The family stars have truly aligned in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. My work brings me there. Noah loves to attend the regional taekwondo tournament held in Phoenix every November. Bob’s son Geoff, and daughter-in-law Andrea, live there. (Andrea’s parents now have a place in Arizona, too.)
Plus, one of Bob’s college roommates just moved there, and his other roommate has a daughter living there. So, we have lots of reasons to visit. In fact, Bob was just in Scottsdale for a reunion with his college buddies, who he hadn’t seen together in 40 years! He took the photo above from one of their yards, which made me want to go back. So, when I recently made plans to go there on a business trip in a couple of weeks, Bob and Noah jumped at the chance to come with me.
One of the places we truly enjoyed was Camelback Mountain, iconic throughout the Phoenix area. It’s also the most popular of in-town hiking locations, with extreme heat, no shade, and thick crowds. The summit offers view of the Phoenix metro area.
The trails can be pretty taxing, but the scenery is beautiful. Bob did a series of photos in black and white, as the bright light and shadows were perfect for this old-style photography, don’t you agree? (Click on a photo to enlarge it and/or view a slideshow.)
A far less taxing and equally enjoyable adventure was our time spent at the Phoenix Zoo. Modern in the San Diego style, it’s open and spacious, with lots of things for kids (and adults) to do.
One of our favorite activities was feeding the animals. This giraffe was especially attracted to Andrea, who was happy to provide a bit of food. This interaction between humans and the zoo’s inhabitants make this one of best zoos we’ve visited. For kids, it helps build the knowledge that we’re all in this world together!
Besides the usual habitats, the zoo has a working farm where kids can explore, play, and get close to a variety of four legged creatures. (You can see here that Noah shares my love of goats.)
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
This sprawling park offers hiking & horseback riding trails, camping sites & a bike course. This is the place to get close to those really big saguaro and other cacti you see all over the area. Hikes range from easy to advanced.
Like Camelback, there is lots of heat and sun, with little, if any, shade. Crowds and pets can get plentiful, especially on weekends. You can get a feel for the beauty of the terrain from Bob’s photo at the top of this posting.
- Get there early to avoid traffic and view the scenery before the sun is too high and washes out the colors.
- Bring water. Wear hats. Put on sunscreen.
- Wear sturdy walking shoes and consider bringing along a walking stick.
We’ll be back soon!
Masthead Photo: Phoenix Sunset on McDowell Mountain and Thompson Peak (Bob)