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Community Teens Explore Sacred Red Mountain

The Salt River Teen Program and their hiking guide Amson Collins educates the eight Community teens about various plants and animals in the are while hiking around Red Mountain on the morning of November 4. Submitted photos.

The Salt River Teen Program took eight Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community teens on a hiking trip around Red Mountain on the morning of November 4. The teens, led by Recreation Coordinator I Kevin Riding In, Recreation Coordinator I Dashia Enos and Community Garden Tech Amson Collins, hiked roughly three miles around the mountain.

The nearly four-hour hiking adventure included learning about the cultural significance of Red Mountain, the surrounding mountains, and the plants and animals that inhabit that area. The group also hiked near Dragon’s Head and explored a cave at the base of the mountain.

The group hiked near Dragon's Head and explored this cave at the base of the mountain.
“The Teen Program likes to provide fun, safe activities for the teens. Some are fun activities, learning activities, … we like to teach them a certain skill from a cultural aspect, [and] we want them to learn life skills and things like that,” said Riding In.

It was perfect hiking weather, and the group also experienced a little rain. This provided some rejuvenation and increased the kids’ enjoyment at being outdoors. Although the sprinkles didn’t last long, it was a reminder to the group how beautiful Mother Nature really is.

The group hiked 3-miles in nearly perfect weather.
“I thought it was important to take the teens hiking up Red Mountain because it’s been their land for hundreds and thousands of years,” said Riding In. “There are a lot of plants and animals that inhabit the area that the kids should learn about. This hiking trip teaches them more about who they are as people, as O’odham and Piipaash. It’s important for them, so they can [then] teach their families and friends.

“It was a good trip. I was happy the eight teenagers showed up early on a Saturday morning.”

In December, the program will have a “Teen Lock-In,” an overnight slumber party.

If you have questions about any upcoming Recreation events, call (480) 362-6360.