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.
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.
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.
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.
Teri capturing reflections
Nancy in love with the landscape
I spot an Egret and zoom in
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.
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.
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!
“Pssst … you distract her while I go in for the food”.
Setting up lunch! Our picnic table with a view.
Nancy enjoying her lunch
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.
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.
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.
Bush Highway near Phoenix, Arizona
Salt River with snow-capped Four Peaks in the background
Saguaro Lake – a trail along the shore.
Teri and Nancy photographing a “rabbit ears” saguaro.
I was grateful that the Phoenix, Arizona, weather finally returned to temperatures we love and expect in the desert southwest during this time of year. With clear skies once again upon us, I didn’t waste any time getting out with the camera and exploring.
It has been a crazy and hectic week for me, but in a good way. Therefore, today’s post will be short and I’ll share just a snippet of what I’ve been up to.
Popular valley hike
On February 21st and 22nd, Phoenix encountered some record weather … cold, rain, hail, and snow. Yes, snow in Phoenix, Arizona. What a rare treat to behold! And although, we spend our winters in Phoenix to avoid cold and snow, this storm truly added an unexpected beauty to the landscape.
We woke up to clear skies on Saturday the 23rd, and I just had to get out and take in the landscape. I bundled up and headed off to hike the Pinnacle Peak trail located in north Scottsdale. The cold brisk air (37 degrees Fahrenheit when I first started) didn’t deter me or other hikers on this popular trail.
I’ll do a detailed write-up on the trail once I have a little down time.
Tour guide duty
Then came Monday and Tuesday which kept me extra busy exploring and visiting with a couple of blogging gal pals. Teri and I have followed each others blogs for over five years, yet this would be the first time we’d actually meet in person. On the other hand, fellow blogger Nancy and I have hung out many times. Fortunately, Nancy lives a mere ten minutes away from my RV Park making it convenient for us to hike together anytime.
Since the three of us all met via our blogs, we’re always looking for blog material. With that in mind, it was time for me to pick up the ladies and go into tour guide mode. Actually, I seem to be doing a lot of Phoenix tour guiding this season, and I’m loving every minute sharing some of my favorite sights with out of town friends.
Our growling tummies told us it was time to bid farewell to the horses and move on. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Saguaro Lake followed by a little hiking along the shore … all of which included lots of photography. The next day, we were off to a new place to take in some other popular yet picturesque sights in Phoenix’ east valley.
We had such a great time together and hated to say goodbye to Teri. I assure you, she didn’t seem eager to return to the weather in Ohio. So, I’m hoping she’ll make it an annual trek back to Phoenix for more blogger shenanigans. And yes, I’ll need to do a more detailed post on our two wonderful and fun days hanging out together.
The fantastic weather is making it difficult for me to stay home and get anything done. I’ve been enjoying new discoveries, as well as visits with friends and family at every opportunity, and today I’m attending a wedding.
I think, next week I’ll slow things down and hopefully get some posts written up. In the meantime, hope life is good wherever you are. Enjoy these wildflowers!
Is it me, or has this winter weather been absolutely crazy? Talk about challenging winter weather conditions all across the United States, and for those living south of the equator, I hear you’ve had your own weather challenges. Crazy stuff, huh!
We’ve been comfortably parked in an RV Park on the far north side of the Phoenix valley since early October. I use the term “comfortably” loosely. Although, we are enjoying the RV park, our RV site, and the great neighbors, the weather has been anything but “comfortable”.
I love my RV, but living in a tin can RV during cold and rainy weather isn’t much fun. Sure, we’ve had some nice days which were perfect for hiking, but the inclement days seem to be more frequent this winter than previous years. And don’t even get me started with the wind, hail, and flash flooding.
With all that said, compared to other parts of the country, I really shouldn’t complain. The upside to all the extra moisture we’ve received here in the desert southwest over the past few months will be a colorful reward – a kaleidoscope of spring wildflowers.
Last year the desert was dry, brown, and sad. This year, she is green, plump, and happy. So, even though the weather has been colder and wetter than I’d prefer, I know there’s an upside. Can you believe those blooms have already started showing up … and it’s only February? March is going to be amazing!
Last week in Phoenix, it actually snowed. Not the fun pretty kind of snow, but rather, the slushy irritating kind we call graupel. This stuff I didn’t enjoy, but I did enjoy a snow outing last month.
Snow in Arizona
Even this desert dweller occasionally longs for white fluffy snow. Yep, I miss snow every once in a while. So, in January, after a substantial snowfall in Sedona (mere rain in Phoenix), I hopped in my little red truck and took the 90 minute drive up the hill (Interstate 17) for a day of fun in the snow. I love Arizona’s diversity!
After about three hours of traipsing in the snow along ice-covered trails, I’d had my fill of winter … especially after a near fatal fall on my derriere. It all happened in slow motion. While my feet where sliding hither and yon, my arms were flailing in all directions in an attempt to steady my balance …. all the while, at the forefront of my mind was my trusty Panasonic camera and saving her from a deadly fall. In the end 🤭, my naturally well padded bottom took the brunt of the fall while Panny survived unscathed and ready for more shutter clicking. Disaster averted! We don’t need to talk about the softball size bruise on my …..
So yeah, I’m good with winter weather and won’t need a snow fix until next year. I’m ready for spring. How about you?
Weather – a photo prompt
For this week’s photo challenge, let’s share images of what the weather looks like in your neck of the woods.
Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations
Wednesday is the day I like to share a photograph(s) centered around a theme. Photo challenges/themes are a great way for us to share our love of photography and engage with other like-minded people. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR, or something in-between, I hope you’ll join in on the challenge. Share and connect!
