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Friday, May 4, 2018

Arizona Wrap Up - Activities and Video

If you find yourself in Arizona, you will soon discover how much there is to do and see out here in the desert.  In just 3.5 days I was able to go hot air balloon riding, drive Tomcars through the desert, spend hours relaxing in the spa, attend a western chuckwagon dinner (complete with bull riding and line dancing), hike among the saguaros and chollas, and enjoy some of Arizona's amazing Mexican food.   

So like most of my wrap up posts, I figured I would share some of the best things I ate, what I did while visiting this beautiful state, and a video of my short stay in the Grand Canyon State.  

Recap Video 

The best thing I ate was easily breakfast at the Boulders Resort and Spa.  If you find yourself in Scottsdale, stop in to order the chilaquiles.  I ordered this more than once and plan to find a way to recreate this amazing breakfast.  Chicken, salsa verde, beans, and the perfectly fried egg are just a few of the ingredients in this amazing breakfast.  

Our stay at the Boulders Resort and Spa was a fantastic one.  I was impressed with how nice this resort and spa (and golf course, if you are into that) was.  I tried to absorb ever second of staying at this high end resort, knowing it would be the last one I stayed in for quite some time.  Instead of traditional hotel rooms, you stay in "casitas" and basically have your own little mesa.  Big open space with amazing bathrooms, an open living area, beautiful decks, and a fire place.  There are walking paths around the resort, various pools and hot tubs, and just about everything you could need.  I was told the golf course was tough but a beautiful one and this seems to be the notion for selecting this resort. 

Off roading/Tomcars in the desert was a fun experience but for me, a one and done.  We followed nose to tail in a long line of cars, navigating UTVs through dust storms in the Sonoran Desert.  Our adventure in the Tomcars was a great way to experience the American Southwest.  However, you will leave absolutely filthy and if you are looking for a more physical activity, this can be overlooked. 

Hot Air Ballooning was definitely the highlight of the trip.  Watching these massive balloons rise with the sun was an awesome experience.  After an hour long ride, we arrived at the landing site with a full breakfast setup, mimosas included.  Our tour with Rainbow Ryders was an excellent experience and I was amazed just how smooth and quiet our ride was.  

In true southwest fashion we attended an event that was perfectly planned to be everything "chuck wagon" and "Wild West". From ax throwing lessons to bull riding and line dancing, there was something for everyone at this event. Bundled up against the cold desert night, sporting our cowboy hats, we sat on hay-bails, took photos with the photo op donkey, learned the Cotton Eyed Joe and watched everyone fall of the electronic bull.


There are a ton of options for hiking if you want to stretch your legs in the desert.  We decided to keep it short and sweet (and intense...) with a 2.5 mile round trip hike up to the summit of Black Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona.  From the get go, the trail goes up up and up and you follow a sandy and eventually steep and rocky path to the top of the mountain.  The hike gains 1,194' over the 1.25 mile hike to the top which means you are gaining a decent amount of elevation over a short distance.  There are gorgeous views of the various cactus' and the city scape below.  The trail is well known and was fairly busy midweek.  Be prepared to break a sweat! 

Parking for the trail is not directly at the trailhead but instead, along Cave Creek Road at a dirt parking area at The Villas of Cave Creek.  If this is full, there is also parking further down School House Road.  

I had a fantastic few days exploring Phoenix and Scottsdale in beautiful Arizona.  A few days in the desert gives you a whole new perspective on just how diverse the landscape in this country truly is.  While I was happy to soak up the 70 degrees and sunshine, I have to admit, somewhere like Arizona is just a stop over for me.  I am sure you know by now but the coast of this country (especially the northeast portion) is where you will always find my permanent address.   

Stay tuned as the blog goes back to everything local, gearing up for summer on the shoreline. 

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