I hope everyone is staying safe and all in your family are healthy. We certainly know a lot more about the COVID-19 pandemic than we did the last time I communicated with you. And none of the new information seems to be good.

We had originally planned on our season opener campout in Flagstaff to be the last weekend in September. It is with sad heart that I must announce that it is cancelled. The spike in COVID cases combined with the spread of the Delta variant just makes it too risky. Our group site at Sunset Crater is just not large enough to accommodate all the people who are interested and still allow for social distancing. The fact that we would be gathered around the picnic tables unmasked, eating and drinking, puts everyone at risk.

There is a ray of sunshine to this message. I am working on a group campout in the spring. The details will be forthcoming. I know from the interest that I have received in emails that this group is ready to go camping! I am going to try to make that happen.

We are also going to resume our Saturday morning hikes on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. I believe that we can be socially distanced on the trail, and since we are outside, that fulfills two of the three requirements. At the beginning of each hike, we will gather to introduce ourselves, masked, and ask what everyone is comfortable with. It will be helpful to know who is vaccinated and who we need to be extra careful with. We will also make room for everyone to talk about what they are not comfortable with. This is to be just part of the normal discussion, and we ask that you speak out about what you are not comfortable with.

That being said, we need hike leaders!!!! We can plan our first hike starting October 9 if we have a leader. If you are willing to lead a hike in this coming season, please email me with the date you would like. I do not have to have the details of the hike at this point, just a commitment to a date would be very helpful to getting the calendar filled in.

This page will have all the information you will need to know about upcoming hikes, and there will be announcements in Compass. I am very excited about resuming our hikes. It will be so good to see you all. Stay safe, and I hope to see you soon, live and in person, 6 feet away. If you have questions, please contact outdoorgroup@phoenixuu.org.

– Bonnie White