Hiking For Families – Upcoming Presentation

This family is extremely fertile.

This family is extremely fertile.

Isn’t that family cute?

Bring your cute family this Saturday to the North Mountain Visitor Center where I’ll be presenting my list of recommended trails in the area that are great for families.

Family Hiking by Lilia Menconi

Saturday, March 7, 9:30 a.m.

North Mountain Visitor Center: 12950 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85029

After the presentation, be sure to stick around for a chance to meet other local authors. I’ll have books available for sale and signing. Hope to see you there!

The February 20’s Are Almost Here

A professional lady reflects on her busy professional life on her after-work hike.

A professional lady reflects on her busy professional life on her hike after a long day of being a professional.

Every year, I get very excited for February 20th. Because in Phoenix, this means the sun starts setting after 6 p.m.

And for a professional lady (by position, not personality) like me, this means I get to hike after work.

In the winter months, the sun is sadly setting during my commute home and there’s no realistic chance that I’ll get out on a trail before dark. So I’m limited to weekend hikes only and that is not helping my postpartum body image AT ALL.

But starting at the February 20’s, I can hike every night if I want to!

And you can, too. Here are my tips for getting the most out of evening hikes in the February 20’s (and through the spring).

Start Planning. Circle February 20th on your calendar and spend the next few weeks figuring out which trail(s) will work best for you. Visit them on the weekends so you become familiar with them in advance.

Consider Location. I’ve found that choosing a trailhead that’s close to the workplace (which may not be close to home) is best. This minimizes the drive time while the precious sun is still up.

Don’t Get Crazy. The average hiking rate on a moderate trail for an adult is 2 miles per hour. So don’t get over-ambitious with the mileage because it gets dark quick out there, friends.

Do The Math. Barbara hikes at 2.3 miles per hour. If the sun sets at 6:17 p.m. and Barbara arrives at the trailhead at 5:05 p.m., how many miles can she hike before the sun goes down? (You’ll want to do similar calculations for yourself.)

Get the Gear. When you leave your house in the morning, grab your gear (backpack, hiking clothes, water bottle, and shoes). As soon as you’re off the clock, it’s time to get naked.

Get Naked. Having to change your clothes away from home is the big drawback here. You’re either changing clothes at a workplace bathroom risking spandexed-butt exposure to co-workers or you’re changing clothes in your car at a trailhead risking indecent exposure. Take your pick.

Give It Up. If work runs late and you don’t get out the door in time, abandon your plans. Maybe go for a jog around your neighborhood instead. Hiking in the dark can be dangerous on steep or unfamiliar trails. Don’t get stupid.

Be Safe. I have to say this: Know the trail, pack plenty of water (1L for every 2 miles), and tell someone where you’re hiking.

Don’t know where to go? Leave me a comment, tell me where you work, and I’ll find something for ya.

Like this? Want more? Buy my book!

I’m Back! And I’m Speaking at REI!

Well, hello.

When you are your own unpaid blogger, you get a really generous self-imposed maternity leave.

Now that I’m getting back to the swing of things (oh, who am I kidding? There’s no going back!), I’ve booked a presentation at REI to talk all about maternity and postpartum hiking. Read below for details and links.

Cute, right?

Cute, right?

Hiking for Moms and Moms To Be

Thursday, January 22nd at the Tempe REI location

Thursday, January 29th at the PV REI location

Description: Attention all moms who love the outdoors! Award winning writer and local hiking book author, Lilia Menconi, presents her most recent discoveries of local trails that are pregnancy and postpartum friendly. With an emphasis on the Phoenix Mountains, Menconi will review her favorite hikes she recommends per trimester and for moms who are ready to hit the trails with a baby in tow. Lilia Menconi is the author of Take a Hike Phoenix, a hiking guidebook featuring 81 trail reviews of hikes within a two hour drive of the city. She recently hiked her way through pregnancy and is now testing the trails as a new mom. She’ll share her experience as well as basic safety information, needed gear, and a few personal stories of triumphs (and the occasional mishap).

Be sure to register at the links above and I hope to see you there!

Upcoming Event: See Me at North Mountain Visitor Center

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

This is me at my last “public appearance”. This time around, I will look much more pregnant.

If you missed out on my book signing and speaking events for Take a Hike Phoenix at the beginning of the year, fear not! I’ll be getting up in front of a crowd to talk about hiking very soon. Wanna come?

Here are the details…

Brown Bag Workshop: Lilia Menconi presents “Top Ten, One to Ten”

Saturday, August 2nd

Noon to 1pm


North Mountain Visitor Center

12950 North 7th Street

This event is just for fun so there’s no expectation to purchase a book or get it signed. You can just show up, bring a snack, listen, and leave without talking to anyone!

