October 2022
Hiking Yavapai
Stan Bindell

Social Hikes for All

The Trekabout Hiking Club is a Prescott Institution

The Trekabout Hiking Club, a City of Prescott recreational program, offers a group hiking experience for fun, exercise and camaraderie.

Overseeing the Trekabout program is Samara Rice, who’s worked City of Prescott Recreation Services for eight years and was recently promoted to recreation coordinator. “I’m delighted to collaborate with such an inspiring group each month in selecting the hikes as well as leading one or two a month myself. Exploring the diverse trails with our Trekabout members has been one of the best parts of my new role,” she said, adding that she sees how outdoor activity benefits people mentally, emotionally and physically.

“Coming together with like-minded individuals, exploring the beautiful natural environment we live in, has bountiful benefits,” she said. “You are given the opportunity to learn the trail system surrounding Prescott.” She adds that the club brings together people who prefer hiking in groups rather than as individuals. “We hike together and care for each other while on the trail,” she said.

Trekabout hikes take place in the Prescott area, year-round on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. During the summer hikes begin at 7 and 8am. “In winter the hikes vary in length and difficulty. Trekabout’s  roughly 100 members decreased a little during the pandemic, but bounced back afterward, since the trails offer one of the safer activities, beneficial to personal wellbeing,” says Rice.

“Next year the goal is to make each hike part of the Circle Trail, with a completed Circle Trail accomplished by the end of the year,” she said.

The club is a collaboration between the City of Prescott Recreation Services Department and the Yavapai Community Health Department, and has been going on for over 20 years.

Staff and volunteers from those organizations lead the hikes. The eight hike leaders meet monthly to select which trails will make up the coming month’s schedule. Tuesday hikes are meant to be less strenuous; Thursday hikes last two hours and may be more complex. Hikes are graded on a scale of one to four, four being the most difficult. Summer hikes avoid trails with full sun exposure and focus more on the forest trails.

“We have so many trails to choose from, and hope to get a great variety of hikes completed throughout the year,” she said.

Hike leader Sharmel Jordan, who has worked for YCCHS in health education for 15 years and participated in the Trekabout Hiking group for about ten, says, “Trekabout is an excellent group of people, and an amazing way to get out and experience all the beautiful trails Prescott has to offer. Getting out in nature and hiking is such a great way for people to stay active, stay social and benefits our mental health. One of my favorite things about living in Prescott is the access to nature,” Jordan said. “I love being able to get in the car and be out of town in ten minutes enjoying the great outdoors.”

Carl Gossard began hiking with Trekabout in 2014 and volunteered to become a hike leader in 2019. He retired to Prescott after 35 years with the Bureau of Land Management serving in wildlife management. “I started hiking with Trekabout to learn the trails in the Prescott area. I keep hiking with the Trekabouts because they are great people,” he said. “I wanted to give back a little, so I offered to be a hike leader. It’s very rewarding to take new hikers on the many trails in the Prescott area.”

Rice said they are working on developing more trails each year. “We always pursue safety as a priority. Improvements are made as we see the need, and as times change we adjust to the needs of the group,” she said.

Rice said the best aspect of Trekabout is bringing people and nature together. “What a great way to learn about the trails in our beautiful community. I’ve always enjoyed the  outdoors and I know others do as well, but getting lost or hiking alone on unfamiliar trails is less than desirable and unsafe,” she said. Trekabout members have formed lasting friendships. Some have been doing the Trekabout hikes for more than 20 years.

Each hike starts in a different location, usually near the trailhead parking lot. Trekabout memberships are $18 per year. For more information and hike schedules, visit the website. Hikers are welcome to attend a hike to see whether Trekabout is a good fit before joining. For more information, search for Trekabout Hiking Club on the City website, prescott-az.gov.

Stan Bindell is always looking for a good hike. If you have one, contact him at thebluesmagician@gmail. com