Dear Mikey,

I have lived in Ahwatukee my whole life, and one advantage that I have been blessed to have is great trails around the mountains that surround the Ahwatukee area.

I have been hiking since I was a little kid and really enjoy it. However, lately I am noticing something that is really disappointing me. When I have been going on hikes (and I go once a day), over the past few months, there is suddenly a ton of trash everywhere on the trails. People are leaving their water bottles, Power Bar wrappers, protein shake containers as well as beer bottles all along the trails to where it is starting to ruin my enjoyment of hikes. I used to be able to just hike and enjoy the beauty of the trails and now I am finding myself bringing an extra bag with me to collect all of the trash that I find. The sad part is I actually fill a plastic bag all the way full with all of the trash that I find.

Do people not realize that they are ruining one of Arizona’s natural wonders of hiking, let alone Ahwatukee’s? — Chris G.


Dear Chris,

That is disappointing that people are not picking up their trash along the trails. Aside from it being disappointing, it could also be dangerous. For example, if someone left a glass bottle near a trail and the wind blew it over to where it broke, a dog hiking with its owner could get glass caught in their paws, or a child could somehow come across the glass and cut themselves.

Ahwatukee does have beautiful trails like you mentioned, but the only way we are all going to continue to have these beautiful trails is if we all do our part. For example, if someone brings a water bottle with them while hiking on a trail, they should be responsible enough to bring the water bottle back down the trail and throw it in a garbage/recycle bin. The same should go for wrappers and other trash items. It is not fair that other people have to pick up trash left behind by others just because they were lazy and did not feel like throwing away their trash.

We all live here, so therefore we all have to hold ourselves accountable and be responsible. If you don’t think you can carry an empty wrapper down the mountain or hold on to your empty water bottle while hiking, then you should not bring anything like that on the mountain with you. One can easily just bring a water backpack with them so they can stay hydrated that way. And if they do have food wrappers, they can just zip them up in their bag and throw their trash away later.

You are right, Chris. By having trash on the trails it ruins everyone’s enjoyment of hiking. Let’s all come together as a community and pick up after ourselves and our animals, and not trash our mountains. This way we can all enjoy hiking!


Dear Mikey,

My son attends a school here in Ahwatukee and the other day he came home with dog waste on his shoe. When I asked how he stepped in dog waste, he told me that he stepped on it while playing soccer at lunch on the field at recess. I couldn’t believe it when he told me, but I have another friend whose daughter goes to a different school and she said she walked out to the recess field to pick up her daughter early one day and said she spotted a pile of dog waste where the kids were playing as well.

What are people thinking? — Sarah


Dear Sarah,

What are people thinking is right. There are signs posted at various school sites that specifically say to pick up your dog’s waste. So, the fact that people are not picking up their dog’s waste, despite the signs being posted, is just showing that they are not being responsible.

What’s disappointing is the fact that they are not even thinking about what their actions will consequent in. For example, here you are as a mother on the other side of all of this. Because someone decided to go on school property after hours and let their dog go to the bathroom and not clean it up, now your son who was just innocently playing soccer at recess like every child has a right to, accidentally steps in it and then has to carry it around with him for the duration of school, only to bring it home for you to clean up. I can totally understand your frustration.

We as the community need to understand what the consequences of our actions will be before we make decisions. If we don’t think about the consequences then how can we make responsible decisions? That is just it, we can’t.

If various people at various Ahwatukee schools are complaining about dog waste issues, then obviously this is becoming a problem. If you are a dog owner please bring a bag to pick up after your dog. By leaving it on school property, you are just waiting to cause something bad to happen. And I am not just talking about kids coming home to their parents with dirty shoes. But more along the lines of what if a child slips in it and touches it, then eats lunch afterwards without washing their hands? How would you feel if someone didn’t pick up their dog waste and YOUR child was the one who stepped in it, slipped in it, or even touched it? Chances are you would probably not be a happy parent.

Please pick up after your pets and do the responsible thing, as well as do not leave any trash where kids play. School custodians have enough on their plate as it is and it is not their responsibility to go out and check for something that should not even be there in the first place.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or

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