwood parking lot east of the tennis courts at 6:45 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. departure. Please note this new start time. Also, be sure to check the club’s website at http://www.meetup.com/Sun-Lakes-Hiking-Club for more complete and up to date information.

Monday Advanced Hikes:

March 7 – Black Mesa Loop in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Barb Smith; 970-241-0838.

March 14 – Siphon Draw and Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Brian Hill; 802-1050.

March 21 – Mormon Grove to McFarland Canyon in Mazatzal Mountains. Leader Mike Foerster; 802-0905.

March 28 – Telephone Trail 192 and Six-shooter Trail 197 in the Pinal Mountains. Leader Dick Giachino; 895-5509.

Monday Intermediate Hikes:

March 7 – Lookout Mountain in Phoenix. Leader Stu Frost; 602-332-5676.

March 14 – Goat Hill via Telegraph Pass in South Mountain Park. Leader Mike Foerster; 802-0905.

March 21 – Granite Mountain – Brown’s Ranch Crossover in McDowell Sonoran Preserve North. Leader Dennis Harkins; 883-7173.

March 28 – Hackberry Springs Loop in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Greg Jewell; 282-0061.

Monday Retread Hikes:

March 7 – Pipeline Canyon Trail in Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Leader Bonnie Tasch; 802-2836.

March 14 – Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Leaders Stan and Cindy Krasucki; 207-3683.

March 21 – Urban hike in Tempe. Leaders Al and Ginny Metz; 895-1868. Note: The meeting time will be 7:45 a.m.

March 28 – Loop Hike in Casa Grande Mountain Park. Leader Ron Konopka; 313-402-8462.

Wednesday Intermediate Hikes

March 2 – Bell Trail near Sedona. Leader Greg Jewell; 282-0061.

March 9 – Sunrise Mountain in McDowell Sonoran Mountain Preserve. Leaders Joan Porterie; 360-904-9049 and Marilyn Harkins; 883-7173.

March 16 – Goldmine Trail in San Tan Mountain Regional Park. Leaders Scott and Linda Metz; 339-0313.

March 23 – Marcus Landslide in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Leader Jim Reid; 416-440-0557.

March 30 – Pinnacle Peak in North Scottsdale. Leaders Liz Morque; 612-201-4213 and Marge Mogelnicki; 810-599-5430.

In addition to the above-mentioned hikes, the SLHC has also arranged a special event on March 5; 15 club members will hike to the Upper Ruins at Tonto National Monument, which looks down on Lake Roosevelt. This 40-room cliff dwelling is only accessible with a guide.

The next SLHC meeting will be held on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Room at Cottonwood.

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