Activity Guidelines

Member Guidelines for AHTC Activities

AHTC leaders plan and manage a large number and wide variety of activities for the benefit of members. These notes will help you better understand how things work so you can take full advantage of the opportunities.

1.1 Basic ideas
  • Each month we post an activity schedule and a description of each activity in our newsletter and on our website. You are welcome to come along on as many activities as you wish. In most cases, no pre-registration is necessary; you just show up at the designated meeting place and sign the activity sign-up and liability waiver sheet. There are no fees for members.
  • Each activity is conducted by an experienced activity leader, who in most cases has previously hiked on the designated trail or has ridden on the bike route. In some cases the trip is described as exploratory, which indicates no pre-hike was done.
  • Most activities are single day outings at destinations within easy driving distance. When the activity location is outside the immediate area, we meet at a convenient local spot and carpool from there to the destination. This reduces gas expense and pollution and also provides an opportunity for talking with other club members. Riders are expected to contribute for gas expenses.
  • We also conduct longer trips at more distant, out-of-state, and international locations. These trips involve overnight lodging and other expenses such as transportation, park fees, tours, etc. Participants register for the trip and pay a fee in advance so the trip leader can make reservation commitments for the group.
  • Non-member guests are welcome on many activities as long as they are properly equipped and prepared. A modest guest fee is charged. Events restricted to "Members Only" will be specifically designated in the newsletter description.
  • We welcome member's comments and suggestions for future activities, and are always looking for new activity leaders. Call the Activity Chairperson or the President.
1.2 Guidelines and recommendations
  • We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. Each activity is assigned a difficulty rating to help you select activities that are appropriate for your experience and physical condition. The rating system is printed in the newsletter. It is important that you pay close attention to the difficulty rating and be realistic about your readiness.
    • The description will often contain other clues such as the pace and the trail or road conditions. When we go to the mountain areas, elevation becomes an important factor.
    • At the meeting place, the activity leader will make a judgment about readiness, and may not allow you to participate if there is concern that the activity could endanger your safety or spoil the experience for other hikers.
    • If you have a question about the difficulty of an activity, call the leader in advance.
  • Completing outdoor activities safely requires appropriate equipment and clothing and sufficient water, electrolytes, and food. It is your responsibility to come to the meeting place properly equipped.
    • Equipment includes such things as lightweight bicycle, helmet, gloves, hiking boots, water bottles or hydration systems, sun hat, sunscreen, rain gear, and walking stick.
    • Food includes trail snacks and lunch. Alcohol is prohibited on AHTC activities.
    • If you have a question about equipment, water, electrolytes, etc. please call the leader in advance - don't wait until you get to the meeting place.
  • During the hike or bike ride, the leader will define the rules and determine the route, the pace, the stopping places, and the turnaround point. We prefer to keep the group together during the activity. To manage a large group or to accommodate a group with a wide range of skills, the leader may break into smaller groups and appoint a co-leader. The leader will often appoint a "sweep", who stays at the back of the group to make sure no one is left behind.
    • If you step off the trail for a pit stop or photograph, leave some visible evidence on the trail so the sweep knows to wait for you.
    • If you become sick or injured, advise the leader early so he/she can help you before the situation becomes more serious.
    • If you decide to deviate from the plan, by taking a different route, extending the route, or returning early, advise the leader or the sweep directly.
  • Our activity leaders are club members and are unpaid volunteers who do this because they enjoy it. You should expect that they have outdoor experience in the Arizona environment, are familiar with the specific activity destination, and have a mature concern for the safety and enjoyment of participants. However, they are not professional leaders or trip planners, and are usually not medically trained or first-aid certified.
  • Outdoor activities in rugged and remote terrain involve some degree of risk, but those who enjoy the outdoors prepare themselves physically, acquire the proper equipment, bring adequate food and water, and readily accept that risk. It is important for you to realize that you are personally responsible for your own readiness and safety. The activity sign-up sheet includes a liability waiver. When you sign-in, you are acknowledging and accepting the risk and releasing the leader and the club from liability. You should read the liability waiver and think about it before signing. The basic idea is "Hike and Bike at your own risk".
