After several days of cold and rain, New Year’s Day dawned clear and sunny. It was a bit nippy, but once the seventeen people who gathered to hike got underway, it was quite comfortable. Ed Cernek led the easy hike that maybe wasn’t so easy. Those 6 folks actually had one of the biggest challenges. With all the rain they had to figure out how to ford a stream! Water in the desert is always a treat, but sometimes it can also be a bit of a challenge. The 11 moderate hikers enjoyed just enough ups and downs to get the heart going but not too much for a New Year’s Day morning. The views from the top of the Ridgeback trail were spectacular with the sparkling clear air.

After the hike almost all the hikers gathered for the potluck. We had the pleasure of two others who didn’t hike join in on that bit of fun. Outside and distanced was working for everyone to feel safe. UU potlucks always come together with very interesting, tasty food. Saturday was no exception! I think we were all reveling in the joy of being together in person albeit outside. The weather cooperated with no wind and plenty of sun until later in the afternoon when we had to call a close to the whole affair as the temperature started to drop. 

Our next hike is this coming Saturday, January 8. Julie Smart will be our leader. This is a hike the Outdoor Group has done many, many times. This favorite is a 6-mile loop that is easy on the ups and downs. The question you will want to ask yourself to know whether this hike is for you is can you walk 6 miles with only a short break or two. As usual, we will have the opportunity to gather after the hike for coffee. 

If you haven’t already found it, notice the link to the Outdoor Group calendar in the sidebar on the right. That is the place to go to see how the rest of the season lines up.

We have a reservation at Sunset Crater National Monument for a spring campout May 20-22. Detailed information will be coming as we get closer to the date. Put it on your calendar to save the date! You will not want to miss this! 

At the beginning of each hike, we will gather to introduce ourselves, distanced, and ask what everyone is comfortable with. We will also make room for everyone to talk about what they are not comfortable with. This is to be part of the normal discussion, and we ask that you speak out about what you are not comfortable with. Stay safe, and I hope to see you soon, live and in person, 6 feet away. As always you can get more information by emailing