hiking Archives

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City of Phoenix park ranger Samantha Nickel is uniquely qualified for taking on the crowds at some of the city’s hiking hubs. Nickel draws upon her experience in corrections, caregiving and airline bag wrangling for her current position in the city’s East Park district, which includes Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, Dreamy Draw and Papago Park. Being able to work diplomatically with diverse populations in busy, physically demanding outdoor conditions comes naturally to the native Arizonan...

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Dr. Tamar Gottfried expects a bit of a baby boom in 2021. While the Mesa-based OB-GYN (obgynmesa.com) has seen a decrease in routine screenings and consultations due to the coronavirus pandemic, she has also witnessed an uptick in new pregnancies. Whether that’s a byproduct of quarantine is a subject for historians, but even in these virus-cloistered times, expectant moms need exercise and fresh air. Gottfried, who leads hikes for the Arizona Trailblazers hiking club (azhikers.org),...

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For the Twaddell family of Cave Creek, hiking is a family affair. Their patriarch, Graham, an environmental consultant, has been hitting the trails with 10-year-old son Enler and 6-year-old daughter Neala since before they could walk. While the sport comes naturally to them, Twaddell says that getting his kids started in hiking took planning and patience. “I found planning the hike during the week, looking at trail maps together, preparing our equipment and generally talking...

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As a former smoker living with reactive asthma that’s exacerbated by exercise, Heather Viti Taylor takes it easy while hiking Arizona trails. While her lack of speed allows for heightened enjoyment of the outdoors, it’s not always well-received by other hikers. “I used to feel embarrassed for ascending so slowly,” the Phoenix executive assistant says. “Half the time I will hike alone because it’s easier to not hold anyone back, but I’ve also learned to...

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Toni Barker of Phoenix does not like snow. A native of Guyana in South America, Barker arrived in Arizona by way of Kansas in 2013. “I’m accustomed to sunshine all year, so moving to Arizona was the perfect choice,” Barker says. “My company at that time was expanding in Arizona, so I applied and got the job. I packed up my car, rented an apartment online and drove over 15 hours to a state where...

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