Some of you have have heard that I'm moving to the Bay Area next week for an unbelievable professional opportunity. I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you with whom I have had the sincere pleasure of enjoying the great outdoors in my home state of Arizona. I've enjoyed the company of 32 individual HikeArizona.com users, and I heartily thank all of you. I also want to thank those of you whom I've never had the opportunity to hike with, but have become people I care about thanks to the interactions we've enjoyed here.
I doubt that there are many of us who enjoy and utilize this site to further our own recreation, fulfillment, knowledge, and humility who would claim that it hasn't had a positive effect upon our lives. This site has certainly changed me from a casual hiker into someone who thinks about the endeavor each and every day. I am in no way able to fully express my gratitude for all that HikeArizona.com and its myriad users have given me.
I do want to expressly thank a few individuals for going above and beyond in terms of making me the hiking maniac that I am today.
I thank Chris, The Stillernator, for setting up so many Sunday hiking trips. I have met so many great people, and enjoyed so many adventures courtesy of his efforts. Chris comes up with cool hikes that attract eager hikers, and ALWAYS drives. I can't say the same for my efforts. I've hiked with him on the hikes he's set up including: Pine Canyon, Oak Springs-BC Rock Wall Canyon, Mazatzal Divide, Devil's Chasm, East Mountain in my favorite the Pinals, Mount Kimball, and South Fork - Gold Ridge in the Mazatzals.
I also want to thank Ron rdavisiii and Wally wallyfrack for getting me hooked on doing hikes set up via this site. I believe that Ron set up that hike to Humphrey's Peak that took place on the Fourth of July way back in 2007. I thought that I was going to die halfway up. It was a great time, and it was a pivotal moment that greatly helped propel me to the point where I am today. Those gentlemen showed me how cool it was to enjoy that type of meet-up hike, and I've never looked back.
However, the person I want to thank the most is Joe Bartels. I'm confident in writing that none of us would be here enjoying this site and our state's fine hiking opportunities as much as we do were it not for his efforts. I know that I'm not alone in thanking him for creating and fostering the community that is HikeArizona.com. As I'm moving to the Bay Area, I've been checking out hiking websites for that area. I keep thinking to myself, "this Cali site looks like it was created by a 6th-grader." Then I realize that it is not a reflection upon the Californian who put his/her time and effort into that site, but rather the exemplary job that Joe has done to create this site that we all enjoy and wrap our arms around. Folks, there ain't nothing better out there so enjoy the heck out of it. Please do whatever you can to make this site better so that the person who types into Google "Hike Arizona" will enjoy all that we enjoy courtesy of Joe B. Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and feet, and damn do they hurt after today's hike), Joe. I encourage all users to support this site however they can. Share your stories, GPS routes, knowledge, and whatever else one sees fit in order to further the cause that so many of us have bought into.
I'll still be on this site sharing my adventures in California so feel free to check them out. Anyone looking to hike in Northern California or seeking some advice can PM me, and I'll happily respond. I ain't going nowhere, folks, except to a new set of hiking adventures.
Again, Thank You Joe Bartels, and I hope none of you forget that!
"Oak-town is the city of dope...couldn't be saved by John the Pope"
Fran & Kimo please keep watching over us with your aloha spirit so that we may remain safe. A Hui Hou Kakou