Three Bloggers, Three Cameras, One Desert

Wilderness, wild horses, pristine waters, and adventure await, all within a mere thirty minute drive away from the hustle and bustle of the big city of Phoenix, Arizona. I always enjoy my time exploring the far east side of the Phoenix valley, and my recent excursion with blog friends did not disappoint.

wild horses against a field of yellow poppies near Phoenix, Arizona
Salt River wild horses, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

A blogger meet-up

First, I’ll need to set the stage. It was the last week of February and the first pleasant weather of the month. What a crazy winter we’ve had in the desert southwest this year. The wonderful weather was perfect timing for my cyber friend Teri to come to Arizona for a visit.

three blogging gals with wild horses in the background
Nancy, Teri, me, wild horses in the background

Teri and I have followed each other’s blog for over five years, yet this would be our first connection in person.

Let’s add in another blogger, Nancy. Again, she and I started off as cyber friends via our blogs, but since we live only a ten-minute drive away from one another, we’ve socialized regularly.

So, there you have your three bloggers; Nancy, Teri, and me. Our common thread is blogging and a passion for photography. Therefore, our get together had to be centered around gathering blog material and capturing interesting photographs. Oh, we’ll add in a little goofing around just for fun.

It was a sunny Monday morning when I picked up Nancy at her place then jumped on the interstate to head to the FAR southeast side of the Phoenix valley. Nancy and I live on the far north end of the valley. Seriously Teri … could you have picked a hotel any further away? Just asking! 😏 An hour plus drive and a few hugs later, the three of us, along with our three cameras, were on our way in search of wild horses.

More driving, too much talking, distracted driver, missed exits, turned around BUT not lost 🀣 … we eventually made it to our first stop along the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest.

An egret lands along the shore of the Salt River near Phoenix Arizona. Snow capped Four Peaks can be seen in the distance.

Water is life

There’s a saying in the west, “Whiskey’s fer drink’n, and water’s fer fight’n over“. Water is a precious commodity in America’s desert southwest, and anytime one stumbles upon a body of water, it’s a special treat. And the Salt River is indeed a special treat in an otherwise dry landscape.

Through a series of dams creating reservoirs, the Salt River provides water to the Phoenix valley, as well as local wildlife. The wildlife and beautiful scenery were our focus of the day, and we really got lucky scoring a fantastic day.

Our first stop was a simple picnic area just off the highway. Unfortunately, densely covered tall reeds obstructed any photographic view of the water, but our second stop had these three bloggers doing a happy dance. Teri was busy photographing reflections in the water while Nancy was enamored with Four Peaks covered in snow, and of course, it was all about the shorebirds for me.

We could’ve spent hours here just exploring and taking photographs, but we were on a mission which included tracking down a herd of wild horses.

Our next stop was at the Coon Bluff Loop picnic area. I immediately zeroed in on a small group of photographers with long camera lenses standing near the river. There’s something about living the RV life that transforms a normally shy introverted individual into an out-going stranger approaching person. Stranger danger … what’s that? 🀣 After a brief chit-chat with one of the wildlife photographers, we took his advice and were on our way up the road to the location he shared. I never did figure out what they were photographing at Coon Bluff.

Supposedly, the guy had spent that morning photographing some wild horses near Saguaro Lake. So, that’s where we decided to go. We hoped he wasn’t sending us on a wild goose chase.

Siesta time for this herd of wild horses

Salt River Wild Horses

Sure enough! We found the herd of horses that the nice gentleman told us about. They were gorgeous and looked healthy. We kept our distance, walked around slowly, spoke softly, and reminded each other that these horses are wild.

Me admiring the horses and field of poppies

Out of respect for the horses, we didn’t hang around too long. After all, they were trying to take a nap. So, once we had our fair share of photographs, we were on to our next stop. For more information on the Salt River horses, please visit this website – Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

Saguaro Lake picnic

It was already past noon and our stomachs were growling when we bid farewell to the wild horses. Unbeknownst to my friends, I had packed us a picnic lunch and knew exactly where to snag a picnic table with a view. I also knew we’d be pretty far away from any food establishment which is why I came prepared with lunch. A good tour guide knows these things!

