What Ansel Adams is to Yosemite National Park, and John Muir is to the Sierra Nevada of California, Steve Eskenazi is to Lake Havasu City. It’s not a bad legacy for a Brooklynite.
Steve Eskenazi, 67, has an enviable nomadic life. A lifelong bachelor, he lives out of a 24-ft. motorhome and has been hiking in the western national parks for the past 30 years. In the summer he moves his RV to Oregon. That way, as he put it over some breakfast bagels recently, he can “get my ocean fix.” Hiking? Not so much in the summer. “There are too many trees hiding the bears in Oregon.”
Originally from Brooklyn, he couldn’t be any more of a New Yorker. He grew up two blocks from the Coney Island Cyclone in famous Luna Park, right near Nathan’s Famous hot dogs stand. He started working at a Carvel ice cream store at age 16.
“I never had to pay for ice cream as a kid,” he boasts.
Steve first discovered Lake Havasu City in November 2000 when he came to visit a friend. He has been coming back to Crazy Horse Campgrounds on the Island to enjoy the mild winters from November to March ever since
Quick to admit his lifestyle is “not for everybody,” the retired Florida high school physics teacher with a degree in chemical engineering started off leading hikes for groups of his friends at the campground.
One day while visiting the Lake Havasu City Visitor Information Center, he met Visitor Services Director Jan Kassies. Jan immediately recruited him to update an old hiking brochure. The rest is hiking history. He turned it into a 32-page book with text and photos.
He also volunteered his time and energy to develop the vast majority of the editorial content and maps and provided many photographs contained in the Hiking section of www.golakehavasu.com. Much of the information is periodically updated to account for changing environmental conditions, such as natural erosion.
Today he leads hikes around the region. Dead Burro Canyon is his favorite. It travels through a deep scenic canyon in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, a wilderness setting where very few trails exist. Wild burro and bighorn sheep are often sighted. Steve calls it a real adventure with drop-offs and two-foot ledges.
“It’s not a walk in the park,” he says, adding, “Hiking in the Lake Havasu area is growing. People are using the trails more and more and there’s a wealth of hiking information on the CVB’s website and at the Visitor Information Center.”
Steve also has a list of “secret” hikes he doesn’t like to publicize because of limited trailhead parking. You’ll just have to get to know him better to pry those locations out of him.