Sun Lakes Hiking Club: The season in review

Sun Lakers take a break on an urban hike in Tempe.

Sun Lakers take a break on an urban hike in Tempe.

Roberta Arpan

The statistics are in showing the Sun Lakes Hiking Club enjoyed another very successful season.

The number of Sun Lakers on the membership roll increased to 215, up 49 members this year and 81 members in the last two years. In an effort to keep the numbers on each hike manageable, club leaders found it necessary to expand hiking opportunities. In addition to the advanced and basic hikes, an intermediate hike was added on Mondays and, on selected Wednesdays, two different intermediate hikes were scheduled. Several other special events, such as the six-day trip to Santa Fe, rounded out the season.

Here is the breakdown of the numbers; 40 trail blazers participated in the 19 advanced Monday hikes with an average of eight per hike. The 36 intermediate hikes were attended by 136 Sun Lakers making an average of 19 hikers per hike and the 20 basic hikes averaged 29 hikers per hike. Mike Josephson led 57 participants on the Cat Peaks Loop Trail making it the largest group on a single hike in club history. Greg Jewell participated in 33 hikes and scored the season high for the most hikes. Members who hit the trail 20 or more times this season were Jerry Anderson, Anita Baker, Richard Enns, Stu Frost, Marilyn Harkins, Mike Josephson, Virginia Metz, Judy Mical, Marge Mogelnicki and Jim Reid.

Newly elected officers for the 2016-2017 season are President Cheryl Verlander, Vice President Stu Frost, Secretary Krissa Bolton and Treasurer Mike Foerster. The 2016-2017 season will open with the Welcome Back Picnic and first meeting on November 4. The much-anticipated special out-of-town hike scheduled for February 26 through March 2 is already on the calendar for the next season. Reservations are now being taken at [email protected]

Summer has arrived and with the rising temperatures it is necessary to take added precautions when planning your hike. 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. A minimum of two quarts of water should be carried when going into the desert. Planning hikes that start at a higher elevation and have trails in the shade are also good ideas. Sunscreen, a wide brim hat and sun glasses are indispensable. Watch for the hiking article in the July issue of the Splash for more details about hiking in the heat.

Tip of the month: Arizona hiking trails are full of small pebbles which can cause hikers to slip and slide while descending steep terrain. To help with stability, plant your foot firmly and walk “duck style” with toes pointed slightly outward or walk with both feet planted horizontal to the trail. Hiking poles will also help you be more surefooted.

For more information about the Sun Lakes Hiking Club visit the club’s website at