Boot Prints: Rob Simms

Rob Simms hiking in Death Valley (photo by Myrna Simms)

Diana Smith

Rob Simms grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., in a self-described “blue-collar” family. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from Michigan State University and served four years in the United States Air Force. He has been married to Myrna, whom he met while working at MSU, for 35 years. They have three grown daughters and two adult granddaughters.

In Michigan, Rob was an avid bicyclist, logging about 2,000 miles a year. He made multiple rides from Lansing to Mackinaw, ranging from 280 to 400 miles. He belonged to local bike clubs and led numerous rides. Here in Arizona, Rob and Myrna are “obsessive” daily walkers, logging about 35 miles each week. They have walked and hiked a whopping 13,000 miles since 2010!

Despite never having hiked before he retired in 2010, Rob worked to conquer his minor fear of heights and crossed the Grand Canyon twice, staying overnight at Phantom Ranch. He became a guide in the Sun City Hiking Club in 2011, where he and Myrna had a seasonal home until 2014. He worked on membership and on their website, helping to develop a new hike posting system using Google Calendar, moving away from paper. Later, after moving, he worked with Dave Corrigan to implement the system for SaddleBrooke’s club.

Rob became a hiking guide with SaddleBrooke Hiking Club in 2014 and still guides about twice a month, mostly C- and D-level hikes, with the occasional B thrown in. He is happy to report no rattlesnake encounters so far this year! Some of his favorite hikes are the Lost Dutchman Loop in the Superstition Mountains, Molino Basin on the Arizona Trail, La Milagrosa Canyon on Tucson’s east side, and Gardner Canyon near Sonoita where historic hydro-mining equipment can still be seen.

Rob served as associate chief guide (2016-2017), chief guide (2017-2018), and vice president (2019-2020), becoming SBHC president in 2020-2021 just as the COVID pandemic was descending and was instrumental in suspending hikes and membership dues for a year. While he sees more technology and automation in the future of SaddleBrooke Hiking Club, Rob feels it is especially important to make sure the “right people get on the right hikes.” He hopes the club’s membership continues to expand, bringing in new SaddleBrooke residents and more younger people.

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