Making Smart Choices When Hiking

Mellow hikers enjoying Wild Horse/High Noon Trails in Hawes Sonoran System with Red Mountain on the left. (Photo by Jim Savage)

Mellow hikers enjoying Wild Horse/High Noon Trails in Hawes Sonoran System with Red Mountain on the left. (Photo by Jim Savage)

Warren Wasescha

I stopped my hike early and turned back towards the trailhead the other day. I decided I did not want to make my wife a widow. She was expecting me home for dinner with friends and jokingly said she did not want to go out with them by herself. It was the right decision. The hike itself was breathtaking. A friend and I were going to the top of the Four Peaks in the Superstition Wilderness—to the very top of Brown’s Peak, specifically, the tallest of the four peaks. You approach it from the back side, with views of Roosevelt Reservoir. The views on the way up were incredible. But it was a challenging scramble towards the top and with more than one dicey area. I decided to stop where we reached an eagle’s nest tucked into a cliff wall. If it was high enough for an eagle, I thought, it was high enough for me.

Most hikes in the Valley are not this difficult. But the choice to continue or return is there on every hike you take, no matter how hard or easy the hike is.

There are many things to consider to hike safely. The obvious things to consider include whether you have the right equipment, enough water and good snacks, and if the weather is right. You never want to hike when trails are wet and slippery or when the temperature is too hot. Less obvious, but far more important to consider are your own personal comfort level and abilities. What’s good for one person is not always good for another. Have a fear of heights? Start on more easy trails and work your way up to more challenging ones. Not sure of your conditioning? Same rule. Start on easier trails and advance to more difficult trails slowly, learning what you can tolerate and what’s best left for others. That’s why our club hikes at three different levels. We ask new hikers to start on the easier hikes and advance to more difficult hikes as you learn your abilities. You want to stay safe always. Having dinner with your spouse after a hike is a far better way to end the day than in the emergency room at your local hospital.

Like the idea of hiking socially and safely with other like-minded individuals? You can review all of our club information on our meetup website. Simply type in Sun Lakes Hiking Club into your web browser to be directed to the site. All of our information is there. You can also contact our club President DeEtte Faith at [email protected] to learn more, including summer hiking options with fellow club members.

Our club hiking season runs November through April at three different intensity levels. We are a friendly, inclusive group that welcomes all able-bodied hiking enthusiasts. Come join us!