Sun Lakes Hiking Club offers lots of extras

It’s almost resolution time for these Rugged Ridge Rock Ramblers.

Judith Kuse

In addition to sponsoring two to three weekly hikes, members of the Sun Lakes Hiking Club (SLHC) enjoy one another’s company at a number of special hikes and social events during every hiking season. For example, in mid-December, club members and their guests were invited, for the seventh year in a row, to walk the Oakwood Paths together and cap off their walk with a Christmas Brunch of the best kind… potluck. About 30 members were in attendance, and they could be easily identified by their seasonal garb… Santa hats, reindeer antlers and jingle bells!

Another annual holiday event for the last eight years has been the Rugged Ridge Resolution Rock Ramble, the inspiration for which is attributed to SLHC member Dennis Harkins. Club members who are up for the challenge of a moderate hike gather at a special location at South Mountain for a six-mile hike and to make commitments to their individual New Year’s resolutions by writing them down. This past New Year’s Eve Day, 17 members participated in the yearly ritual.

Now in its second year, and so popular that attendance is capped at 16 participants, the geo-caching hike led by Paul Nichol offers a chance to be part of a global group of treasure-hunting enthusiasts who use GPS or GPS-enabled mobile devices to locate caches via coordinates. In the greater Phoenix area alone, there are reportedly 3,933 caches. A typical cache is some kind of a waterproof container that holds a logbook and a pencil. Upon finding the cache, the hiker signs and dates the logbook and returns the cache to its hiding place. Some caches also hold small items, trinkets really, to trade.

Each January, the SLHC hosts a Winter Social. It’s held at the Poolside Café and it features a cash bar and potluck dishes contributed by members. It’s always a fun evening for members and their guests to spend time together.

The Sun Lakes Hiking Club’s regular season is now in full swing. A complete description of its scheduled hikes and other updated information can be found at

Members meet at the Cottonwood parking lot at 7:45 a.m. for February hikes. If you’re new to the club, plan to go on a Mellow hike and call the hike leader in advance.