When I envision a desert, thoughts of dull, boring, remote, dry, hot, and maybe even dangerous come to mind. At least that was the image that came to my mind years ago, and I think most people would have similar thoughts. But when we look closer, we’ll find the desert to be anything but boring … it’s still hot and dry, but not boring or dull 😄
A little desert knowledge
Did you know deserts cover about 20% of the Earth? Deserts are characterized by extreme environmental conditions with little precipitation. Yet with minimal rainfall, they are able to inhabit plant and animal life. I’m totally enamored with deserts, especially the Sonoran Desert. Deserts are a fascinating ecosystem, but not all deserts are created equally.There are four types of deserts;
hot and dry (Arizona’s Sonoran Desert)
semi-arid (America’s Great Basin)
coastal (Atacama Desert in Chile)
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona is real
As a child growing up in the Midwest among lush green vegetation, I never had any aspirations of living in a desert. As a matter of fact, I thought those images of red rock bluffs, three-armed cactus, and ever abundant tumbleweed were a fabrication of cartoonists. I remember watching the cartoon “The Road Runner” which took place in America’s southwest. Ah, poor Wile!
The thought of art imitating life wasn’t something I had considered. The scenery, vegetation, and animals drawn in the cartoon seemed surreal to me, but real they are. However real the landscape and animals, the cartoon itself was filled with a lot of imagination and fabrication making it ridiculously funny. Wile E. Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions to try to catch the Road Runner, which always “backfire” resulting in an injured coyote. Many of the items for these contrivances are mail-ordered from a company named Acme Corporation. Hmm, I wonder if Jeff Bezos got his business idea for Amazon from the Acme Corporation 😆
You can image my excitement when I saw my first ‘real’ road runner, not to mention laying eyes on the strange yet beautiful landscape of the desert southwest. And the night-time howling of a coyote always brings a smile to my face. Yeah, living in the desert is never dull or boring.
The star of the Sonoran Desert
Although there are so many things that make a desert special, the real star and main attraction of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert is the saguaro cactus. It took me weeks of living among these beauties before I was even able to pronounce the name saguaro correctly – pronounced: sa-wha-ro.
Each saguaro cactus is unique and appears to have a personality of its own. The Sonoran Desert’s bi-seasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world, and it’s the only place in the world where you’ll see saguaro cactus growing naturally.
The saguaro is a large, tree-sized cactus which can grow as tall as 70 feet (20 meters) and is native to the Sonoran Desert.
Saguaros have a relatively long life span, averaging 150-175 years of age with some living as long as 200 years. It can take 50 to 70 years just for a saguaro to develop a side arm. Arms are grown to increase the plant’s reproductive capacity … more arms lead to more flowers and fruit.
Saguaros are very slow-growing and may only grow an inch or two its first eight years. The growth rate is determined by climate, precipitation, and location. Whenever it rains, saguaros soak up the rainwater and the cactus will visibly expand. This might explain why the desert feels so alive after a rainfall. The cacti are doing a happy dance!
this saguaro looks like it’s doing a happy dance
this cactus looks like a soldier
They grow very tall – note the cyclist
a saguaro blooming
the desert skies are amazing
Every saguaro cactus seems to have its own individual personality; some cute, some not, some look like proud soldiers, some like a cartoon character, and others look tired, twisted, and weathered, but no two identical.
A crested saguaro
AND then there is the rare crested saguaro. Why are some crested? Saguaros rarely grow symmetrically and often grow in odd or mis-shapen forms. The growing tip on rare occasion produces a fan like form which is referred to as crested or cristate. Biologists disagree about why some saguaro grow in this unusual form. Some thoughts; genetic mutation, lightning strike, freeze damage. Fascinating to say the least for whatever reason!
The importance of water
To accommodate a potentially large influx of water, the pleats of a saguaro expand like an accordion. I was fascinated with the plump texture of the saguaro after a heavy rainfall. You can literally see the water trapped below the skin’s surface. By trapping and conserving water, the saguaro are able to thrive during harsh, drought weather.
The pleats are plump with moisture
Because the majority of a saguaro is made up of water, an adult plant may weigh as much as six tons or more. This tremendous weight is supported by a circular skeleton of inter-connected, woody ribs. The number of ribs inside the plant correspond to the number of pleats on the outside of the plant.
the skeleton of a saguaro
Saguaro cacti are host to a great variety of animals. The gilded flicker and Gila woodpecker excavate nest cavities inside the saguaro’s pulpy flesh. Large birds like hawks and owls also use the saguaro for nesting and hunting platforms. Their stick nests are constructed among the arms of a large saguaro.
In mid summer, the saguaro cacti provides a source of food for animals with its ripening fruit. Jackrabbits, Javelinas, Mule Deer and other animals will eat the saguaro’s flesh during dry summer months, providing these animals with a water source.
Additional saguaro cactus facts
The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There’s one deep root that extends down into the ground more than two feet.
After the saguaro dies, the wood ribs can be used to build fences or furniture. The holes that birds nested in can be found among the dead saguaros, and Native Americans used these as water containers.
The saguaro cactus flower is Arizona’s state flower. The flower is considered nocturnal – closing midday and opening during the night. The primary nocturnal pollinator is the lesser long-nosed bat.
Harming or vandalizing a saguaro in any manner is illegal by state law in Arizona. When houses or highways are built, special permits must be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected.
Best places to see naturally growing saguaro cactus near Phoenix, Arizona
First off, you won’t find saguaros growing throughout the Sonoran Desert. For the most part, you’ll find them growing abundantly near the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. If you’re in the Tucson area, you’ll definitely want to visit Saguaro National Park. If you’ll be visiting Phoenix, here are my picks to get up close and personal with the southwest’s main attraction: the saguaro cactus. Note: There are certainly more places to see the saguaro cactus, but these are my personal favorites; all have ample parking, hiking, and photographic opportunities.
Top 5 places to see saguaro cactus
Maricopa County Parks. This Arizona county offers some of the best parks near a big city that I’ve ever experienced. We love camping at Cave Creek Regional Park as well as Lake Pleasant, but my favorite park to hike is the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. There is a day use fee at all the parks and some even have campgrounds.
Desert Botanical Garden. This is always a favorite stop for me, especially in spring. You’ll see some of the most bizarre and unique plants ever in addition to the saguaro cactus.
