It’s Turning Out to Be a Very Good Hiking Season

Club hikers atop Goldmine Ridge in San Tan Regional Park; pictured (left to right) front row: Stu Frost, Fabiola Scotto, Dawn Kain Bjustrom, and Tom Scotto; back row (left to right): Barb Smith, Scott Downey, David Coffman, Gaary Breitbach, Jack Rubino, and Kitch Trost

Club hikers atop Goldmine Ridge in San Tan Regional Park; pictured (left to right) front row: Stu Frost, Fabiola Scotto, Dawn Kain Bjustrom, and Tom Scotto; back row (left to right): Barb Smith, Scott Downey, David Coffman, Gaary Breitbach, Jack Rubino, and Kitch Trost

Warren Wasescha

Last fall when the club outlined how we would operate in a pandemic world, we all wondered how it would play out, given the decision to suspend picnics and socials and limit hikes to one day a week only. Now, halfway into the hiking season, things seem to be going better than we originally expected.

At the mellow level, the group has hiked every Monday this season, with hikes currently booked out through February, with March and April bookings now filling in, according to Ginny Metz. New hike leaders have stepped up to lead hikes, and new hikers have joined the hikes. The size of hikes has ranged from a low of seven to a high of 25. The group has been able to provide rides for every hiker who needed a ride. Ginny reports the group is very upbeat, with a common theme that the hikers love to get outside again while in the company of other hikers enjoying our lovely wilderness.

At the moderate level, David Coffman reports the group has also hiked every Monday this season. Numbers are similar to last year. Due to the pandemic, however, the group is focusing on hikes closer to home, mostly in South Mountain Park and San Tan Regional Park. Like the mellow hikers, the moderate group is very upbeat about their hikes. It’s been a great year to socialize while seeing unusual sites like Desert Bighorn Sheep, a strategically placed golden slipper, and signs on the trail that say “Hike On” and “Happy New Year 2021.”

At the motivated level, our numbers have been trending higher this year, in part, because we’ve seen several moderate hikers graduate to the motivated level as they’ve seen their strength build and are wanting a greater hiking challenge. And longtime motivated hikers keep on hiking due to their unwavering passion for hiking, despite the pandemic. Safely, of course.

One lament expressed this season has been the lack of a Wednesday moderate hike due to less seasonal folks being here due to the pandemic. The Wednesday moderate hike, the only hiking level offered that day, became a melting pot for all three hiking levels. Strong mellow hikers would step up to the moderate level challenge to get in an extra hike. Motivated hikers who love hikes would downshift to the moderate level to get in an extra hike. The added bonus was being able to socialize with all levels of the club, something that is missed this year. It’s why some motivated hikers have occasionally shifted to a moderate Monday hike just to see old friends and catch up.

Love hiking? Come join our group. We are a friendly, inclusive group that welcomes all able-bodied hiking enthusiasts!

Check out our meetup site by typing Sun Lakes Hiking Club in your web browser to view the latest descriptions and times of our hikes. We hike every Monday through April.

Interested in getting more information about our club? Please contact our club president DeEtte Faith at [email protected]