Camelback Mountain's Echo Canyon Trail to Re-Open on January 15

City of Phoenix
Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain is scheduled to re-open to the public on January 15 with a new trailhead, restroom facilities, and expanded parking lot.

This looks like a firm date (following an "oops" moment in September). Expected temperatures in the low 70s should help make it a great day for a hike.

But leave the pooch at home, at least for the next six months.

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Phoenix Feels About 110 Degrees Warmer Than Minneapolis Today

Smabs Sputzer via Flickr

Just to illustrate how miserable other parts of the country are right now, it feels about 110 degrees warmer in Phoenix than it does in Minneapolis, at the time of this post.

It's around -12 degrees in Minneapolis, according to AccuWeather, but it feels like it's about -40 degrees. In Phoenix, it's about 64 degrees, and it feels about 70 degrees.

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Deaths Near "The Wave" Formation in Arizona Prompts New Sign, More Warnings by BLM

The Wave
A new sign and more safety warnings are coming from the Bureau of Land Management following the deaths of three hikers this summer near "The Wave" formation near the Arizona-Utah border.

Following an analysis of the tragedies, the BLM says today in a news release that several steps will be taken immediately. They include:

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Grand Canyon Guides Duane Hager and Michael Stephens Charged for Unauthorized, 90-Client Rim-to-Rim Day Hike

Image: Ray Stern
View from North Kaibab trail.
Federal authorities have charged two would-be Grand Canyon guides for taking 90 clients from the Valley on an unauthorized, rim-to-rim day hike.

Duane Hager, a Litchfield Park real estate agent, and his business partner Michael Stephens, the principals of Rim to Rim Adventures, face four counts related to defrauding the government, failing to obtain a commercial-use permit and lying to forest rangers.

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Stanford Wero and Tamara Lake of Flagstaff Convicted for Taking 8-Month-Old Baby on Long Grand Canyon Hike

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Image: Ray Stern
Authorities say Stanford Wero and Tamara Lake took their 8-month-old baby on a long Grand Canyon hike and became too exhausted to hike out with the tot.
Stanford Wero, Tamara Lake, and Lake's uncle, Vinton Whitehat, are three reasons why signs at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon warn people not to try to walk all the way to the Colorado River and back in one day.

After setting out down the South Kaibab trail and hiking to the river with Wero and Lake's 8-month-old daughter, the trio experienced severe exhaustion and hunger.

Wero ate part of the baby's food, records show. Then, concluding there was no way they'd make it back up if they had to carry the baby, they gave her to a stranger.

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James Reich of Sedona Hiking Adventures Sentenced to Jail and Probation for Illegal Guide Service

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James Reich, owner of Sedona Hiking Adventures, has been sentenced to two days in jail for running an illegal guide service on national forest lands.

A Sedona-based hiking guide has been sentenced to two days in jail and is banned from national forests for six months after getting caught running a tour service on federal lands without a permit.

James Reich of Sedona Hiking Adventures is also prohibited from working as a guide in national forests for the duration of his 18-month probation, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Reich's Web site states that he guides folks to numerous locales in northern Arizona for $35 an hour, per person. He founded the company in 2004 due to a love for the outdoors.

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Grand Canyon Torture Hikes; Police Report Describes Boys' Summer of Abuse by Grandpa

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Three boys whose grandfather forced them on torturous marches across tough Grand Canyon trails told rangers their entire summer had been filled with travel and abuse.

The three boys -- 8, 9 and 12 -- told how their grandpa, Christopher Carlson of Indianapolis, injured them repeatedly during trips to various states, Mexico, Jamaica and several South American countries.

It's unknown where the boys reside or why they were with their grandfather, who's now in jail in connection with possible child abuse charges. A police report mentions that the childrens' mother may have known of some of the abuse. The 9-year-old told a ranger that his mother had told Carlson "that the boys 'better be getting air' if he is choking them."

The report, which you can read below, goes into sickening detail of how the maniacal grandpa pushed the boys to the brink of death up and down the canyon in temperatures that soared over 100 degrees.

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Lenore Groundwater, 93, of Green Valley, Reels in Big One To Win Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby in Alaska

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Image: Paula Groundwater
Lenore Groundwater, 93, of Green Valley, won a famous fish Derby in Alaska last weekend by reeling in a 16.58-pound salmon.

A 93-year-old great-grandma from Green Valley reeled in a 16.58-pound fish last Saturday to become queen for a day in Alaska's famed Valdez Silver Salmon Derby.

Lenore Groundwater beat out 797 other competitors to win the women's one-day Derby, and her catch may yet finish first in the overall Silver Salmon Derby, which ends September 4.

True, the fish wasn't anywhere near the size of the salmon shark caught in Alaska two years ago by Joe Pinto of Scottsdale, but Groundwater's victory also made headlines in the Great North, where fishing is serious business. And it's worth repeating that this awesome fisherchick is 93.

When asked in an interview posted on YouTube, see below, how she liked the attention, the frail-looking oldtimer replied, "It's probably not helping my high blood pressure."

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Gilbert Woman Attacked by Bear Dies After Suffering Brain Hemorrhage

Lana Hollingsworth
A Gilbert woman who was attacked by a black bear near Pinetop last month died yesterday after suffering a brain hemorrhage over the weekend.

Lana Hollingsworth, 61, was mauled by the bear on June 28, as she she took her dog on a late-night walk in the Sports Village area of the Pinetop Country Club.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the family said bacteria from the bear's paw had attacked Hollingsworth's brain. However, no official cause of death was given.

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Morning Poll: Are Hippies to Blame for Wallow Fire?

The enormous Wallow Fire continues to rage in eastern Arizona, and it has rekindled the debate over whether environmentalists are to blame for wildfires.

Over the years, environmentalists have filed lawsuits that put restrictions on loggers who clear a lot of the dry brush from the forests. They say "old-growth" logging puts endangered species in the area, like the Mexican spotted owl, at risk.

Many area residents feel that the build up of dry wood on the forest's floor -- caused by restrictions placed on logging companies by environmentalists' lawsuits -- makes fighting blazes like the Wallow Fire more difficult.

In other words, many feel that the dry timber that fuels these giant fires is the result of hippies who want to save a few owls.

Environmentalists say that theory is just a scare tactic.

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