Along the Gila: Celebrating the Arizona Trail

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Super-cool signs by Rob Bauer announce the miles on the Arizona Trail near Superior.

The Arizona Trail stretches from Mexico to Utah, 800 miles of scenic beauty taking in most the climate zones Arizona has to offer, save for the tip-top of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. Probably not many of us think about it (especially in the summer), but this is becoming one of the most significant hiking trails in the United States. It has become a “must do” for serious hikers not only from the United States, but around the world.

  Superior, Kearny, and Oracle are Gateway Communities to the Arizona Trail. Each community marks a segment of the trail, and hikers depend on each of the segments for trail supplies, a fresh shower and a bed, mail, and food and refreshments. Both Kearny and Superior have experienced a surge in hiking visitors over the past year. I don’t know about you know about serious hiking (I’m pretty much a couch potato now), but it is a quickly growing recreational sport. Towns along hiking trails are becoming destinations for visitors, including winter visitors who want to do more than avoid snow and live in a city.

  Two local businesses in Kearny, Old Time Pizza and the General Kearny Inn, have been very good friends to the hikers. Gary and Lorraine Birkett are themselves hikers who have covered a good portion of the trail, and have worked to improve it. The Birketts and the Dunn and Misita families of the GKI have gone out of their way to welcome the hikers by arranging transportation to town and, in Gary and Lorraine’s case, even delivering pizza to the trailhead! Others of our businesses have benefitted.

  The hikers themselves are wonderfully interesting people. It seems there are two age groups – millennials who have lots of energy and a life stretching out before them, and active 55-and-up folks who are fulfilling their dreams. They come, of course, in the late fall through early spring. And they like the people in Kearny and Superior.

  Superior has been pretty organized about welcoming the hikers, but some folks in Kearny are also really interested in providing the welcome and services which the hikers need. If you would like to discuss hikers’ needs, especially transportation from Kelvin to Kearny and back again, and would like to explore how our businesses can be welcoming, I invite you to give me a call at (480) 220-9349. We’ll get together soon and see what we can do.

  Coming up: The Wild Cow Gallery in Superior has scheduled an artists’ reception to display the works of Charles Davison and David Betancourt, multi-media artists. It’s on Saturday, August 5, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 20 North Magma Avenue. Refreshments will be served.

  The important Rural Policy Forum for Arizona will be held this year in Safford and Thatcher, Wednesday through Friday, August 9-11. Contact Anna Flores, Kearny’s town manager, for registration information. It’s coming up soon, so hurry!

  The new face behind the police badge in Kearny is Anthony Clubb, who started work about three weeks ago. A big “welcome back” to Officer Ken Boldin, who was away for a while and has returned.

  And I end with a shout-out to Gerry Kaufhold, who has a deep and abiding love for Kearny and does everything he can to promote our lifestyle. Thanks, Gerry!

Sam Hosler (25 Posts)


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