February 6, 2017

Rise of the Phoenix

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown up a post, so I’ll try not to make this one too insanely long. I could update you on all things going on, but for the moment I’ll leave it at some of the adventures I had last week!

I was able to go down to Phoenix for a work conference, and on either side of work days, I had a few hours to get out and explore.

First of all, I was really impressed how quick the flight is. I don’t know why I hadn’t contemplated just how close to Arizona we are (by air, anyway). So at just over two hours flight time, I could even contemplate taking my family to a spot like this. Further, the flights were cheap!

I digress.

Upon arrival, I did a zig to the hotel before zagging out to Camelback Mountain for a couple hours of hiking. It was a perfect day at 23 degrees, and as the afternoon wore on, it got to that lovely long-shadow time of day. Camelback is an aggressive vertical trail in many places, but the view from the top makes it worth the effort. There are no other hills nearby, giving you an uninterrupted view of the Valley of The Sun, in any direction you may choose to look. It was fabulous.

The Camelback trail was busy, but not ‘crazy busy’, and I often had stretches all to myself. It was two hours round trip, and that was with ample time up top, and stopping along the way for water breaks and photos. You can catch some video of that climb in one of the two videos I’ve put on my YouTube channel! 

 It does make an appearance in this video, however (part two of the video linked above!). Following the conference, I had a few morning hours left before departure. My wife’s aunt and uncle, conveniently, live in Scottsdale. Jacques, one-half of this dynamic duo, is a steward of the Sonoran Desert Preserve, and he gave me a fantastic tour of a small corner (Lost Dog Wash) of this expansive section of protected desert. 

It was a whirlwind tour, but a memorable one. How many of you have been to Phoenix and area? I’d go back in a heartbeat, I think!

The peak of Camelback

Once back in the hotel, I managed to connect up with some of my never-before-met-them-in-person colleagues who were in town for the conference as well—there’s not much to say about tripping around our hotel area on foot, as it’s all sidewalks, six-lane roads, strip malls and gas stations.
I’ll gloss over the conference, cause that’s my work and while I may be super-stoked about it, you might not be all that interested :P 

The saguaro cactus is one of the defining plants of this area. They are huge, columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, and are probably the most iconic thing you can think of when you picture this type desert. Reality is, though, there is a multitude of cacti species in the area, as well as many other desert plants. It was very cool to have a knowledgeable guide to tell me all about these things, as well talk about the animals in the area, geography, and a bit of local history, too. 
The trip concluded with a nice bit of brunch back at Jacque’s house, with his wife, Mercedes, before being taken back to the airport in time for my flight home! 

But for now… it's back to shovelling snow! D’OH! 

Last but not least, I'll say that I've thrown a LOT of videos on my YouTube Channel lately. Head over there for plenty of family fun! You might even consider subscribing... I seem to do more videos than blogs these days!