I don’t normally write about people, but, this is different.  Two of Phoenix’s most impressive hikers are out somewhere on the trails constantly.  And they’re not exactly what you would expect.

Barbara and Sue have been making their hiking rounds casually for the better part of a year now. They got wind of the “100 miles in 100 days” challenge that Maricopa County Parks & Rec hosts annually and decided to give it a go.  For this year, the challenge runs from Nov 1, 2017, to Feb 8, 2018.  (The program kicks off annually on November 1st).  These ladies started November 7th in the McDowell Mountains and surpassed the 100 miles weeks ago.  They are now aiming for 200 miles by the deadline.  This is impressive all by itself; however, Barbara turned 80 last year… E-I-G-H-T-Y… and Sue is in her 60’s!!!

Impressive hikers

I might be biased because Barbara is my grandmother and Sue is an amazing person, but when I told you they were two of Phoenix’s most impressive hikers, I sure meant it!  Grandma wanted to do some hiking, but, in the beginning, she had a tumble.  Most people attributed it to her age and told her she shouldn’t be doing stuff like that at her age.  My husband and I encouraged her to keep at it but insisted that instead of the issue being her age, she just needed proper gear.  We set out to buy her legitimate hiking boots and some leggings to wear.  Her friend made sure she had hiking poles that worked for her.  This past Christmas, we bought her an awesome pack to wear that she can stuff with water, snacks, and whatever else she needs.  It’s made all the difference, and now she is a hiking machine, along with her friend Sue.

80-year-old hiker

It’s pretty cool to get text messages from her with photos of her and Sue and a message that says “Just completed 8.5 miles today.  Now at 171 miles for the challenge.”  I mean, wow.  Just wow.

The 100 miles in 100 days challenge consists of just that: hiking or trail running 100 miles in 100 days.  You can also participate in mountain biking or horseback riding, though they ask you to complete 200 miles in 100 days for those options, presumably since you can cover more terrain more quickly.  You take photos or screenshots of the trail you’ve completed and then send the info in to be logged on your behalf.  All of the trails must be completed within a Maricopa County regional park, and the Maricopa Trail for it to count and participants must visit at least three different parks.  Barbara and Sue have so far visited eight of the parks and should be hitting their 200-mile goal any day now.

All of the trails (spanning an impressive 420 miles) are non-motorized use only, and ten of the parks are within a short drive, circling the metropolitan area.

Parks include:

  • Adobe Dam Regional Park
  • Buckeye Hills Regional Park
  • Cave Creek Regional Park
  • Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant Regional Park
  • Estrella Mountain Regional Park
  • Hassayampa River Preserve
  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park
  • McDowell Mountain Regional Park
  • San Tan Mountain Regional Park
  • Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
  • Usery Mountain Regional Park
  • White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Impressive hikers

You can also hike the Maricopa Trail System, which connects all of the county regional parks together at an impressive 315 miles!  Participants receive a finisher’s t-shirt and all of the bragging rights they desire.  This is certainly an impressive feat, and Barbara and Sue are two of Phoenix’s most impressive hikers!!

Hope you’re getting outside, enjoying some fresh air, and being inspired by people like Barbara and Sue!  Cheers!


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