When my wife, Lynn, and I retired, we “knew” that when we joined the other retirees who winter in Arizona that we would have to take up golfing. In preparation for our first winter, she and I purchased some clubs, took some golfing lessons and prepared to walk the fairways and greens of many an Arizona golf course.
Shortly after arriving for our first winter in December 2011, we joined a nearby gym. The Arizona Centennial Celebrations were just around the corner in 2012, and the Arizona State and County Parks invited people to hike 100 miles in the state during that Centennial year. One of our gym instructors offered to lead hikes around the area and a scheduled Wednesday hike was added. Lynn and I joined the group and our lives in Arizona would be forever altered. To this day, our golf clubs sit unused in our garage. Instead we spend our time hiking the trails in Arizona.
Lynn and I met that goal of hiking 100 miles, but we “fudged” the rules a bit, including walks in our neighborhood as long as they were over a mile. We did hike over 75 miles on hiking trails. Considering our relatively sedentary lifestyle during our working years, we considered this to be quite an accomplishment. In January 2013, we were ready for more. The goal would be to hike the full 100 miles on hiking trails.
When we started hiking, a hike of over two miles was a challenge for us, especially if it involved switchbacks as the trail ascended the side of a mountain. By the end of 2013, a four to five mile hike was more typical, and we easily met our personal 100-mile challenge, logging 148 miles in 2013. Since December, 2011, we have logged over 250 miles on Arizona hiking trails.
When we returned to Arizona this winter, we discovered the Maricopa County Parks were sponsoring a new challenge for 2013-2014, 100 miles in 100 days. Lynn and I had a new goal and a bit of a handicap. The official challenge ran from November 1, 2013 to February 8, 2014. We would only arrive in town for the winter by November 14, and further, we’d be gone for ten days over the Christmas holidays. Knowing that six to seven miles would be our typical hike limit, a schedule of at least three days a week with total miles of ten to twelve miles during the week should allow us to meet the challenge.
The rules stipulated that hikes must be completed within Maricopa County Parks or along the Maricopa Trail. That trail meanders through the county parks and ventures around the metro area linking each of the county parks and some Phoenix parks as well. At a minimum, hikers must hike three different parks, but hikes on the Maricopa Trail can be substituted for one of the county parks. At the completion of each hike, a park ranger must sign off on the hiking log.
We live on the extreme west edge of the Phoenix metro in Buckeye. Most of the county parks are an hour drive from us or more, one way. We opted to hike in the two nearest parks, Estrella Mountain Park and White Tank Mountains Park. We would also hike South Mountain on the National Trail, part of the Maricopa Trail. On February 6, 2014, Lynn and I submitted our hiking logs, totaling 108.5 miles. The distances were all GPS tracked via a smart phone app called Map My Walk so there would be no question as to distances traveled. We now eagerly await the delivery of our rewards, T-shirts commemorating 100 Miles in 100 Days.
I submit for your constructive criticism, photos taken during hikes in the three parks that challenged us. In the interest of full disclosure, most of the photos were taken outside of the timeframe of our 100 miles in 100 days challenge. Please click on one of the photos below to open the gallery of images.
Would anyone like to buy a set of used golf clubs?