Sportsman’s Club offers summer hiking options

OUTDOORS

Posted 7/29/22

Everyone is aware that outdoor activity in Arizona in the summer (May through September) can be risky. The danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is ever present. Before 2017, the hiking activity …

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Sportsman’s Club offers summer hiking options

OUTDOORS

Posted

Everyone is aware that outdoor activity in Arizona in the summer (May through September) can be risky. The danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is ever present. Before 2017, the hiking activity for the sportsman’s club stopped at the end of April and resumed at the beginning of October each year.

In May 2017, the club started offering summer hikes and called this the “Firebird” season, as opposed to the “Snowbird” season from October through April. To make this safer, the hikes are scheduled to start at 6 a.m. and are shorter with less climbing than the rest of the year. At the beginning of a hike, hikers are cautioned to watch for signs of heat exhaustion-dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations or confusion. The pace is slower with more frequent stops for hydration.

Another way to beat the heat is to hike closer to Sun City West. There are several hiking areas within about 30 minutes commute from Sun City West, including The White Tank Mountains Park, Skyline Park near Buckeye, Estrella Mountain Park near Goodyear, Lake Pleasant Park, Thunderbird Park in north Glendale, Deem Hills in north Phoenix and several parks in Peoria. The parks in Peoria include East Wing Mountain, West Wing Park with two different area (Sunshine Mountain and West Wing Mountain) and Calderwood Butte.

One of the nice things about hiking in the Sonoran Desert is the opportunity to witness a wide variety of plants and animals as well as geological formations. In the summer there are some different things to be seen, as illustrated by some recent hikes in the Peoria Parks. At East Wing Mountain four Chuckwallas were seen, at West Wing Sunrise three Chuckwallas were seen, at West Wing Mountain a Chuckwalla and a family of Great Horned Owls were seen, and at Calderwood Butte a Chuckwalla and a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake were seen. Chuckwallas are seldom seen except in the hottest part of the summer. They are the largest lizards seen in Arizona, except for Gila Monsters. The males can be quite colorful and are often seen sunning themselves on the top of rocks. When they feel threatened, they wedge themselves into crevices in the rocks and inflate themselves so they cannot be pulled out into a vulnerable position.

So, if you want to get a look at these interesting and pretty lizards, check out the monthly summer hiking schedule at sportsman.scwclubs.com.

There are 6-10 guided hikes to the above referenced parks each “Firebird” season.

Sportsman, Sun City West, outdoors

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