Arizona Trailblazers
Lessons Learned
Weaver's Needle Overlook Successful hiking will be your reward.
It is up to you, the hiker, to exercise good sense and good citizenship in the wilderness. These lessons have been learned by the Arizona Trailblazers over the years.
leadership safety equipment food personal
The hike leader should always provide 2-way radios and insist that people carry them and use them. In the event that radios are not available, keep the group together and do not allow people to become separated.
Chuck Parsons
Pre-arrange two or three meeting locations along the trail, including lunch, and wait for all hikers to meet there before leaving.
Chuck Parsons
If the group has to be split, appoint a deputy leader and give them clear directions, including a later rendezvous.
Ted Tenny
If the trail involves complicated junction points where anyone could possible take a wrong turn or go in the wrong direction, pass out copies of the route to all hikers before the start of the hike and consider making arrangements for everyone to meet there.
Chuck Parsons
the unexpected
Always be prepared for the unexpected.
Never, ever assume anything except Murphy’s Law – “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
Chuck Parsons
Never completely trust the local weather forecasts.
Always carry a poncho or raincoat when hiking – regardless of the forecast. It could save your life.
Chuck Parsons
cell phones
Always carry a cell phone when hiking and provide the number to the hike leader.
Chuck Parsons
Hiking Boots
For day hikes I wear hiking boots that fit over my ankles. Basically I want a comfortable fit, sturdy soles, and good traction. I always buy boots that can be re-soled – in fact my favorite hiking boots are on their third pair of soles. REI’s annual May sale is a good time to shop. I spend a lot of time in the shoe section trying on hiking boots and walking around in them. They have to feel really comfortable, right now in the store, rather than breaking them in later. Expect to spend $80 to $120.
Ted Tenny
For carrying water I’ve tried canteens but prefer a hydration system such as Camelbak®. Water is carried in a flexible 100 oz (or smaller) plastic bag which fits inside the backpack. You drink through a tube. If you need more water to refill the bag, carry it in plastic bottles. Cool a jug of purified water overnight in the refrigerator and use it to fill the water bag on the day of the hike. If the hike is "B+" or "A", bring an extra bottle of water and drink it just before you start hiking.
Ted Tenny
Bring Stamps
Consider purchasing the post cards ahead of time to mail from the bottom of the canyon.
Sylvia Prast
Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are great when soap and water are unavailable.
Scott King
Aluminum Can Tabs
Two holed pull tabs from aluminum cans make good tensioners for your rain fly. They also make good replacement grommets.
Jeannie Van Lew
Food Organization
There are lots of ways to organize your food. Some people pack foods into general breakfast, lunch and dinner bags. I like to pack individual meals into their own separate, resealable plastic bags. Unpackage everything. You will carry out all your garbage, even leftover food. Pre-measuring portions will make cooking easier, while pre-mixing ingredients that can be stored together like a breakfast drink and milk powder can save space and time.
Jeannie Van Lew
Cracker Storage
If your crackers usually get crunched long before they meet the cheddar, try storing them in a Pringles potato chip container. It weighs only a few ounces when empty, and you can use it to pack out your trash once the crackers have been eaten.
Jeannie Van Lew
Taste Test
Try the food you buy before you take it backpacking. The worst time to find out you don’t like something is when you’re tired and hungry.
Tom Van Lew
Where to Cook
Be extremely careful when cooking in heavy wind! My Coleman 2-burner stove was very stable when it was set on the table in its “closed” position, but once it was opened, the vertical position of the lid and side flaps made for a surface very unstable in the wind. In fact, the wind was so strong that the stove blew off the table! Solution: the stove was moved to the ground, and a partial windbreak was fashioned using a big rock and an ice chest.
Bruce Fisher
Try to keep backpack to 25% of your body weight.
Scott King
On the downhill trek, the toenails hit and are constantly being “lifted” by the front of the boot. You will lose a toenail, and it’s not pretty. So, clip them back as far as you can.
Dawn Lavigne
Getting Prickers Out
I just read about how to get splinters out with a baking soda paste. I had a cactus pricker on my leg after the hike and could not get it out. So thought I would try this remedy. It worked! Don’t know how it would work for all the little ones but it’s worth a try.
WikiHow gives you eight steps to take.
Eileen Root

Top of Page Arizona Trailblazers Home Page