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2017-2018 Season
Most recent workday is always at the top of this page

*** Click on images to enlarge ***

April 21, 2018
We worked in three groups today, bringing different emergency helicopter landing pads into safer landing areas for the sheriff's helicopter pilot.

"I really appreciate the work all on you have done this season. We did some work that will make a difference over a long amount of time. We made some new friends, got some exercise, and also had a good time. If I don't see you tomorrow at the Blazer Blast, have a good summer, and I hope to see you next November."
Again: Thanks ALL!

Paul's selfie with Chuck and Bill J in the background

Chuck and Bill working on Pad 3 on the Lower Sonoran Trail

They sure look like they are having way too much fun. David & Mike

Tom, John and Gary: finishing Pad 3 on the Sonoran Trail

The finished look on Pad 4 of the Sonoran Trail

Bill C and David working on Pad 6 of the Sonoran Trail

Does that look alright Bill?

Yep, looks good.

April 21, 2018
Fourteen of us worked hard at leveling off and clearing the helicopter emergency landing pads. Digging down in this mountainous, rocky, dry soil really was a chore. Paul and Bill J. hiked up to the top of the Western Loop and completed the maintenance on that pad. Then six of us tackled each of two other pads. You can see below how we started at the high end and tried to work the material down to the lower end to level off the landing area.

Chuck, Gary, JohnT, Jude, Tom

Lee, David, Cliff, Bob, JohnM, Walt

Lee, JohnM, Gary, Chuck, Walt, Paul, Jude, Tom, JohnT, BillJ, Cliff, David, Bob

April 7, 2018
Great day! We started at 7:30 instead of 8, but as it was getting hotter, we had enough of a wind that it was a very comfortable morning for working. We completed a maintenance on the mile of the Sonoran trail in the McDowell Mountain Park between the Dixie Mine trail and the north entrance to our Preserve.

Cliff starting at the beginning of the Preserve.

Gary taking the second leg.

And along came Walt

The masked man was John Haustowitch. Without rain it is dusty and drab.

Just regular young Jude.

Jim with music playing since there was no one to talk with.

John McCurdy looking uncomfortable since I had him working with a rogue today instead of his normal pick.

I called "Doug" to get his attention for a picture. He said "Don't bother me, I'm working." (and a few other things I will not mention)

Yes, Mike really does enjoy being out here working with us.

Chuck, with hikers in the background​. I think he is trying to impress his grand kids with that pose.

JohnM, Mike, Jim, Chuck, JohnH, Walt, Gary, Jude, Cliff

March 31, 2018
Twelve of us hiked to the top of the Western Loop, broke out the tools and went to work. We had to extend the work morning a little, but finished the north side of the trail. So now the Western Loop trail, the Town overlook trail, the Sonoran trail, and the Lower Sonoran trail are all maintained and ready for the official grand opening of the Trailhead, hopefully at the end of October.

John and Cliff

David, Walt, Gary


Norm, Chuck, Doug

Paul and Jude clearing the emergency helicopter landing area at the top of the Western Loop

We won't see many flowers this year but these Hedge Hogs were in bloom.

Gathering around the Appledorn bench:
John, Doug, Jim, Jude, Gary, Norm, David, Walt, Bill, Cliff, Chuck, Paul

March 17, 2018
The Trailblazer volunteers NEVER cease to amaze me! Ten of us set out to do some maintenance on the Western Loop trail. I figured it would take us a couple of Saturdays to work our way up the north side of the trail. But NOOOOOO, we worked our way all the way to the top of the trail in one Saturday. A bike will still not, within reason, be on this trail, but it is in real good shape for hikers to tackle this difficult climb. So, it is break time this coming Saturday, then we will tackle the south side of the Western Loop trail on the 31st.

A panorama by Paul from last week: (Can you find yourself?)

Walt, Gary, Bob

John, Paul, Mike

Tom and Doug

Another Paul picture, catching us winding down from the summit after finishing for the day.

Paul, Doug, Walt, Mike, John, Tom, Gary, Bob, Cliff

March 10, 2018
I'm thinking that the trailblazers all coordinate behind my back and plan so that exactly fourteen show up on a Saturday morning for trail building. They do a great job of that, but more importantly, a great job of trail maintenance. WE FINISHED THE MAINTENANCE ON THE SONORAN TRAIL!

Paul, checking what maintenance is needed on this emergency helicopter landing pad.

Walt, working hard as usual.

Doug, with more years as a trail builder than any of the rest of us. THANKS DOUG!

​Doug and Paul pausing for the camera with Jim working away in the background.

Chuck2, and Tommy

Chuck Brush, using the brush --- seriously!

Al, Chuck, Jude working hard. That's why we finished today.

Speaking about working hard??? We all need to rest at times. Thanks Bill 1.

