The UU Outdoor Group is alive and well! Bonnie White has done an extraordinary job of leading the group for the past 8 plus years. She developed a wonderful environment for exploring the outdoors, creating friendships, feeling welcomed, and having fun. Bonnie sent a request for new leaders; Geri Engle and Barbara Seltzer answered the call. Thank you, Bonnie, for all that you have done to support and grow the Outdoor Group. First, a little background information about the new co-leaders:

Geri Engle loves outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing. She moved to AZ three years ago from Madison, WI, with her partner and joined UUCP. She was a member of the Milwaukee and Madison UU Societies for over 30 years. The hiking group has been great for learning about new trails and socializing afterwards, so this is an opportunity to give back. She’ll be happy to share her favorite trails and hopes that other hikers will do same!

Barbara Seltzer moved to AZ from Maryland in the fall of 2014 for a new job. Being a UU since she was a teen, Barbara first joined Valley UU, and then UUCP. Barbara is an outdoors person who enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, camping, cycling, and kayaking, to name a few sports. She was delighted to learn that UUCP had an Outdoor Group. On her first hike with the group, everyone made her feel so welcomed, she went on as many hikes as her schedule permitted. Barbara is looking forward to continuing this group as a co-leader and to be a hike leader to share some of her favorite trails.

Geri and Barbara are huge travelers, US and internationally, so they’ll be a tag team organizing the hiking program.

The monthly hiking schedule will remain the same with hikes on the 2nd and 4th Saturday each month, starting in October and ending in May. During the winter months, we hike mostly around the Valley and at other times of year we venture to higher altitudes where the temperature is more suitable for hiking (e.g., Prescott, Sedona, Payson, Flagstaff). Most outings include an easy option (2-4 miles, relatively flat) and a slightly more difficult hike (4-6 miles with some elevation change) so that many can participate. Hikers are expected to be well-prepared with appropriate hiking clothes, including hiking shoes, plenty of water, sunscreen, basic first aid, and snacks for the trail. After the hike, there is often the option to get together to continue the fellowship at a nearby restaurant.

There will be no camping event to start the Outdoor Group hiking session this year. Hopefully, the campground at Sunset Crater outside Flagstaff will be operational by May so we can gather there to end the hiking season.

Geri and Barbara will each lead a hike in October. Anyone interested in leading hikes in the following months please let us know. The hiking calendar is available so you can see what Saturdays need a leader and then you can sign up to show us one of your favorite hikes. Never been a hike leader? Bonnie developed some guidelines for leading hikes which Geri and/or Barbara will discuss with you, so don’t be timid about being the hike coordinator.

Folks who have provided addresses will receive an email concerning both upcoming hikes and post-hike reports, complete with group picture. We request you use the UU Outdoor Group website to review information instead of us cutting and pasting it in an e-mail. If you are not sure you are on the Outdoor Group mailing list, please email and request to be added.

Get involved in the UUCP Outdoor Group by looking for emails or information in Compass and join in the fun and friendship while enjoying the beauty of Arizona.