PC Hiking Club Diary

A Milestone Hike at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Back row: Clare Bangs, Atsuko Arner, Tom Wick, Bob Sinclair, Wayne Wills, Gary Baker, Lou Christensen, and Tom Wellman. Front row: Dennis Zigmunt, hike leader Art Arner, Dave Schuldt, Joe Clarkson, Dorothy Sammartini, Phil Stegmann, Nadine Eder, Bev McHugh, and Ann Rohlman. (Photo by Ron Hoffman)

A group of 18 hikers from the PebbleCreek Hiking Club traveled on Dec. 8 to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, to hike about 5 miles from the Pima Dynamite Trailhead. The hikers celebrated a double milestone for Joe Clarkson, who was honored both for hiking 3,000 miles and completing his 500th hike with the club. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a favorite hiking spot with 11 trailheads and miles of interconnecting trails. Beautiful rock formations, saguaro and other desert plants, birds, and wildlife provide surprising discoveries. On this hike, the group passed a fantastic specimen of the crested or cristate saguaro, which is seen behind the hiking group. Experts do not know what causes this unusual formation but theorize that genetics, lightning, frost, or insects may play a part. The hikers celebrated Joe’s accomplishment at the completion of the hike with baked goods and mimosas. You can learn more about Sonoran Desert flora and fauna by hiking with the club; the club sponsors a variety of hikes led by club members each week. Visit the website pchikers.org, or come to a monthly meeting to learn more about the club and sign up for an introductory hike.

December Solstice Hike

From left: Nadine Eder, Laurie Rosenbloom, Dennis Zigmunt, Charlene Elijew, Tom Wick, Stacey Miller, Julian Bindler, Diana Bedwell, Ruth Bindler, Brian McHugh, Dave Schuldt (hike leader), Kay Thomas, Phil Stegman, Carol Rice, Sandy Mednick, Beverly McHugh, Barb Kripps, Art Salario, and Gary Baker (photo by Dana Thomas)

Several members of the PebbleCreek Hiking Club bundled up for a 5.5 mile solstice hike on Dec. 17. The actual Winter Solstice (least daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere) took place four days later, on Dec. 21. The section of the Maricopa Trail off Bell Road provides a predominantly flat hike that is safe for hiking after dark. The group started hiking about 5 p.m., and once the sun set about 5:24 p.m., they donned headlamps for the remainder of the trek. Some bright stars were visible, and the group found the experience eerie and exhilarating.

The PebbleCreek Hiking Club plans over 10 hikes weekly with a variety of distances and terrain. Visit the website pchikers.org for more information, or contact a club officer or attend the monthly meeting.