One Week Before
- where and when
- Choose seasonal hikes.
South Mountain in July wouldn’t be the best idea, nor
would Flagstaff in January.
- Find out as much as you can.
Guidebooks, Hike Arizona,
Outdoor Links, and the AZHC
are good sources.
- See the announcements in the club calendar
for what information to include.
Two Days Before
- Arrange to get the club backpack from the previous leader.
- signup list
- Keep a record of everyone who contacts you about a hike.
Personally I use an Excel spreadsheet, but paper is fine.
Those who sign up by email should receive a reply from you confirming
when and where to meet, your cell phone number, etc.
- Inexact, but necessary. Unless it’s really easy, you need
to verify that everyone who signs up is capable of completing the hike.
If someone asks you questions related to their equipment or personal fitness,
discuss it in detail and make sure they are fit and prepared before signing up.
One Day Before
- Trim and file your toenails! Otherwise they will hurt on a long downhill.
- Make sure everything is there and in working order. Test the batteries.
- Check the forecast where you are going.
- If you have to cancel the hike, notify everybody before noon.
Otherwise send the participants a reassuring email, giving them the
weather forecast and any other information that will be helpful on
- Put a jug of purified water in the refrigerator.
On hot days I also carry an insulated jug of ice water in my car
for after the hike.
- Look at the hiking map, unless you have every step memorized.
Stow the hiking map, camera, and GPS in your backpack.
Meeting Place to Trailhead
- sign in
- Have everyone sign the
Trip Release Form.
As they do, check them off your list.
In general you won’t know who the actual participants are until they arrive.
- Put all contributions in the bag in the club notebook.
- shoe and water check
- Before a tough hike, make sure everybody has suitable footwear
and is carrying enough water. Don’t wait until you arrive at the trailhead!
- car pooling
- Decide who’s driving and who will ride with each driver.
- Hand out written directions to all drivers, and if possible, a map.
Include your cell phone number. Use 2-way radios if you are driving where
there isn’t cell phone service.
- When it’s time to leave, leave.
On the Trail
- If the trailhead is hard to find, set the time and place for a rendezvous
so you can drive in caravan the last few miles.
After the Hike
- You will have fast hikers ahead and slow hikers behind.
Tell everybody where to re-convene, and make sure they all get back
together before going on.
Where the hike is off-trail or there are confusing side trails, everyone will
have to walk with you.
- deputy leader
- If it becomes necessary to split the group, appoint a deputy
leader who knows the way.
- no one lost
- Unless people choose to leave the group and are dismissed, or you
choose to split the group and appoint a deputy leader, you must know
the whereabouts of all your hikers and be able to contact them.
- Carry a coach’s whistle. Use 2-way radios and cell phones when needed.
- Make sure all the 2-way radios are returned to the club backpack.
- dry clothes
- I always keep a change of clothes in my car. When the hike is a long
way from home, changing into clean, dry clothes improves the drive back.
At least have a pair of comfortable shoes and dry socks to put on.
- Arrange to give the club backpack to the next leader.
- Take the cash. Then write a check for the amount contributed and mail it
to the Treasurer, along with
any new membership applications and a note identifying any membership renewals.
- trip report
- Write one. It doesn’t have to be great literature, but a trip
report helps the club and provides encouragement and valuable information
for others who want to do the same hike. See