Chuck2, Doug, Cliff, Norm...Yep, all working hard.

David wields a mean pick.

Wow, someone even caught me smiling. We do have fun as well as work hard.

Jim, Jude, David, Paul, Chuck2, Norm, Doug, Walt, Al, Tommy, Chuck1, Cliff

March 3, 2018
Fourteen of us enjoyed working on the trail yesterday on a beautiful day. Fourteen seems to be our magic number of Trailblazers working on a Saturday this season. We can now visually see the end of the Sonoran trail, but it will still be a couple of Saturdays till we complete our maintenance on this trail. It's quiet and beautiful out there, but we all will be glad when we can see some Spring flowers and green growth.

Mike, Ron, John H

Stan is usually checking one of our trail counters on Saturday morning, but decided to join us today.


Norm, Bill2

JohnT, Walt, Jim - Not pictured above are Paul and Bob. They first moved a large barrel cactus and then cleared two helicopter landing pads.

I think this is a GREAT picture!
50 years from now, ancestors are going to look at this OLD picture and proudly say that these were some of the great Fountain Hills Trailblazers
Norm, Mike, Ron, JohnH, Paul, Jim, Bob, Walt, Bill, JohnT, Stan, Cliff, JohnM

Relaxing afterward with a fat unhealthy donut and having a good time.

February 17, 2018
Twelve of us had a good day working on the Sonoran Trail. There are 30 emergency markers on this trail. We started our maintenance of this trail at the North entrance which is marker 30. We stopped yesterday at marker 12 and we have passed both crossovers to the Lower Sonoran Trail already. We also installed 4 temporary signs on the Lower Sonoran Trail yesterday. One at each end of the trail and one at each crossover. This will give better information to those presently using the trail till we put permanent signs in place after the Trailhead is completed.

David, John M

Al cutting back the Cat Claw, although they did more to cut him.

Walt, David

Chuck-tell me we don't make a smooth trail. --- Yes, that is a broom in his hand!

The temporary sign at the South crossover to the upper trail
placed by Paul, Bob, and Jude.

Mike and JohnT after placing the sign at the North entrance
to the Lower Sonoran Trail.

Gary and Mike after securing the sign at the North crossover to the upper trail.

Walt, Mike, JohnT, Gary, Jude, Bob, Al, JohnM, Paul, Chuck, David

February 3, 2018
We are thoroughly spoiled weather wise. If is ever does turn cold or decides to really rain, we won't know what to do. Saturday was another beautiful morning with fourteen of us plowing on. We have completed the maintenance on just about 2/3 of the Sonoran trail. We might even have to hide behind a tree, eat donuts and coffee, and sunbathe some Saturday if we are going to stay busy till the end of April.

The rays of the Sun shine upon us: Gary, Chuck, Norm

Tommy, new recruit Mike

JohnT, JohnM, Cliff.

New recruit David, JohnS, JohnH.

Norm, Tom.

Wow, someone actually caught me working.

JohnM, JohnS, Ron, Tom, Cliff, Norm, Tommy, JohnT, Gary, Chuck, JohnH, Mike, David.

January 27, 2018
Jim Grajek filled in for me for this session and I am told that the sixteen of you that worked got quite a bit done, after you found out where all the tools were located.

JohnT, Norm, Walt, Bob, Ron, ChuckH, BillM, JohnM, JohnH, JohnS, Jude, ChuckB, Al, Cliff, Gary.

January 20, 2018
Fourteen of us finally got rained out today, but not until we put in a good mornings work. It still takes us a while to get to the section of the Sonoran trail on which we are doing maintenance, but the end result of our work is worth it.

Big Tom, Bob and Gary.

Chuck B, Walt, John H

Poor Mesquite trees, another one being attacked by Jude. Chuck H, John M, Big Al.

Jim, Tommy, John T

I attacked a Cholla patch that was in the way on an emergency helicopter landing zone. --------- or maybe it was that the patch attacked me?

John M, Chuck B, Chuck H, Gary, John H, Walt, Al, Tom, Bob, John T, Jude, Tommy, Jim, yes, that is rain in the background, and on us.

January 13, 2018
Beautiful day, tough work, great people, donuts and coffee after work. We are fortunate, doing the work what we do together! Fifteen of us worked hard and had a good time.

This portion of the Sonoran trail is very rocky. Bill, Jim, Brice.

Walt, John H, Norm, Tom,
with Tommy and Bob telling stories in the background.

Gary, Tommy, Bob, and yes, they are still telling stories.

This helicopter emergency landing zone needed some leveling and clearing for better landing and takeoff. John M, Paul attacking a cholla and Jude attacking a Mesquite tree.

Jim, Paul, Ron, John M, Jude, Tommy, Tom, Walt, Brice, Gary, Bill, John H, Bob (still trying to tell a story?)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, donut day at Bashas.

