Saturday, April 19, 2014


During the last week of March the school I teach at was out of session. Being that it was turning into such a long winter we decided that some sunshine and warmth were in order. So, we packed the bags and flew down to AZ for the week. I'll probably do several posts, but as always I have a difficult coming up with narratives and deciding what photos to use. Consider this a work in progress that begins with somewhat of a photo dump. I'll continue to add narrative as the weekend progresses. I just haven't had the time nor the ambition as of late. Hope you enjoy the photos.

The first couple of days of our trip were spent in the Phoenix area visiting with my wife Patti's mother and step-father. Time there was pretty laid back in general. Breakfast and dinner outside on the patio while watching and listening to desert birds. We did some local sight seeing and generally spent a lot of time hanging with the local senior crowd.

My first trip down to AZ was about 13-14 years ago and I absolutely fell in love with the desert. I've always impressed with the variety of plant and animal life, but certainly would not want to live there year round, even if it is a "dry heat". A desert rat I am not, but I certainly love reading Edward Abbey :)


The skies in Phoenix were just like this everyday we were there.


Our original plan was to spend a day hiking in the Superstition Mountains which are on the east side of the valley near Apache Junction. However due to time constraints and the need we felt to visit with Patti's parents we never made it. We did, however, get to spend a day hiking in the White Tank Mountains which are located just west of Sun City.

The terrain is very rugged, but absolutely beautiful. I would certainly love to make it down here sometime when the desert is in full bloom. I keep hearing about how wonderful it is to experience this event. Unfortunately we seem to just miss it every time we venture down here.

The ancient petroglyphs found in The White Tank Mountains date back thousands of years to the time the Hohokam Indians lived in the area. They believe some may date back as far as 10,000 years.

 "Messages From The Past"


"My Intrepid Explorer"

Entering the high desert country near Verde Valley

I've always been fascinated by Sedona and the geology of the surrounding area. Sedona is at the edge of the Mogollon Rim which bisects Arizona from northwest to southeast. The rim itself is the eroded edge of the Colorado Plateau which covers approximately 130,000 square miles and makes up the Four Corner Region of the desert southwest.

The plateau sits at approximately 7,000 ft. in elevation and in some places along the rim it make a precipitous drop of nearly 2,000 ft. The area is littered with amazing rock formations and canyons.

"Damn Big Bull"


"Oak Creek"
This happened to be the most water we saw on our entire trip.

"The Walls of Oak Creek Canyon"

Of course...I trip up Oak Creek Canyon should always be finished off with a visit to it's namesake brewing company, for the pleasantries of a cold beer or two and some good food :)

"Oak Creek Brewing"

"Washing Down the Dust"

On our final day in Sedona I made a last minute decision to do what I would normally consider as breaking one of my rules of travel..."Doing the touristy thing." It turned out to be the best call of the trip and was well worth it. Our last day had been windy, cool, and overcast. Conditions that were not conducive to producing many good photos. I was hoping for that one shot of a desert sunset that eluded me all week long.

As the tour progressed it was looking more and more like I was not going to get that photo opp that I had hoped for, but it was none the less a very fun evening and our guide Gonzo was very informative about the area and is also a big mountain biker. Most of our conversation revolved around desert mountain biking and we shared some of our own experiences. He is going to be a team mechanic for a RAAM team this summer.

"The Intrepid Explorer and The Pink Jeep"

As the evening progressed it was looking more and more like a sunset dud, but then a narrow band of open sky appeared on the far western horizon. Gonzo new of a high spot were we may be able to capture some photos in the fading light and he raced to get us there.

His timing could not have been more impeccable and we were treated to a spectacular final sunset in the high desert.


1 comment:

Doug said...

Wonderful pictures. Arizona is such a great place to play (in the winter, not during the summer months).