The road from red-rocks to the Grand Canyon

My previous blog post described my experience on the Camelback Mountain hike in the middle of Scottsdale Arizona. Of course, while in Arizona for an extended weekend a trip to the Grand Canyon was on the itinerary. Rather than taking a day trip shuttle from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and back, my fiancée and I did the trip in a rental car so that we could go through the day on our own schedule.

The Arizona landscape and scenery was amazing at all stages of the drive, from the desert of Phoenix, to the red rocks of Sedona, through the forested area in Oak creek canyon, the dry and grey region leading to the Grand Canyon, and then the surprisingly colourful Grand Canyon park.

The first stop on the trip up was to red rock park in Sedona. The most popular sight here is the famous “bell rock”, named for its bell-like shape. However, just beside bell rock was this view in the picture below, which for whatever reason I found to be more awe inspiring.


Red Rock park near Sedona, AZ

After the warm feeling of being in the sun with the red rocks came a drive through oak creek canyon and up to the Oak Creek Vista, where somebody had clearly needed to shovel snow recently! We through on a light sweater and took in the fantastic view looking back at the drive we had just completed through the canyon, which turned out to be one of my favourite views on this day trip.


View from Oak Creek Canyon Vista

Our first look at the Grand Canyon came at the Mohave Point. Instantly, the Grand Canyon became the most impressive sight I have ever seen. The picture does not portray the experience, missing the scale of how far down the Colorado River sits, and how far away the other side of the canyon seems to be.


Mohave Point view

The Grand Canyon was impressive, unique, distracting, but also colourful. Particularly as it got to be later in the evening, the dark purple of the deeper shaded regions began to contrast well with the bright yellow and orange rocks still in the sunlight.


Evening view from Desert View at the east entrance to the Grand Canyon South Rim

I recommend everyone goes to see the Grand Canyon sometime! It was truly amazing.






A different type of mountain view

Two weeks ago I got the chance to go down south to Arizona for a little sun. This of course necessitated a break from snowshoeing in the frosty mountains of Vancouver and Whistler, but did not prevent from hiking in general! While staying in Scottsdale AZ, I had the chance to go for a sunrise hike up camelback mountain.

I was excited for the trip to Arizona in general, but could not have anticipated how much I would enjoy the scenery. Hiking up camelback mountain (1200 foot elevation change via Cholla Trail) was completely different from hiking in British Columbia. In BC, when heading up to a mountain peak it is usually just your group and the trees – you have to wait until the end to see anything because the forest is so thick. This was not the case on camelback mountain, where the greenery consists of sparse saguaro cactuses (apparently people can’t decide if it is cacti or cactuses) and short shrubs.


This is a view half-way down the mountain, no trees blocking the view!

Starting prior to sunrise was beneficial in avoiding the hot desert sun during a mountain ascent, and also made for fantastic views of far-off mountains and some unique views of the mountains within metro Phoenix while their shadows were long and stretched across the city.

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View of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves from Camelback Mountain. The shadow to the left is the massive shadow created by camelback mountain during sunrise.

The Phoenix area has some impressive looking mountains nearby. Camelback mountain was just a quick morning hike, but there would be plenty more hiking to be done had I stayed in the area any longer. Just as the sun was rising was a great time to look out towards the famous four-peak mountains.


The four-peaks mountain is centre-right of this photo, off in the distance.