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Activities Director Shelly McGann guides you off the beaten path.

Members of all Village Clubs are invited to sign up for monthly hikes that celebrate the beauty of the Arizona landscape.

“I don’t pick the most popular hikes because they’re too crowded,” says Shelly McGann, Activities Director from the Gainey Club. “My only criteria for a hike is that it must be beautiful!”

Hikes range in distance from 4 to 13 miles, and are generally for intermediate to advanced hikers. “I look for more advanced trails because a lot of the members like a challenge and use the hikes as a workout,” Shelly says. “But we try to do at least one beginner to intermediate hike a year.”

Beauty and safety go hand in hand.

In addition to an informal assessment of your abilities — based on hiking experience and what you do at the gym — Shelly brings two helpers on each hike. One person leads the group, another stays in the middle of the pack, and Shelly usually brings up the rear. “We either use walkie-talkies or cell phones to communicate,” she says.

Shelly gets her inspiration from her own experience, member suggestions, and “the coolest website ever,” hikearizona.com. The site provides pictures and descriptions of almost every hike in the state, and really gives you a feel for each hike.

The monthly Village hikes are typically set for Saturday mornings and can accommodate groups of about 35 – 50 hikers. Members meet up at one of the Clubs and then carpool to the trailhead, and the group stops for breakfast or lunch before coming back home. The hikes are free except for meals and gas money for the drivers.

Can’t go with the group? Take a few tips from Shelly:

  • Bring 48 – 100 oz. of water depending on the distance
  • A bandana is a must to wipe the sweat
  • Wear Dry-Fit clothing
  • Cut your toenails as short as possible before a hike (This helps on the way down so you don’t lose your toenails)
  • Bring electrolyte goo and some salty snacks
  • Wear trail-running or light-hiking shoes and avoid cotton socks

Epic hikes you’ve got to experience.

Put your Village training to good use in the great outdoors.

After a successful weekend trip to Havasupai on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in early June, The Village is partnering with Arizona Outback Adventures (AOA) to bring members epic hiking and biking experiences in the Great American Southwest.

“Each hiker brought a day pack and a duffle bag,” explains Shelly McGann, Activities Director from the Gainey Club who organized the experience. “AOA managed all the luggage transfers, provided tents and sleeping pads, cooked for the group, and led us down Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls. All we had to do was hike, have a good time and really get to know each other!” AOA even made sure that the 50 hikers from the Village all got to camp together, which isn’t always possible due to the Havasupai campground’s first-come, first-served policy.

The Havasupai trip left everybody wanting more, so the next epic AOA-led experience will be a hiking and biking combo trip through Utah’s Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon Country from September 24-29.

The price is $1,500-1600 and the trip is nearly two-thirds booked. Email Shelly for more information, or call her at 480-624-9125.

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