Sun Lakes Hiking Club expands hiking options

Hike Leader Vicki Deken talks about the life of an early pioneer buried along the trail.

Hike Leader Vicki Deken talks about the life of an early pioneer buried along the trail.

Roberta Arpan

Spring is in the air and the popularity of hiking among Sun Lakers continues to blossom! The Sun Lakes Hiking Club has now found it necessary to schedule several additional hikes each month to accommodate the number of residents who want to take to the trails. Club members (and “wanna be” members) have a choice of 21 different hikes during the month of February.

Hiking in February is nothing short of fabulous! The days are longer, signs of spring are emerging and venomous reptiles are still hibernating (usually). While temperatures are generally on the mild side, spring weather can be surprisingly volatile so layering your hiking attire is even more important. A “hiking buff,” commonly sold in outdoor stores, is a tubular cotton piece that can add warmth to your neck, ears and head. It is lightweight and can easily fit into your pocket or backpack. Also, a lightweight or disposal poncho can give you extra protection in case of a sudden rainstorm.

Did you know that the first item in The Week’s list of “seven things that are good for you” is nature walking? Quoting from the December 25, 2015 issue of this magazine, ”Nature walks can make you healthier and happier by driving out obsessive negative thoughts. A Stanford University study found that strolling in a natural setting decreases activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region particularly active during rumination.” (Remember this fun fact for happy hour conversation). Another study cited in the same magazine found that when fourth-graders had greater exposure to nature, they were more attentive and experienced a five percent increase in working memory – a very good reason to have the grandchildren join you!

A list of hikes follows. For a more complete description and up-to-date information, please visit the club’s website at http://www.meetup.com/Sun-Lakes-Hiking-Club. Carpools meet at the Cottonwood parking lot east of the tennis courts at 7:45 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. departure. If you have not previously hiked with the club, you must contact the hike leader before the day of the hike.

Monday Advanced Hikes:

February 1 – Ballantine Trail in Tonto National Forest. Leaders Scott and Vivienne Torgeson, 503-334-5624.

February 8 – Carney Springs, Robber’s Roost and Peralta Trails in the Superstition Mountains. Leader MeiMei Ahlskog, 647-360-5985.

February 15 – Second Water/Boulder Canyon Crossover in the Superstition Mountains. Leaders Barb Smith, 970-241-0838 and Joyce Frerichs, 217-440-6588.

February 22 – Weavers Needle Loop in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Marilyn Harkins, 206-200-9696.

February 29 – Haunted Canyon in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Marilyn Harkins, 206-200-9696.

Monday Intermediate Hikes:

February 1 – Hackberry Springs Loop in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Greg Jewell, 282-0061.

February 8 – Parker Pass in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Greg Jewell, 282-0061.

February 15 – Butterfield/Gadsden Loop in Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Leader Greg Jewell, 282-0061.

February 22 – Granite Mountain Loop in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Leader Dennis Harkins, 883-7173.

February 29 – Arizona Trail North/Picket Post in Tonto National Forest. Leader Greg Jewell, 282-0061.

Monday Basic Hikes (Retread):

February 1 – Pipeline Canyon trail in Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Leader Bonnie Tasch, 802-2836.

February 8 – Black Hill, Turpentine, 136th Street Express and Monument trails loop in the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve North. Leaders Dick and Linda Metz, 339-0313.

February 15 – Pima Canyon loop in South Mountain. Leader Jim Zangger, 802-1787.

February 22 – Jacob Crosscut Trail from First Water in Lost Dutchman State Park. Leader Richard Enns, 307-1140.

February 29 – Whitford Canyon near Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Leader Michael Josephson, 248-496-5369.

Wednesday Intermediate Hikes:

February 3 – Inspiration Point in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Leaders Joan Porterie, 360-904-9049 and Chris Vipond, 612-998-3773.

February 10 – Mesquite Canyon and Willow Canyon Trails in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Leader Gene Smestad, 339-0216.

February 17 – Option 1 – San Tan to Hedgehog Trails in San Tan Regional Park. Leader Ron Konopka, 313-402-8462; Option 2 – Dixie Mine Trail in McDowell Mountain Preserve. Leader Marilyn Harkins, 206-200-9696.

February 24 – Option 1 – Dixie Mine Trail in McDowell Mountain Preserve. Leaders Paulette and Jerry Zuehlke, 883-7056; Option 2 – San Tan to Hedgehog Trails in San Tan Regional Park. Leader Marilyn Harkins, 206-200-9696.

The next monthly meeting will be held on Friday, February 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Room in Cottonwood. For more information about the SLHC, contact club President Brian Hill at 480-802-1050 or e-mail [email protected] You can also visit the club’s website at the address given above.