Piestewa Peak Archives

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After battling 80-mile-per-hour winds on Humphreys Peak, evading a pack of charging javelinas in the Mazatzal Wilderness and hiking the Grand Canyon in a blizzard, John Heckenlaible decided it was time to give something back to the Arizona trails he loves. Joining the City of Phoenix parks stewardship program felt like a good way to do so. “I was climbing Piestewa Peak one day and saw two guys wearing bright yellow Phoenix Park Steward shirts,”...

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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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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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