Sonoran Desert Preserve. Since I’m usually camped not too far from the preserve at the far north end of Phoenix, you’ll find me hiking here quite often. It isn’t necessarily the most scenic, but during spring the trails are lined with wildflowers. Also, if you are just passing through Phoenix and want some photos of the saguaros up close, this is a convenient stop since all three trailheads aren’t far from Interstate 17.
South Mountain Park. I still haven’t had a chance to explore this park personally because I’m usually camped on the north end of the valley and it would take me about an hour to get to South Mountain. Therefore, I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard great things about the park. Therefore, I wanted to include it on this list.
Tonto National Forest. This national forest is huge, encompassing nearly 3 million acres of rugged and beautiful country that ranges from a forest of Saguaro cactus to pine-forested mountains. The Superstition Mountains are located with the Tonto, and Lost Dutchman State Park is a great way to access the trails.
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona continues to intrigue and fascinate me. There’s a beauty that may not be obvious at first glance, but just spend a little time exploring this unique land, and I’m sure, you too, will discover its lure.
On the morning of February 2, 2019 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a groundhog named Phil emerged from his hole and did not see his shadow. Not seeing his shadow means we can expect an early spring. Phil has predicted the arrival of spring since 1887, but his accuracy leaves something to be desired. According to statistics, the groundhog is only right about 39 percent of the time. Let’s hope he’s right this time because I’m about done with this winter!
Shadow – a photo prompt
So with groundhog Phil in mind, let’s share images of shadows. Shadows are fun to play around with and can enrich a photograph. Shadows can be subtle and accentuate details or they can be the focal point. Shadows can strengthen a photo by adding a sense of balance, contrast, or dimensionality to a composition.
One of my favorite images of a shadow was caused from a saguaro cactus. I happened to be hiking at the perfect time for the sun to cast the saguaro’s shadow on the trail making it look like a fork. How about that … a fork in the road trail.
How to improve your photography skills
Travel and photography seem to go hand in hand. After all, don’t we want to preserve memories of all those beautiful places we visit? I know I do, and I’ve been working diligently at improving my photography skills over the past few years. Ah, my photos are still hit and miss, in my opinion, and I occasionally succumb to the “point and pray” method of shooting, but I continue to practice.
One of the best ways to improve your photography skills is to engage in photo challenges or sometimes referred to as photo prompts. These prompts, challenges, themes (whatever we want to call them) give me a purpose to get out and shoot or, at the very least, go through my photo archives to analyze what worked and what didn’t.
By picking up my camera regularly, I continue to practice, and by practicing photography consistently, I’ve become better acquainted with my gear and vision. I’m still best friends with that delete button, but continue to enjoy my photographic hobby.
Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations
Wednesday is the day I like to share a photograph(s) centered around a theme. Photo challenges/themes are a great way for us to share our love of photography and engage with other like-minded people. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR, or something in-between, I hope you’ll join in on the challenge. Share and connect!
Can you believe Al and I are in our sixth year of living in the RV full-time? I know, I can’t! I assure you, we have learned a lot during those six years of living a minimalist RV lifestyle. We’ve also learned the do’s and don’ts of downsizing and the importance of organization. Ah, to go back and be given a do over … hindsight is twenty-twenty!
With summer just a few short months away, Al and I are in full summer planning mode, and at the forefront of our plans is a stop in southern Colorado to visit our storage units, as in plural. Yes, two storage units … sigh! Remember that do over I’d like? Oh, to go back and whittle down all that crap stuff that we’ve hardly missed over the past years.
In our defense, at that time, Al and I weren’t committed to living in the RV full-time for much more than a year or two. Little did we know how addictive this RVing lifestyle can be. Sure, we’ve thought about buying another sticks and bricks home and have even put contracts in on houses during the past six years, but when negotiations would stall, Al and I were always flooded with a sense of relief.
The reality is, we’re not ready to return to a traditional home … just yet, anyway. We know eventually that day will come. Until then, it’s time for us to think about all that stuff we’ve been foolishly storing for the past six years. It’s time to regroup, tidy up, and organize. Where was Marie Kondo when I needed her? But then again, would I have listened to her advice? Purging stuff is hard work!
What I’ve learned living in an RV
I’ve learned a lot about living a more minimalist lifestyle, but at the top of that list would be the realization that our living space and the items surrounding us can impact mental health immensely.
If our RV is cluttered or unorganized, I don’t feel my best. As a matter of fact, I feel unsettled, stressed, and less than energetic. Living in a small space requires organization.
Studies have shown that organization can have a positive impact on one’s mental health, and I can vouch for that.
I’ve also learned that I can live with fewer belongings … fewer purses, fewer shoes, fewer kitchen gadgets, fewer everything.
Do I really need six pairs of athletic shoes and eight pairs of sandals shoved in a small cabinet in the RV? Of Course, I do! Well, maybe! Okay, no I don’t! It’s all about that word need.
I haven’t even talked about clothing yet. Did you know, the average person only wears 50% of the clothes in their closet? I can’t believe Al and I have six wardrobe boxes full of clothing in storage. I’m embarrassed even typing this 🤦♀️ I’m sure most of those items are still in fashion (not) …. and fit!
How NOT to downsize!
When Al and I first moved in together (many, many moons ago), we lived in a small one bedroom condominium in the Chicago suburbs. Between the two of us, we barely had enough stuff to furnish that 700 square foot condo. My how times change.Thirty years, a couple of cross-country moves, and several houses later, we found ourselves downsizing from a fully furnished, every closet full, 4,600 square foot home.
It was overwhelming to say the least. Fortunately, we had a few months to sort, declutter, purge, and organize, but still, we did not get rid of nearly enough stuff. I think subconsciously, all that stuff represented a sense of success to me.
From 4,600 sq. ft., we moved into an 1,100 square foot rental. That’s when the first storage unit was rented. While living in the short-term rental, we built an 1,800 square foot home with another 1,800 square feet of unfinished basement. Can you say, “lots of storage space in that basement?” Yeah, most of that stuff in the storage unit, was once again moved and distributed throughout the new house, garage, and basement … only to be moved again two years later. Seriously, what were we thinking!
