Moonlight hike marks return to nature - The Explorer: Sports

Moonlight hike marks return to nature

National Trails Day event to take place at Catalina State Park

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Starlight, a fingernail sliver of moon and flashlight beams will illuminate Catalina State Park’s Canyon Loop Trail this Saturday, as the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department celebrates National Trails Day with a 2.3-mile moonlight hike.

The short trek, rotating through local pathways annually since 2002, commemorates federal passage of the National Trails System Act of 1968 with food, drinks and T-shirts for the first 50 hikers.

Across the country, hiking clubs return to blossoming woods with daytime hikes and trail maintenance parties after a winter’s worth of cabin fever.

But in the desert, Saturday offers the perfect time to kick off the town’s nighttime hiking series, said Oro Valley Recreation Manager Lynanne Dellerman.

“The loop trail, to me, is extraordinarily beautiful, because it’s simple and there’s lots of neat things on it,” Dellerman said.

In a town laced with networks of natural footpaths and splendor, Dellerman said local officials strived to “bandwagon” themselves to the granola holiday as soon as officials learned of it.

Their zeal reflects a return to ecological activities across the country — especially whenever it ropes kids outside and away from electronic distractions, said American Hiking Society spokesman Ivan Levin.

“I think that there’s a big trend — especially from the local governments’ side — to get kids back outside and share the experiences that older generations have benefited from,” Levin said.

The American Hiking Society, an ecological advocacy and stewardship group, created National Trails Day in 1993 when the trails act turned 25 years old. That year, outdoors enthusiasts marshaled 100 events.

A year ago, hikers and bikers enjoyed 5,500 miles of pathways as 1,200 celebrations took place. The commemoration also rallied 175,000 hours of volunteer work to build and maintain 1,400 miles of trail — efforts valued at $3.2 million, according to Levin.

In Oro Valley, National Trails Day’s moonlight hikes and guest speakers — ranging from naturalists to Native Americans — draw more interest than any other organized stroll, said Nancy Ellis, the town’s trails coordinator and organizer of the hike.

Canyon Loop Trail’s lazy circuit of saguaros, sandy washes and saw-toothed skylines hasn’t played host to the event since 2003, when 20 people showed up.

Last year, Honeybee Canyon trail got the nod. T-shirt supplies were exhausted when 60 hikers turned out.

“People talk and meander, and it’s just really a lot of fun,” Ellis said.


WHAT: National Trail Day Moonlight Hike

WHERE: Meet at Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive

WHEN: Saturday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.

COST: $5; food and beverages provided; first 50 get a T-shirt

WHAT TO BRING: Flashlight and appropriate hiking clothing

PHONE: 229-5050

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Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

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Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

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Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

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Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

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Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

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Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

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JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

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Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

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Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

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Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


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