Number of good times on the trail: countless

Members of the Sun Lakes Hiking Club take a break!

Members of the Sun Lakes Hiking Club take a break!

Roberta Arpan

The numbers are in reflecting the accomplishments of the Sun Lakes Hiking Club during the 2014-2015 season. Between the months of November and April, the club sanctioned 24 Monday hikes, 24 Wednesday hikes and 21 Retread hikes. The average number of members per hike: Wednesday hikes led with 25; Retread hikes were close behind with 22 and there were usually about 10 hikers on Monday. The Dixie Mine Trail led by Jerry and Paulette Zeuhlke proved to be the most popular hike of the season with 43 hikers participating.

In addition to the regularly scheduled monthly hikes, the club sponsored numerous other outings. On December 24 club members met for the three to five mile Oakwood Walk followed by a potluck holiday brunch. A week later, on the last day of 2014, the club sponsored the Rugged Ridge Resolution Rock Ramble (R5). The R5 is so named because hikers chose either a four mile or a seven mile rugged, rocky trail in South Mountain Park and were then given the opportunity to write their New Year’s resolution(s) on a piece of paper and pass it through a hole in the rocks. The third added hike was the fifth annual South Mountain Trek. Again, hikers made a choice of three hikes ranging from five miles to over 15 miles. And, in March 59 club members and friends traveled to Sedona and Flagstaff for the ever-popular 10th annual Special Hike. Three hiking options were given daily to fit the level of difficulty desired by each hiker.

Out of the 187 members in the Sun Lakes Hiking Club, 143 actively participated by hiking. The following nine dedicated trekkers completed 20 or more of the regularly scheduled monthly hikes: Marilyn Harkins (30), Ron Konopka and Marge Mogelnicki (25 each), Dick Giachino, Greg Jewell and Mike Josephson (23 each), Ginny Metz (22), Steve Jasnic (21) and Brian Hill (20).

Numbers also show that the SLHC is growing fast. The official membership roster boasts 32 more members this year and the number of all hikers hitting the trails, including guests, increased from 155 to 190.

The SLHC does more than schedule hikes and hold monthly meetings. The club hosted a picnic on the first Friday in November, a social for members and friends was held in January and the end of the season picnic took place in April. Training for new hike leaders was scheduled several times throughout the year.

When hiking in the summer heat, start early and consider hikes at a higher altitude on trails that provide shade. Be well hydrated before starting the hike; carry at least two quarts of water and monitor your supply to insure that you will not run out before returning to the car. A wide brim hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are imperative.

For those wishing to learn more about the SLHC, contact club President Brian Hill at 612-875-1946 or [email protected] You can also visit the club’s website at www.meetup.com/Sun-Lakes-Hiking-Club.