It was also during this time of multiple moves that we bought our 5th Wheel. She was purchased with the intent to travel in part-time, and was never intended for us to live in full-time. We went full-time RVing on a whim! And we did that downsize within thirty days.
Thirty (30) days to whittle down all our belongings and move into less than 300 square feet of a moving RV. Whatever were we thinking? (did I already say that 😆) Thus, two stuffed 10×10 storage units were rented. Our goal this year is to purge down to one unit. A lofty goal indeed.
Why organization is key
Once you declutter and organize your things, you’ll be more efficient in your day-to-day activities. You might even notice, you actually know where things are placed. Now where’d I put those car keys?
Organize your stuff, and your life will be more organized.
When it’s time to clean, it isn’t as difficult to tidy up because things are already organized and in their proper place.
Purging and decluttering is freeing. It’s like a weight or responsibility is lifted from your shoulders. Less stuff, more freedom!
When you work in a tidy and organized space, chances are, you’ll be more productive. Organization helps you think more clearly.
There’s a sense of satisfaction when you step back and look at your organized, clean, tidy and decluttered living space.
Having an organized home can lead to an organized mind which leads to improved mental health.
Keeping your home organized, tidy, and decluttered, will make any future move much easier. Trust me on this one! Can I have a do over, please?
Minimize, simplify, organize
Regardless of the size of home you live in, keeping your space organized and tidy will have a positive impact on all aspects of your life and those surrounding you. And when the time comes for you to move to a new home, the battle is half done. You’ll be ready!
Are you an adventurous traveler? Are you looking for a scenic memorable day trip near Phoenix, Arizona? Well, I’ve got just the day excursion for you. Al and I first drove this 80 mile scenic loop several years ago and it still ranks as one of our top favorite day trips in Arizona.
On the far southeast side of the greater Phoenix valley lies Arizona’s oldest highway. This former stagecoach trail which runs through the Superstition Mountains was originally used by the Apache Indians, thus aptly named The Apache Trail.
The Apache Trail is officially known as State Route 88 and links the town of Apache Junction with Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
The trail was developed into more of a road in the 1930’s to support the development of dam’s along the Salt River, creating some beautiful lakes in the process.
There’s oodles of interesting sights and beautiful views along the way which necessitate lots of stopping. Photo-op anyone? Thus, the Apache Trail Circle Loop requires an entire day. It’s also not for the faint of heart, which I’ll explain in a minute.
Be sure and pack a lunch, snacks, and plenty of water because you’ll be exploring some desert backcountry during this scenic day trip drive. It helps if you have a high-clearance vehicle, but we saw plenty of regular cars on the dirt portion of the road from Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Lake. That doesn’t mean I’m saying a basic car is a good fit for the terrain. It means, I saw regular cars navigating without apparent issue.
My recommendation; be sure it didn’t rain the day before, take your time, watch for bumps, and be prepared for washboard road conditions. When in doubt, check with a Tonto National Forest Ranger for further clarification and up to date road conditions.
We’ll start our journey from the town of Apache Junction, Arizona, and head north on State Road 88, aka The Apache Trail. Our first stop is the Superstition Mountain Museum.
A picturesque museum
The Superstition Mountain Museum collects, preserves, and displays the artifacts, history, and folklore of the Superstition Mountains. Even though we knew we had a long day in front of us, this picturesque museum is worthy of a photo-op and stroll around the historic buildings. We made a note to tour the museum another day.
Exploring a Ghost Town
Just a short drive north of the Superstition Mountain museum is our next stop; the Goldfield Ghost Town. Goldfield was once a happening gold mining town back in the 1890’s. It’s now a popular tourist attraction which is rooted in Arizona history. It’s a fun and interesting stop. They still actually mine gold here, but that’s blocked from public view. Guess they don’t want to share them there gold, huh!
Goldfield Ghost Town offers free parking and free walking around, but there is a fee for each attraction. You can click on this link for more information on those attractions. We don’t usually do the tourist type of thing, so I can’t vouch for any of the paid attractions.
The quaint little shops at the Goldfield Ghost Town offer unique trinkets specific to the area along with the typical tourist stuff … T-shirts, shot glasses, coffee mugs, postcards, etc. The grounds are loaded with original mining equipment, and it’s obvious, these are the original buildings and have stood for a very long time. As a matter of fact, during our visit, a museum building was closed while construction workers were busy shoring up a second floor balcony.
As I strolled around Goldfield Ghost Town, I could envision the harsh realities of life over 100 years ago. These were hardy folks living in an unforgiving and harsh environment. However did they survive living in the desert without air conditioning? And no A/C in that covered wagon either 😱
I found it funny that the Bordello was located near the church. How convenient is that? Play hard …. pray even harder. Sow your wild oats on Saturday, and pray for crop failure on Sunday!
During this particular visit to the east side of the Phoenix area, we happened to be camped just up the road from the Goldfield Ghost Town at one of our favorite campgrounds; the Lost Dutchman State Park. For those unable to secure a campsite at the Lost Dutchman State Park, Goldfield Ghost Town does have a campground. It’s a bit rustic, but at least it’s a place to park the RV in a pinch.
The hiking trails are amazing and the campsites are comfortably spaced. And the views are absolutely stunning!
For those interested in visiting the Lost Dutchman State Park but not interested in camping, there is a day use area. For a small fee, you can enjoy the trails all day. The day use area offers plenty of shaded picnic tables, restrooms, and easy access to all the trails. Seriously, this is a “must see” place during any visit to Phoenix, Arizona, especially in March when the wildflowers are blooming.
A beautiful body of water in the desert
As we continue our scenic drive north of the state park, the road starts to climb, twist, and bend. I highly recommend driving this stretch of road without an RV for the first time due to potential length and height issues.
Shortly after passing the Lost Dutchman State Park we enter the Tonto National Forest. The scenery becomes more rugged and stunning with each new mile. March is particularly beautiful as the road is lined on both sides with yellow blooms from the brittlebush and desert marigolds.
