We have been wanting to try out a backpacking trip with REI Adventures, and with the Superstition Mountains being local we thought this would be a good opportunity. Since the Phoenix area is already starting to warm up, this was the last scheduled trip till after summer. Being less that two weeks after the Alaska trip, we were prepared for a bit of temperature shock – it turned out to be a record setting week with highs in the 90’s, which is only 120ºF warmer than our coldest outings up north. Fortunately, we had time for a couple of day hikes to get re-acclimated to the desert prior to starting out.
We enjoy our outdoors activities, and one of our major suppliers for gear is Recreation Equipment, Inc. In addition to being a major outdoors sports outlet, REI does travel and arranges local workshops and classes. We saw a four hour Night Photography Hike at South Mountain they were hosting and decided it would be fun to go along.
Last March we went camping at White Sands National Monument for the first time. The weather was fairly mild although a bit brisk in the morning. The winds were impressive. It turns out that 50 mph gusts are not unusual in the windy season. We enjoyed the trip, but since we only stayed the one night we didn’t get to do as much hiking as we would have liked, so we decided to return during the off season. With our schedule it turned out the second half of January was a good time, and watched the weather and the launch schedule for the missile range to plan the date. This last week the weather was perfect for photography – cloudy with rain in the forecast and temperatures unseasonably warm with to lows above freezing, and no closures scheduled. Off we went…
When you live in the southwestern desert you learn to accept that much of the summer is just plain too hot for outdoors activities. That’s not to say one is housebound the entire time, but aside from morning and evening walks hiking is not on the schedule.
In late September the weather starts to change, and we start getting out a little more. The town we live in has opened a new park recently, so we took an hour or so to take some pictures and enjoy the weather.
Last week we took a five-day outing with Arizona Highways Photography Workshops to Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. The workshop was led by Suzanne Mathia and supported by Tyler, A.J. and Todd from Arizona Outback Adventures. It was a great trip with some excellent hikes, spectacular photographs, and lots of fun!
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… just add water
As barren as the desert frequently appears, there’s quite a bit of life to be found. Water, though scarce, can be found if you know where to look. The White Tanks got their name from the fact that frequent flash floods over time eroded depressions that hold water. It’s not surprising that it became a choice grazing area for a cattle ranch in the early 20th century. During its time as a ranch a windmill powered well was installed that created an oasis. Now part of a county park, the oasis is almost swamp like in the variety of life to be found there.
One of the landmarks in Phoenix, Tovrea Castle is a recently restored historical landmark. Originally intended to be part of a resort hotel, it was purchased by the Tovrea family in the 1940s. Stitched composite of 9 images taken with the Olympus E-P5 and the 75mm lens at f22 and 1/320 sec and ISO400