Sun Lakes Hiking Club: Summer Hiking Rituals

One of eight staircases to hike and get your cardio going in Stillwater, Minn., not unlike Bisbee, Arizona's, many staircases (Photo taken last October by Warren Wasescha)

One of eight staircases to hike and get your cardio going in Stillwater, Minn., not unlike Bisbee, Arizona’s, many staircases (Photo taken last October by Warren Wasescha)

Warren Wasescha

I’ve always wanted to take a helicopter ride, but not because of a need to be rescued from a mountainside for making a poor choice. This happened again last month when a 27-year-old hiker became ill after experiencing intense heat while hiking on Camelback Mountain. Of course, the rescue happened at 2 p.m. on a 110-degree day, probably the absolute worst time of day to be hiking, no matter how experienced a hiker you are, and no matter how much water you have with you.

Our club members who live here year-round know this rule, along with many others, for hiking safely in the summer. Most get up early to hit the trails before dawn and time themselves to get off the trails by 10 a.m. when it’s hot.

Others make the trek to higher elevation locations in our state to escape the heat that can be so deadly. Payson, Prescott, Pinetop, and Flagstaff are some of their favorite areas where they can continue to get their hiking fix in the summer without risking heat-related illness.

Club members who are winter snowbirds have it a bit easier in the summer, living in cooler parts where hiking is a bit less temperature dependent.

Liane Ouellette is one club member who probably travels the farthest away for the summer, to Newfoundland, Canada, on the eastern seaboard. Hiking is what Liane does during the summer, as she posts on her Facebook page. Almost every day, her posts show yet another great hiking trail with ocean views. You can almost smell that fresh ocean air when viewing her posts.

Club members Jerry and Barbara Cisneros travel a bit closer in the summer, back to Colorado, along with other club members, including Bud Tasch and his wife. Viewing their almost daily Facebook posts along with Liane’s in Canada makes me realize that if I didn’t have ties to Minnesota, I’d probably be living in a place like they live to enjoy all the trails they hike.

As for myself, Minnesota is where I hike in the summer. Not as spectacular as Colorado or Newfoundland, but we do have pockets of hike-worthy areas, including eight staircases in Stillwater, Minn., similar to Bisbee, Arizona’s staircases. They offer great cardio workouts and accumulated elevation gain (AEG) while offering views of a national and scenic riverway between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Getting itchy for our upcoming hiking season that starts in November? So is everyone else! But we have this COVID-19 thing to contend with, and the board is monitoring the situation to determine how exactly we, as a group, are going to safely hike this winter season. Stay tuned for more specific plans in upcoming issues of the Splash.

Not a member of our club yet but attracted to the idea of hiking and socializing with like-minded individuals? Come join our club. Type Sun Lakes Hiking Club into your web browser and check out our Meetup site for more details.