Twenty miles north of the town of Apache Junction, we round a bend and are graced with the sight of an oasis in the desert. Canyon Lake with it’s deep blue waters surrounded by rugged cliffs and rocky terrain is a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
Definitely worth a few photo-ops around here, wouldn’t you agree? Canyon Lake itself is a great day excursion; perfect for a picnic, kayak adventure, or even a cruise aboard the Dolly Steamboat.
Canyon Lake offers a marina for daily boat rentals; powerboat, kayak, and even SUP’s (stand up paddle board). There’s also a campground, but it is rather pricey for what you get, in my opinion anyway. The last time I checked, it was over $50 a night. With that said, the drive is also something to consider. It could be quite challenging for larger RV’s due to length and height. Considering we all travel with different types of RV equipment and have our own comfort level, I recommend checking it out first without the RV.
A town with the population of 6
A few more miles up the road, past Canyon Lake, is the cute little town of Tortilla Flat – population 6. This is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat, especially if you forgot to pack a meal, like we did. The restaurant serves up great burgers and has a fun décor.
This is the one and only time my daughter intends to pose for me in the ladies room lol.
Money, money, money. The walls are covered in dollar bills.
The restaurant has saddles for barstools.
My daughter enjoying the wonderful ice cream at Tortilla Flat, Arizona
(to enlarge photos in a gallery, simply click on any image)
The walls are covered with dollar bills stapled all over, as well as old mining tools and historical photos. The bar stools are saddles and the ladies restroom has entertaining painted stall doors. I think this is the one and only time that my daughter allowed me to photograph her in a restroom. I had to bribe her with ice cream. The little general store serves up some of the best ice cream around and the fudge was pretty good also.
The adventure begins
With tummies full, it’s time to brace ourselves for the truly adventurous part of the drive. Just past the town of Tortilla Flat, the pavement ends.
Most rental car companies will not want you driving this road and it’s not recommended for any vehicle over 25 feet in length…. definitely no RV’s. Although, we did notice some guys pulling their boats 😮
The gravel road is wide and in pretty good condition up to the scenic view parking lot. The vista and scenery is worth the dusty, bumpy gravel road to get to it. For those less adventurous, this would be the perfect place to turn around and retrace your journey home. In my experience, the gravel road from the town of Tortilla Flat up to the scenic overlook is usually in good condition for any vehicle to navigate, but beyond that point, it can get dicey and very interesting.
Al and I are used to driving unpaved mountain backcountry roads with steep cliff drop-offs with no safety barriers or guard rails. In other words, this next stretch of road between the scenic overlook and Apache Lake is not for the faint of heart. (Tip: if you’re interested in visiting Apache Lake, but don’t want to drive over Fish Creek Hill, access from Roosevelt Lake. The road between Roosevelt Lake and Apache Lake is much easier to navigate and without the high drop-offs.)
As we continue past the scenic overlook the road narrows and winds. This two-way traffic road narrows down to about a one to one and a half lane wide road. There isn’t enough room in most spots for two vehicles to pass each other. Those going down hill supposedly have the right of way and it’s not uncommon for someone needing to back up to a wider spot in the road so vehicles can pass by each other.
Fish Creek Pass, aka Fish Creek Hill, is the worst part of the journey with sheer drop offs, a very narrow road, lots of turns, and a steep elevation change. Fish Creek is the most stressful and challenging part of the drive and not for the faint of heart. Once we navigate Fish Creek Hill, one lane bridges and washboard road conditions continue to add to our adventurous day.
Once we reach Apache Lake, another beautiful oasis in the desert, the road becomes a little easier to traverse. Due to the washboard condition of the road and our extra long wheel base on the F-250, it was very slow going for us. This is when my Tacoma or a Jeep would be perfect, but my Tacoma was back in Colorado during this excursion. Even a Honda CRV would’ve been a better choice for this road than the long wheel base of our Ford truck.
Two and a half hours after leaving Tortilla Flat and 22 miles of gravel road later, we finally arrived at the Theodore Roosevelt Damn and Lake. We averaged about 10 miles per hour with lots of photo-op stopping along the way.
We leisurely tour the campgrounds and the boondocking opportunities along the lake shore. We are pleasantly surprised and make notes. We will definitely keep Roosevelt Lake as a possible place to camp in the future. It’s pretty. It’s remote. It’s inexpensive, and located within the Tonto National Forest.
I’m entertained by using the term “forest” around this barren looking land. You won’t find any of the usual trees that most folks would expect in a National Forest.This is still the desert and you’ll find a forest of saguaro cactus and their cousins in lieu of any oak or aspen trees.
This unusual forest may look barren at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you’ll discover an amazing ecosystem with the ability to survive and flourish in some of the harshest weather and terrain.
The beautiful scenery continues
The fascinating and majestic scenery continues from Roosevelt Lake to the active mining towns of Miami and Superior and onto the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
Oh, how I wanted to stop at the Arboretum, but by this point in our journey, we were tired, photo outed, and ready to just get home. Besides, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum would require its own day.
There are so many interesting sights along this scenic loop that we wanted to stop and explore further, but we realized we couldn’t see and do it all in one day.
We took notes for future day excursions, as well as future overnight RVing spots and promised ourselves to return again and again. I always look forward to spending time in the Phoenix valley. Whether one is looking for solitude or a host of activities, this part of Arizona seems to have it all, and it rarely disappoints.
I remain in awe by Arizona’s raw beauty and fascinated by the plants and animals that survive in this harsh land. What an adventurous day we had!
It’s Super Bowl Sunday … rah-rah … hooya! Okay, maybe we’re not all into football (moi), but I bet we all like hanging with friends while sharing a plate of nachos. Add in margaritas and a campfire and it just doesn’t get much better. Al and I have made some great friends over the years via this blog. Exchanging stories over a campfire while indulging in good food and tasty beverages is always a fun time.
The new year ended and started in much the same way; a campfire, food, drinks, and new friends. Seriously, I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year. A blog connection turns into a meetup in person … talking over a warm campfire while indulging in nachos and margaritas … yep, translates into a fun an active weekend.