However, little did I know we’d have additional guests for lunch. The squirrels were rather aggressive and when one jumped on the table … well, let’s just say Miss Nancy was none too pleased. I’m not sure if I heard “disease-carrying rodent” or “don’t touch my wine“. 🀣 The words “attack of the wild squirrels” may have even been thrown around. Ah regardless, they provided another source of laughs, wildlife photography, and entertainment for the day.

Saguaro Lake, Phoenix, AZ
Saguaro Lake

After lunch, it was time for a little stroll along the waters edge and more photo snapping.

Our last stop of the day was at a scenic overlook. This is one of my favorite stops for afternoon photography. I discovered this spot about six years ago and always make it a point to stop here whenever I’m in the area, even if I only have five minutes.

Salt River, Phoenix, AZ
Salt River

Wrap up of Day One

That about wraps up day one of our blogger get together. Day two will include more photography and a scenic hike. That’ll be in my next post. Until then, I’ll share a few more pics of the day and a map of where we stopped. To enlarge a photo in a gallery, simply click on any image.

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61 thoughts on “Three Bloggers, Three Cameras, One Desert

  1. This post really resonates with me, as we have just said goodbye to a couple who read our blog and vice versa. They wrote to me to say they were coming to Sri Lanka, where we live and asked for suggestions. I invited them to stay for two nights and they did! It was such a FUN two days of getting to know each other and to find out we have so much in common, even though we live in
    different countries.

    So enjoyed reading about your get together and enjoyed the photos as well….

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Peta. I love the blogging community. We’ve made such great friends through the blog and RVing. It amazes me how big, yet how small the world can be. I always enjoy your comments πŸ™‚

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  2. I love that photo you captured of the horse with the wildflowers behind it. That is so pretty. Every time my husband and I head up north to Payson I always look out for wild horses on the drive up. There have been a couple of times I saw some in the river while we drove on. It is always a special treat when you run into that sight here in Arizona.

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    1. Yes, it is a special treat. I have yet to see the horses in water. That’s my next goal. The wildflowers have been lovely lately. What a difference from last year.

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  3. Oh Ingrid, what an amazing area! Such a fun day trip. Water, wildlife, beautiful scenery, good weather, and fun company. What does one need more? I’m so glad you found the wild horses. The photos are amazing. If we happen to return to the Phoenix area, Mark and I will definitely check out the Tonto NF area. Lucky gals having such a wonderful tour guide! πŸ™‚

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    1. You’d love it over there. Even though you’re close to civilization, it doesn’t feel like it. You know how much I enjoy being a tour guide. Come back next winter, and I’ll have more to share πŸ˜€

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    1. The scenery was spectacular that day. I’m hoping to get back over there this week or next for more Salt River photography … horses, wildflowers, birds, and reflections!

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  4. Love that first photo, Ingrid. Have to admit that I’d be a bit nervous being so close to horses in the wild like that. Nice post.

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    1. Thanks Judy. These horses are used to people, but still, we kept a safe distance. I thought of you the next day when I took Teri to Canyon Lake. I remember how that road was a white knuckler for you.

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    1. This is truly a picturesque part of the Phoenix valley. You would enjoy it and I know just the perfect tour guide for your visit 😁

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  5. Oh how fun for you all, you needed another Terri along for the ride! You all are wearing long sleeves so it must be cool still! Gorgeous photos, Ingrid! I’m on the Big Island of Hawaii now on the Hilo side surrounded by green and photo inspiration! Looks like some wildflowers are showing themselves, too!

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    1. Blogger get togethers are always fun. The weather that day was near perfect. It started off a little cool (60’s) in the morning and then warmed nicely around noon (70 degrees).
      Have a great time in Hawaii. I look forward to photos and hearing all about it.

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    1. You guys would love the desert this year. It’s so green and the wildflowers are everywhere. We hiked a great loop this morning that I’ll need to share with you.

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    1. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give you sh*t for my long commute πŸ˜† Stay tuned for next weeks post on the hiking! FYI … Hubby and I went on a hike this morning and saw a Diamondback – Always good for a few heart palpitations 😯🐍

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  6. LOl. You and I must have hit “Publish” at the exact same time today. The desert is so beautiful right now, and getting out with a camera is a great way to enjoy it.

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    1. Agree – it’s beautiful out there right now. We need to take advantage of this amazing weather because it’ll start getting hot before we know it. We’re already seeing snakes.

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