Ready to Lead a Hike?

Moderate hikers on a break on the Go John Trail at Cave Creek Regional Park (left to right): DeEtte Faith, Diane Alessi, Tracy Nilsen, Kitch Trost, Scott Downey, and Henry Silberblatt (photo by Warren Wasescha)

Warren Wasescha

Someone once said if we don’t have hike leaders, our club is just a picnic and some monthly meetings. Thankfully, we have a number of dedicated hike leaders who make our hikes happen. But we could always use more to keep the hiking calendar full.

Not sure you’re comfortable leading a hike? It’s simpler than it looks. And we can help get you started. We have several hike leaders more than willing to mentor you in the process and even help co-lead a hike. And once you’ve led a hike, there’s that rewarding feeling of being of  service to others.

The first step in leading a hike is to simply watch a hike leader in action. On your next hike, observe the protocol the club has put in place for all hike leaders to follow. Make note of who’s coming on the hike from the Meetup site. Log those people on the sign-up sheet. Meet the hikers at roundup. Make sure they’ve got the proper equipment, the right amount of water. Hand out directions to the trailhead. Carry the first aid kit with you. Make sure there’s a “sweep” to keep track of hikers on the trail while you lead the group. Make sure everyone makes it safely back to the parking area. Feel proud when everyone thanks you for leading the group.

Not sure what hike to lead? The club has over 400 unique hikes we’ve done on a spreadsheet you can review. Or, more easily, ask your hike coordinator for ideas. Most hikes already have a “write-up” that can be posted on Meetup. Once you have a hike selected, ask a current hike leader to pre-hike the hike with you, mentor you through the process, and even co-lead the hike. They are very willing to help you. It’s really that easy.

If you would like to lead a Mellow hike, start a conversation with Ginny Metz. Prefer Moderate hikes? Ask David Coffman or Scott Downey. Into Motivated or Moderate hikes? Let me know, and I’d be more than glad to help you through the process.

Leading a hike is exceptionally rewarding. You get to know a trail really well. You feel good about volunteering your time. And you get those “high fives” at the end of the trail that can send you home beaming with satisfaction for a job well done.

New to Sun Lakes and like hiking? We’d love to have you join us. We are a friendly, inclusive group of hikers that welcomes all able-bodied hikers. Our goal is to make group hiking fun, challenging, social, and safe.

All upcoming and past hikes, along with information about our club, can be viewed on our Meetup site. Just type “Sun Lakes Hiking Club” into your web browser to locate us. Questions not found on our Meetup site? Please reach out to our president DeEtte Faith at [email protected].

Look forward to hiking with you!