Although Terri, Second Wind Leisure Perspective, and I haven’t been following each others blogs very long, our common interest in photography and RVing had us connecting in person at the first opportunity.
Terri reached out to me last fall looking for recommendations for their RV road trip at the end of December/beginning of January. The emails flowed freely back and forth, and Terri made plans and reservations which included a stop in Phoenix so we could meet. Fortunately, the RV site next to us was available for a couple of nights. After their Phoenix stop, they’d be venturing further north toward Sedona and the Grand Canyon. At least, that was their original plan.
Friends, nachos, margaritas, and a campfire
Shortly after their late afternoon arrival to our RV park in Phoenix, I made us all nachos and margaritas. After all, Terri and Hubby had had a rather long travel day driving from San Diego to the far north side of Phoenix, and we wanted them to be able to just chill and relax.
Earlier in the day, Al set up chairs and our propane fire ring for campfire enjoyment. It turned into a rather cold evening, but between the tequila flowing, the heat from the fire, and all of us bundled up, the conversation continued and plans were made.
The next day, while the guys went off doing guy stuff, I went into tour guide mode sharing some of my favorite Phoenix sights with Terri. We started off with a stop at the Scottsdale farmers market followed by a little shopping in Old Town Scottsdale. From there, it was time to hit the trail with the cameras.
One of my favorite places to hike in the Phoenix valley is at the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. We started our hike at the Jewel of the Creek Preserve trail which isn’t technically part of Spur Cross Ranch, but they are connected. The ecosystem here is fascinating. Anytime I find a body of water in the desert, I get excited. Yeah, I’m easily entertained!
It was a joy sharing this trail with someone who appeared to be equally enamored with the landscape. Our cameras got in as much of a workout as our legs did. Their visit to Phoenix was over before we knew it, and it was time for them to continue their RV road trip and explore more of Arizona. We hope to meet again down the road sometime!
Terri’s Sunday Stills photo challenge
Every Sunday, Terri hosts a photo challenge and today’s theme is “Fire”. I can’t think of a more appropriate post to join in on her photo challenge. We had such a great time visiting over a campfire. If you’re looking for more photography engagement, be sure and check out her Sunday Stills page.
I too will be back soon for my Wandering Wednesday photo inspirations. It’s time to get some of my recent photographs posted and reconnect with you all. I’ve enjoyed my blogging break, but have missed you.
And how rude of me not to share my nacho or margarita recipe. What do you think? Should I share in a future post? Are you interested in my recipes?
And who are you rooting for … the Rams or the Patriots? I don’t really care which team wins considering I don’t usually watch football. I will, however, be making those nachos and margaritas for my husband and his friends watching the game in the RV park TV room. Should be a big group watching the game. On that note, I better get cooking!
What do you do when the creative well seems to be empty? When you don’t know what to blog about or what to photograph? When the creative juices just aren’t flowing? Inspiration disappears for all of us from time to time, and it’s something I personally have struggled with for months.
Since Al and I won’t be traveling much this winter (we’ll be in Phoenix, Arizona, till April), I find myself wondering what I should blog about and what might be new for me to photograph. Ever since our son moved to Phoenix in 2009, we’ve spent a substantial amount of time RVing around the Phoenix valley, and I’ve written dozens of posts in the past about our time in this Arizona city.
I suppose I could re-purpose some of my old blog posts, but that would keep me inside the RV and in front of the computer, and as much as I enjoy my computer time, the reason for living the RV lifestyle is to seek out new experiences and new sights and not sit in front of a computer screen all day.
The incentive to go out and about is easy when we’re visiting new places, but takes a little more effort and reflection on my part when I’m living a stationary life.
Reflecting on the past can help direct you in the future
Now that I’m sitting in a familiar city that we’ve already spent a significant amount of time exploring, I find myself reflecting on the past for inspiration.
During our last year of owning a sticks and bricks home along Colorado’s Front Range, Al and I decided to pretend we were tourists. After all, Colorado Springs is a major summer destination for many. It was amazing the beautiful sights we discovered right in our own backyard (well, not literally in our backyard, but around town).
I’m grateful that we took the time to explore a little more of Colorado Springs before moving away. We still never made it to the top of Pikes Peak, but perhaps that’s an impetus for us to revisit.
So, think about your past. Think about a memorable place or time, and ask yourself where, when, and why? Memories can serve as wonderful inspiration. All I have to do is think about our five week stay along the shores of Lake Powell this past April, and a smile comes to my face. There was no lack of creative inspiration with scenery like that!
Meet new people
Attending a conference, a seminar, or engaging in a local “meetup” group, forces us to mingle with new people. In the RVing world, this is an everyday event as our neighbors are forever changing. RV parks are a social mecca filled with activities, and meeting new and interesting people is always inspirational. But what if you don’t live in a setting that’s easy to meet new people?
At the end of November, I decided to attend a local WordPress meetup group. I thought it might be a good way to meet locals outside of the RVing community, as well as get a little WordPress help. You see, I’ve had difficulties commenting and liking some of my favorite blogs.
It all started about a month or so ago. I have a bunch of blogs I follow via the WordPress Reader along with receiving posts via email. I used to be able to easily comment or ‘like’ an emailed post, but no more. Grrr … without getting into the nitty-gritty of my frustrations, I was hopeful in meeting some local techies.
Although I enjoyed mingling, this meetup group is geared toward the self-hosted WP user, and therefore, of little help to me. With that said, listening to other creatives was inspirational, making my attendance worthwhile. I might go again or maybe I’ll try some other “meetup“ group.
Go for a walk and search out the beauty around you
Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its mild winters and beautiful blue skies. The other day was cold and dreary. There was a thick cloud cover and the threat of rain. It was late afternoon when I decided to don my sweatshirt and head out on a photographic outing.
My husband was perplexed and expressed concern about the poor weather conditions, but when I explained that today was the perfect day for me to shoot a waterfall, he understood …. well, not really, but he did a good job pretending he understood.