January 6, 2018
Thirteen of us took to the hills last Saturday. We bushwhacked up the hill by the water tower, having to carry our tools with us. We started to do a maintenance on the Sonoran trail beginning at the north entrance to the Preserve. This trail will not be as smooth as the Lower Sonoran Trail, but the few hundred yards that we worked on are a big improvement.

I took this picture Friday when I was up in the Preserve working on one of our trail counters.
They are presently adding a lot of dirt to bring up the level of the trailhead area.

Bob, Gary, Tom, at the trail's beginning.

Jude cutting the intruding brush...........she would rather be skiing.

Bob, Paul, Tom, Annie

Norm, Brice, John, Walt

Doug, Jude, Tom, Bill, Paul, Norm, Annie, Brice, Gary, John, Walt, Bob

November 25, 2017
We had a great small crew of 8 working on Saturday. Neither rain nor sleet or snow (or should I say boulder nor boulder or boulder) would keep these diehards away. Yes, most of our work was dealing with moving boulders (where was big Al when we really needed him), although we were able to get some finish tread work done at the beginning of this route.

Yes Paul, get that buckhorn cholla our of the way.

Jim, Walt, and Tom contemplate how to move that bolder.

Hey, this looks like too much fun.

This may still be fake news................but they did get it moved.

Dan is looking at more boulders that will need to move while John plays it safe digging in the soft dirt.

Then there is Jerry taking on that boulder with a chisel and biiiiig sledge.
He did get rid of the part sticking out.

Looking down the new trail, past town, and on to red mountain. The Preserve views are really great.

Does that guy on the right belong in this picture???
Dan, Paul, John, Tom, Jerry, Jim, Walt, Bill

November 18, 2017
What a day! Decent light wind, cool day. Hard work, and I will say that again HARD WORK! and a great deal accomplished. Most of the 16 of us that worked today probably had a rest session this afternoon. I think it will still take 2 more work days to complete this reroute adequately, one to do the final rough out and another to do the finish work. There is also some maintenance work to be done on the part of the trail below where we are working.

Jude and Paul leading the was through bushes and trees (numerous trees...........)

Al and Norm doing the lopping from the other end of our
reroute project with Cliff and Ron starting to rough in the trail.
*** Videographer Paul had the keen eye to point out one of the most amazing feats of the "Bolder day" which I somehow missed. While all of us were struggling moving rocks (boulders) with 2 or 3 rock bars, Big Al, shown in the rear of the picture above, tossed a boulder that needed to be removed, on his shoulder, and proceeded to carry it out of our way. Thanks Big Al! ***

But there are big rocks to mooooooooooooove. Walt, Ron, Al

OK, lets move them. Norm, Ron, Walt, Al

...and more trees to remove...and another rock to move.

John H and Cliff are roughing out the trail bed. Yes Cliff, that rock (boulder?) needs to be removed.

Stan and Jerry talking with a biker coming down the trail that we are rerouting.

Jim and John M working on moving rocks at the upper end of the new trail section.

Tom & Dan roughing out the trail bed at the upper end of the new section.
--- or is that Santa helping out today?

John, Walt and Gary with Gary exclaiming about that very narrow path by the bolder to his left. Maybe we should just move the bolder.

You mean this one????????? Do you have a stick of dynamite in your back pocket? ​Hey, let's just see if we can knock it loose.

OK, we knocked it loose.................now what do we do with it?

Walt decided to declare it "Walt's throne", and to leave it here to rest on.

Alright, let's get serious and move it...........................and they did!

A heck of a group today (and the picture might be better if I would get my finger out of the way).
Norm, Walt, Jim, Gary, Jerry, Al, Tom, Paul, Ron, Cliff, Stan, Jude, JohnH, Dan, JohnM

November 11, 2017
Our first day of trail building for this season was very successful. The objective was to smooth out the Easy Access trail so that wheel chairs would be able to be pushed along the trail. When the trailhead is completed, we will complete a nice entrance to this trail. At the end of this trail is a pretty spot overlooking the town below. Fourteen of us did a great job.

Walt, John, Jerry

Jerry, Doug, Bob

On the lighter side, Doug had the suggestion of the day:
"Hey Bill, why don't you get a load of sand. Dump it here, and use this as a runaway wheel chair ramp"


Jim, Jerry


Paul, Joey, Gary
Joey will be developing his final project to become an Eagle Scout and is with us today learning about trail maintenance. His project will involve organizing and managing a scout crew doing a maintenance on the Lake Overlook trail.
Jeff using his might to unearth this large rock that was in the center of the trail.

Now ain't that nice!!! Mission accomplished.

Doug, Gary, John, Bob, Paul, Tom, Walt, Jerry, Jude, Jeff, Stan, Jim, Joey

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