  • Car pool drivers are volunteers. Riders are expected to share gas expenses. You are not obligated to car pool and may drive your own vehicle if you prefer. At the meeting place the activity leader will request volunteer drivers and will state an estimated return time and a recommended gas expense amount based on the club's policy. In many cases, the group will stop for refreshments or a meal on the return trip. For these reasons, participants should make their own decisions about riding and choice of drivers.
  • AHTC is a family friendly club and many members have children wanting to participate. However, many of our activities are not suitable for children. The newsletter activity description will specifically note when this is the case. The activity leader will make the judgment in individual cases and may deny participation of children if there is concern that the activity would endanger their safety or spoil the experience for other participants. If you bring children please consider these guidelines:
    • Use your judgment and bring only children capable of keeping up with adults.
    • Keep children in sight and under control at all times.
    • Parents are solely liable for injuries to their children or caused by their children.
    • If you have any questions, please call the activity leader in advance.
  • Members may bring dogs on some activities at the activity leader's discretion. When dogs are not appropriate, the newsletter activity description will note this. If you bring a dog please consider these guidelines:
    • Use your judgment and bring only dogs capable of keeping up with humans.
    • Dogs must be kept leashed and under control at all times.
    • Dog owners must clean up dog waste and carry it out of the activity area.
    • Dog owners are solely responsible for injuries caused by their dog.
1.3 Special Guidelines for longer trips
  • In order to assure a high quality travel experience for members and to limit financial exposure by the club, trip leaders prepare a written trip plan and budget for review and approval by the Activity Chairperson before offering the trip or collecting money from participants.
  • Trip leaders announce their trips in the newsletter many months in advance of the trip date. In our experience, trips are more manageable and more enjoyable for participants when the group size is limited to 20 or fewer people. Therefore is important to contact the leader and sign up early. When the trip limit is reached, the leader will maintain a waiting list.
    • Don't be discouraged if you are on the waiting list. Participant cancellations often occur as the trip date approaches.
  • Trip leaders usually make group reservations for lodging, campgrounds, transportation, and tours well in advance of the trip date. This often yields discounts and other benefits, and keeping rooms in reasonable proximity helps when coordinating activities and meals. Leaders therefore need a down payment at the time you sign up, with the remaining payment collected sometime before the trip date. When you sign up you will receive a detailed statement about payments and cancellation rules. It is very important that you read these rules carefully to avoid misunderstandings about refunds in the event you have to cancel later.
    • We discourage participants from making separate arrangements at the same destination and joining the group for activities. If there is a question, discuss this with the leader.
  • International trips are more complicated. Payments and cancellation rules are more complex. The leader will advise about foreign travel, insurance, medical shots, money conversion, valid passport or other documentation, etc. It is important to communicate with the leader if you plan to deviate from the trip plan or make a personal trip extension beyond the club's planned trip.
  • If the announcement says "Interest Only" it means the leader is trying to determine if there are enough interested members to warrant the considerable effort and perhaps financial commitment to put together the trip. It is important to communicate your interest right away. Note that expressing interest is not a commitment on your part and does not guarantee you a place on the trip. You must subsequently sign-up with the leader on the date specified in the newsletter.
  • The trip leader will usually hold a pre-trip meeting several weeks before the trip date. At that meeting you will discuss specifics on travel routes, car pooling, lodging and roommates, eating arrangements, activity plans, equipment requirements, and details for meeting at the destination. You are not obligated to carpool or drive in caravan.
  • During the trip, there may be several parallel activities each day to suit the wide range of interests and capabilities of the participants. The trip leader will provide overall coordination of lodging, transportation, and activities but may designate separate leaders for individual activities.
  • Participants have considerable flexibility during the trip, and are not obligated to join in every group activity. Leaders often plan a "free day", where participants make their own choices. However, participants must clearly communicate to the leader when they are deviating from the group and are operating on their own.
  • Trip leaders often hold a post-trip party several weeks after the trip. This is a chance to share photographs and recall experiences on the trip.