Make 2017 the year to explore with the Sun Lakes Hiking Club

New hikers and veterans enjoying a recent orientation hike.

New hikers and veterans enjoying a recent orientation hike.

Judith Kuse

With the onset of a New Year, it’s traditional to make resolutions. For many, those often include a recommitment to making time for more exercise or for exploring a new interest. If either of these is on your list for 2017, consider yourself invited to take a look at the Sun Lakes Hiking Club (SLHC) and all it has to offer. Not only will you find that you are moving more as you participate in one or more of the four (or more) weekly hikes, you will also meet new people and experience our desert surroundings from a different perspective.

If you haven’t hiked much before or if you’re unsure about hiking in the desert, the SLHC has an answer for you, an orientation hike. The next orientation hike will be held on January 26. Those who wish to participate will meet at the Cottonwood parking lot at 7:45 a.m. to carpool to a trailhead at South Mountain. The purpose of this four-mile hike is to have a fun, safe, group experience while learning about the SLHC’s guidelines and policies, as well as to get some desert hiking tips from the hike leaders.

For your added consideration, here is a list of the rest of the January hikes. A more complete description of the hikes and updated information can be found at the club’s website at

Monday Hikes

January 2 – (Mellow) Lost Dog Wash Trail and Ringtail Trail Loop. Leader Vicki Deken 480-688-1771.

(Moderate) Brown’s Ranch at McDowell Sonoran Preserve North. Leader Greg Jewell 480-282-0061.

(Motivated) White Tank Mountain Trails. Leaders Dena and Gary Brinkman 480-600-3361/480-206-7427.

January 9 – (Mellow) Dutchman’s Trail to Parker Pass, Superstition Mountains. Leaders Dick and Linda Metz 480-339-0313.

(Moderate) Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake. Leader Jerry Anderson 480-947-9605.

(Motivated) Tom’s Thumb in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Leader Mei-Mei Ahlskog 480-883-2013.

January 16 – (Mellow) Scenic Trail, McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Leader Bonnie Tasch 480-802-2836.

(Moderate) Salt River and Coon Bluff Loop, Tonto Nat’l Forest near Mesa. Leaders Steve and Mary Martz 317-750-0663.

(Motivated) Morgan City, Beardsley, Maricopa Loop, Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Leader Bud Tasch 480-802-2836.

January 23 – (Mellow) Marcus Landslide Trail, Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve. Leader Jim Reid 480-639-1325.

(Moderate) Tortilla Flats in the Superstition Wilderness. Leader Chris Vipond 612-998-3773.

(Motivated) Weaver’s Needle Loop, Superstition Mountains. Leader Marilyn Harkins 480-883-7173. Note: EARLY START – Meet at 6:45 a.m. for 7:00 a.m. departure. Contact the leader if you wish to do this hike.

January 30 – (Mellow) Christiansen Trail – Dreamy Draw, Cave Creek Road Section, Phoenix Mountains Preserve – North. Leader Stu Frost 602-332-5676.

(Moderate) Turnbuckle, Granite Falls, and Chuckwalla Trails in Skyline Regional Park. Leaders Al and Ginny Metz 480-895-1868.

(Motivated) Siphon Draw, Superstition Mountains, with option to continue up to the Flatiron. Leader Brian Hill 480-802-1050.

Wednesday Hikes

January 4 – (Moderate) Goat Hill via Telegraph Pass, South Mountain Regional Park. Leader Mike Foerster 480-802-0905.

January 11 – (Moderate) North Mountain and Shaw Butte, Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Leader Stu Frost 602-332-5676.

January 18 – (Moderate) Metate, Tortuga, Spur Cross Trail Loop at Spur Cross Ranch. Leader Jim Reid 480-639-1325.

January 25 – (Moderate) San Tan and Dynamite Trails, Goldmine Trailhead, San Tan Mountain Regional Park. Leaders Dick and Linda Metz 480-339-0313.

Treasurer Mike Foerster would like to remind club members that dues for the 2017 calendar year are $10/member. New member dues are $15/member. Dues can be paid to the Treasurer at monthly club meetings or club social events and must be paid no later than February 28.

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