Sun Lakes Hiking Club prepares for summer

Sun Lakes Hiking Club on special hike near Flagstaff

Sun Lakes Hiking Club on special hike near Flagstaff

Roberta Arpan

The Sun Lakes Hiking Club season officially ended on April 29 with the Wednesday hikers scaling Camelback Mountain followed by brunch in Scottsdale. However, two popular annual events preceded the closing of the season and were well attended.

In March, 59 Sun Lakes hikers, spouses and friends attended the 10th annual Special Hike which was a four-day retreat in Sedona and Flagstaff. Al and Ginny Metz, along with Dennis and Marilyn Harkins, made advance preparations. Three hiking options were offered daily to fit the level of difficulty desired by each of the participants. Non-hikers enjoyed golfing, shopping, relaxing and playing tourist. Lodging, restaurants, hiking conditions and companionship were rated first class inspiring participants to be effusive with accolades.

On April 10 hiking club members were greeted with grilled hot dogs and all the trimmings when they attended the annual spring picnic and last monthly meeting of the season. A highlight of this event occurs when the annual awards are presented. The Boot Award, which honors a member who has shown dedicated service above and beyond the call of duty, was given to Al Metz. This year, Roger Ivesdal was recognized with a special “Duct Tape” award because he needed to apply duct tape to his boots in order to finish the challenging climb up the steep, slick slip rock in Sedona. Roberta Arpan was presented with the Sunshine Award for the good cheer she provided to the club and Greg Jewell received the coveted Rattlesnake Award for spotting the first rattlesnake of the season on a sanctioned club hike. A less coveted award, the Purple Heart, was given to Steve and Mary Martz for needing the most band-aids while hiking with the club. And last, but not least, Dick Giachino was presented with the sweep award for staying at the end of the line to make sure the group stays together.

A nice addition to the awards ceremony happened this year when Jack Schultz gave a brief history of the hiking club dating back to 1987. Two of the club’s original members, Veronica Deuse and Don Henegar, were past recipients of the prestigious Boot Award and were in attendance. Jack and his wife Helen were awarded this honor in 2014.

Summer hiking comes with its own unique challenges. Consider short hikes with an early start time and be sure you are well hydrated before starting a trek in the heat. Drink plenty of water along the way but remember to monitor your water supply to insure you have enough to last until you return to your car. Turn around when you have used half of your water to avoid running out. A minimum of two quarts of water should be carried when going into the desert. Many hikers like to partially freeze their water the night before to insure they have a cool drink in the blazing sun. There are also a variety of water additives that provide necessary electrolytes and an energy boost. Sun screen, a wide brim hat and sun glasses are indispensible.

Tip of the month: If you are running low on water, don’t snack. It takes water to digest food and your body needs hydration more than it needs nourishment.

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.