(Or, if you like, you can bring or buy a book and I’ll happily sign it for you. No pressure. I swear.)

I’ll be sharing my go-to presentation about my top 10 favorite hikes in The Valley that vary from one mile to ten miles. I’ll also run through a few tips for beginners, hiking safety, and trail etiquette guidelines.

Hope to see you there!

People Are So Nice: Ryan & Denise Photography at Take a Hike Phoenix Book Signing

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

Ryan and Denise (the ones holding books) are waaaaaaaaaay nicer than me and Lou (the ones not holding books).

I consider myself to be a nice person. But then someone does something nice for me and I realize I have some room for improvement.

Last Friday at Changing Hands Bookstore as I was blabbing through my presentation to a healthy crowd, I heard the unmistakable sound of camera shutters clicking.

And it wasn’t the fake sound an iPhone makes. It was the sound of real cameras.

I scanned the crowd and saw our pals Ryan and Denise crouching in the aisles, snapping photos. These two generous people (and fabulous photographers — they shot our wedding a few years ago — look at their website and hire them immediately) surprised me by documenting the event.

I really couldn’t believe it. Talk about the nicest people in the world!

Here are just a few images they so expertly captured that night.

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

In case there’s any confusion about the location.

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

PacMan mouth.

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

I made those!

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

My captive audience…these people are friends and family so they have to pay attention.

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

If I’m overly-cheery, maybe people will like me?

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

My hair appointment was the next day. Please don’t judge me.

Image courtesy of Ryan & Denise Photography (ryananddenise.com)

This one’s my favorite. It makes me feel real good about myself.

Enormous thanks and lots of hugs to Ryan and Denise! Here’s their website link again.

I’m not kidding…hire them immediately. They are the BEST!

Book Author (Me) Chokes at Book Signing

Here I am. Trying not to be awkward. I failed.

Here I am. Trying not to be awkward. I failed.

I hate it when I say the wrong thing.

I’m just obsessive and self-critical enough to mentally churn over a comment in my mind for years (I wish I could say days). Often, my thoughts drift to review a robust roster of moments throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood in which I’ve made a complete fool of myself or blurted something inappropriate.

I’m reviewing the roster now and though I realize it would make this blog 10x better if I shared one, I can’t. I’m too ashamed.

So instead, I’ll talk about my most recent flub at my book signing the other night.

After a well-received presentation to a full room, a very nice gentleman shyly asked me to sign a copy of Take a Hike Phoenix then practically whispered, “Where would you recommend someone go around this area for a beginner hike?”

I’m probably reading too much into it but his question really touched me. This is exactly the person I want to reach! My post-book mission is to engage with other hikers (and especially people just thinking about hiking) to remove any fears so they are prepared and inspired to try something new.

I wish I could tell you I seized this opportunity.

Public speaking makes me wiggle a lot. Now I only have blurry photos.

Public speaking makes me wiggle a lot. Now I only have blurry photos.

Instead, my mind went blank and I weakly responded, “There are portions of Trail 100 that are very flat that you could take from Dreamy Draw but they’re not specifically outlined in my book so, uh, you’ll need to buy this other map and uh…you could follow my blog?”


On the drive home, I felt great about the presentation but I couldn’t stop kicking myself. I should have been able to answer his question. I should have told him about Trail 8 (on page 56) from the 40th Street/Shea trailhead  and recommended he only follow it to the first bench because that would have been PERFECT for a beginner looking for a hike in the area.

And I shouldn’t be discouraging someone from trying a new trail. Even it if was an accident.

Trust me, I’ve had waaaaay worse social flubs in my time but in this case, I may have squandered a real opportunity to help someone.

“You should blog about it,” my husband said. “Then maybe he’ll see the blog and you can make it right.”

So there ya go.

Like this? If want more personal stories about my crazy emotional interpretations of life’s incidents, check out my other less hike-oriented and more PG-13-rated blog iguessiwriteforfree.com.

Book Signing at Changing Hands Bookstore!

Eeep! I'm so excited! This makes me feel legit.

Eeep! I’m so excited! This makes me feel legit.

So if you missed my REI events, it’s totally cool man. I’m thrilled to spread the word that my next book signing event is at the one and only Changing Hands Bookstore!

Friday, March 14th
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 South McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
Event Link

I will be making a short presentation prior to signing copies of Take a Hike Phoenix. Additional books will be available for purchase at Changing Hands. No RSVP is necessary but click here if you’d like to add it to your Facebook events.

Hope to see you there!