I headed off to a local park in the quaint town of Anthem, Arizona (far north Phoenix valley). It’s a beautiful park with ponds, waterfalls, a Veterans Memorial, baseball/soccer fields, a skate park, railroad, a Sunday morning farmers market, and more.
I had a fabulous time playing with my camera and searching out creative inspiration. That little outing was exactly what I needed to get the creative juices flowing, and I’m so glad I didn’t let the weather deter me.
Study other creatives
Visit a local art gallery, museum, or library and immerse yourself in other works of art. My recent sculpture tour in Scottsdale found me appreciating the talents and vision of the various artists and asking myself, “What inspires them?”
If your creative outlet is writing, are you as awed by J.K. Rowlings talent as much as I am? Sometimes I like to go to the local library and peruse cookbooks looking for recipe and photography inspiration. A library is a great way to discover works of art.
And let’s not forget about music. Listening to the words of a favorite song or dancing to an irresistible rhythm can be very inspirational. Unfortunately, the music gene doesn’t run in my family, but I’m an appreciative listener.
I’d have to say, my most favorite (my favorist 😆) way to find inspiration is via blogs. Seriously, you my friends, are the best creative inspiration around. When I’m really stuck … you know, staring at a blank screen ‘stuck’, and can’t begin to figure out what to write or share, I turn to my favorite blogs.
If that doesn’t work, I go in search of new blogs. Don’t you love it when bloggers write a post linking to other inspirational bloggers? I know I do! Of course, there’s Pinterest to consider, but blogs still rule in my humble opinion.
Write a bucket list
Ask yourself, “If money were no object, I would ….?” Write down a list of things you’d like to accomplish … places you’d like to visit … maybe it’s a dream job … maybe you’d like to publish a book, whatever comes to mind. Be honest with yourself. I bet, when you read that dream list that many of the things you’ve written down are attainable.
Research! Whatever the subject, see what other’s have to say about it. What do they say about that dream job, about publishing that book, or traveling to that destination you long to visit? If you don’t have the physicality or finances, perhaps writing a blog post about those bucket list items will be a start to fulfilling a dream, and your writings might inspire you, as well as others.
Sedona – Buddhism Park, vortex
We all have something we believe in that helps us get through life. For some, it’s attending church services regularly while for others it’s a way of living one’s life. I have friends who tap into their spiritual beliefs by reading the bible or devotionals everyday. Another friend of mine has quotes delivered to her inbox daily, and these quotes serve as her inspiration and enlightenment. Many use meditation, prayer, or both.
I know when I tap into my spirituality, I feel a sense of renewal and hope. That renewed feeling helps me focus and work toward goals.
Meet a friend for coffee (or a drink)
Enjoy some one on one time with a friend over a cup of coffee or a cocktail. Be the listener and really listen to what’s going on in your friend’s life. What are their motivations and goals? How do your ambitions compare or differ?
Maybe they recently read a fascinating book that would make for a great blog article or maybe that photo shared on their phone was taken at an unusual angle, giving you inspiration for your next outing with the camera.
A relaxed get together with a friend is something we should all do regularly!
Take your camera in search
Take your camera (or phone) on an outing devoted to photography. Be a tourist in your hometown. What would you share with someone visiting your town/city for the first time? Walk around your neighborhood and find unique things to photograph.
My neighbor, here in the RV park in Phoenix, is a photographer. In an effort to exercise, he walks around the park, up and down the streets, regularly photographing interesting sights … the little yard decorations, door details, interesting plants, colors, etc., and in the process, he gets in his steps.
If the weather is too cold and blustery in your neck of the woods, think about heading into the kitchen and cook/bake something new … then photograph it. Step outside of your comfort zone. Photography is about finding out who you are and focusing on the world around you.
Listen to your thoughts
Allow yourself to slow down, look inward, and listen to your thoughts. Although my camera shutter clicked often at the park the other day, I did take time to just sit on a park bench and watch the world go by. I watched the ducks drift by on the pond. I listened to the trickle of water from the nearby waterfall. I watched the storm clouds swirl about. I watched the changing light on a mountain as the sun was beginning to set.
I thought about the photographs I had just made, and recognized my strengths and weaknesses. I was feeling creative, a feeling which I hadn’t felt in some time, and it felt good. I needed this time at the park to just be … to listen to my inner voice and listen to my thoughts.
It was at that moment I realized, I don’t have to travel to far away places to be creative … to find blog material, photographic material, inspirational material. I just need to look at things from a fresh angle and shake up my routine.
10 Tips on how to find creative inspiration
Reflect on the past. Analyze fond memories and decide to create new ones.
Meet new people – interact, learn, and find out what inspires others.
Go for a walk and immerse yourself in your surroundings
Study other creatives
Write a bucket list
Embrace spiritual enlightenment
Meet a friend for coffee or a drink
Take your camera in search
Listen to your thoughts
If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us – Daisaku Ikeda
How do you find blogging ideas and subjects to write about? How do you tap into your creativity or decide what to photograph? What inspires you?
We were off to an early start. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I was on a mission. I was in desperate need of blog material and photogenic subjects. I needed some inspiration and knew Scottsdale, Arizona, was just the place to visit.
I enlisted the company of my daughter and husband. Although, I’ll admit, neither were particularly eager to join me on my photographic outing. I remember there being some eye rolls and me being the subject of their amusement, but when I bribed them with mouth-watering treats found at the Scottsdale farmers market, they quickly jumped on board …. and they didn’t even complain when I told them I wanted an early start to the day …. much to my surprise, I might add.
(To enlarge photos in a gallery, simple click on any image. To return to the post, click on the x found at the top right corner)
steamed buns filled with your choice of meat or veggie – one of our favs at the market
My husband and daughter like making fun of me when I’m on a photographic mission
Entertainment at the Old Town Scottsdale farmers market
After we were fueled with coffee and filled with sustenance purchased from local vendors at the farmers market, I consulted my little map of downtown Scottsdale. We would be going on a walking tour visiting seven of Scottsdale’s most beloved public art sculptures.
Sculptures in Historic Old Town Scottsdale
It’s impossible to visit Old Town Scottsdale and not walk by our first sculpture on the tour; The Yearlings by George-Ann Tognoni. This is a monument to wild horses and depicts three bronze yearlings galloping in full stride.
This sculpture serves as a backdrop to family photo shoots and is especially popular during the holiday season when the sleigh and Christmas tree are set up.
Another popular photo shoot spot is at the LOVE sculpture. LOVE by Robert Indiana was conceived when the United States was involved with the Vietnam War and became a symbol for peace. This famous sculpture is one of the most celebrated works within the pop art movement.
Robert Indiana created the first version of LOVE with stacked capital letters for a personal Christmas card designed for friends in 1964. In 1965, the Museum of Modern Art selected Indiana’s LOVE design for its official Christmas card.
The original sculptural rendition of LOVE was fabricated from Cor-ten steel in 1970. It can be seen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Dozens of other LOVE sculptures are now on display around the world.
As of this writing (12/18), the Scottsdale LOVE sculpture is located at a temporary site near the Scottsdale public library. The bridge in the area sustained severe water damage caused by a leaking fountain resulting in the closure of Drinkwater Blvd and the necessity to relocate the sculpture.
Our walk takes us into Scottsdale’s Art District
With two sculptures checked off the list, we continued our walking tour which found us venturing into Scottsdale’s Art District. The Jack Knife sculpture serves as the center of attention for the art district and sits in the middle of the road.
Scottsdale’s Art District. The Jack Knife sculpture sits on an island in the center of the street.
Jack Knife sculpture – center of a round about
Daughter photographing the Jack Knife sculpture
Jack Knife by Ed Mell is a giant bronze sculpture of a cowboy on a bucking bronco giving a nod to Scottsdale’s Western heritage and the city’s official seal.
On to the Fifth Avenue Shopping District
Who knew Scottsdale had a “Fifth Avenue” shopping district! Now for those of us that have actually shopped at the real 5th Avenue …. as in New York City’s Fifth Avenue, this Fifth Avenue is quite a bit different, but still fun. It’s kitschy, small, and is a long-time favorite with tourists boasting dozens of unique shops, award-winning restaurants, and the famous Bronze Horse Fountain.
Bronze Horse Fountain
Bronze Horse Fountain
The Bronze Horse Fountain was created by Bob Parks, who owned an art gallery in town. This piece showcases the beauty of five Arabian horses as they play in the fountain. I love how they were decorated for the holiday season with wreaths.
The Scottsdale Water District
We continued our trek. Not far from the Bronze Horse Fountain, we rounded a corner and walked up some stairs. We found ourselves along the Arizona Canal and noticed the bronze sculpture on the other side of a bridge.
“Passing the Legacy” by Herb Mignery
“Passing the Legacy”
Colorado Artist Herb Mignery is a noted western artist and sculptor. He gained early recognition for his classic and humorous western cartoons and rose to fame when he started sculpting scenes from his early Nebraska farm and ranch days.
In Passing the Legacy, a vintage 1860s horse and rider represent the original Pony Express. The lead rider reaches back to grasp the passing legacy, ready to plunge forward into a new era. It took twelve months for the artist and fabricators to refine and create the life-and-a-quarter size bronze monument, which is 20’ long.
As we continued our walking tour along the canal and amongst a beautiful park setting, we took great pleasure in the wonderful fall weather that Phoenix is known for.
Water is a precious commodity in a desert and controlling flood water is crucial, especially in a high density urban environment. Phoenix and her surrounding suburbs do a great job in beautifying these man-made waterways. More efforts are ongoing toward waterside recreation and beautification along these canals.
This Scottsdale section of the Arizona Canal is particularly attractive and popular with cyclists and pedestrians alike. Lighted art over and in the water are changed up regularly and the picturesque park setting serves as a great spot for festivals.
TheSoleri Bridge & Plaza was designed by the late Italian architect Paolo Soleri. The bridge was designed to demonstrate the importance of solar movement.
Soleri Bridge, Scottsdale, AZ
Walking toward the “Soleri Bridge & Plaza”
The bridge is anchored by two 64-foot pylons and is twenty-seven feet wide on the south side narrowing to eighteen feet on the north. Situated at a true north axis, the bridge is intended to mark solar events produced by the sun’s shadow. The six-inch gap between both sets of pylons allows the sun to create a shaft of light as the earth moves.
Most Entertaining Sculpture
The Doors by Donald Lipski is an interesting and entertaining work of art. The structure consists of three 28 foot tall doors that lean against one another on an angle. They are made of Brazilian hardwood, mirror polished stainless steel, and thousands of hand forged steel rivets and strapping.
When we stepped in between the doors, we were met with a kaleidoscope effect that shines from sunlight during the day and LED lights at night. We were entertained by multiple reflections of ourselves. The experience is enhanced with sound … various sounds of bells, chimes, swooshing, and flute can be heard in and around the sculpture.
“The Doors” in Scottsdale, Arizona
Al and Ashton exploring in and around “The Doors” sculpture.
I’d have to say, we found this sculpture rather entertaining and found ourselves lingering in and around it. I’d love to go back at night to see what it looks like all lit up from the LED lights.
End of our walking Tour of Scottsdale
Our Scottsdale walking tour visiting the most popular art sculptures in the area took us less than 2 hours full-circle and accounts for all the photo-op stopping and playing around that we did. The sculptures gave us purpose to meander down streets that we had never ventured down before. What a fun and special excuse to explore this entertaining desert southwest city!
Old Town Scottsdale
Loved the jackrabbit sculpture!
Scottsdale offers an abundance of great restaurants.
This leisurely city walk allowed us the opportunity to see interesting sights and take note of eating establishments for future visits. There’s no shortage of fantastic eateries in Scottsdale. The biggest problem is deciding where to eat when given so many choices.
Okay … time to plan our next adventure!
Additional Scottsdale Information
For more information and downloadable maps – click here.