Blog Archives

Two Canadian travel writers visit Phoenix and what do they see?

phxmushist_smjpg[Source: Barbara Braidwood and Rick Cropp, Canwest News Service] — Phoenix, Ariz.: yes, you can golf, shop, or watch professional sports until you can’t stuff in another hot dog, or hit the culture trail of art galleries and theatres until your eyeballs hang on your sunburned cheeks.  But a different view of Phoenix comes from the air, the fringes of the city or even from underground.  When you need a break from all the good food, sports, and golf, take a balloon ride, dig up a little history, drive out, way out, into the desert, or climb a mountain.

Phoenix really did rise above the remains of another civilization, and traces of the 3,000-year-old Hohokam people — who disappeared around AD 1500 — remain. Beneath the downtown Phoenix Convention Center are the remains of about 40 Hohokam pit houses and hundreds of items recovered during the construction are on display.  Afterwards, go to the nearby Phoenix Museum of History for a view of the city’s history up to the present day.

Unlike Canada, where trees and brush so often obscure your view, with any elevation at all in Phoenix you can see for miles.  The city has mountains on two sides and a hump in the middle called Camelback Mountain.  Camelback’s sheer red sandstone cliffs can be circumvented or challenged with trails to the top (350 metres above the desert), where there is a spectacular outlook.  The easy trails at the bottom are a stroll for anyone with a good pair of walking shoes, but the top is a bit of a struggle.  Mountains at the edges of the city are higher and offer much more diversity, from really easy to death-defying trails. The North Mountain Visitor Center has exhibits illustrating the Sonoran Desert’s richness as well as maps of hiking trails snaking around the more-than-600-metre mount.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

From high atop South Mountain, a view of metro Phoenix

Photographer John T. films this panoramic view of metro Phoenix as seen from high atop South Mountain.  Included are shots of downtown Phoenix, Chase Field, US Airways Center, Sky Harbor International Airport, Camelback Mountain, Tempe, and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Phoenix on a budget: New rail line, hikes, golf

People wait in line for a table at Matt's Big Breakfast (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

[Source: Terry Tang, Associated Press, reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News] — In Phoenix, there’s nothing a trip to the golf course can’t fix.  It’s a warm winter escape for those who can afford a second home, and it basks in the spa-facial glow of being a place where people will pay a lot for five-star fun.  But for those with shallow pockets, the Valley of the Sun has budget-friendly options mixing an urban identity with access to nature.  It’s not every big city where you can scale a mountain, sample authentic Mexican food, and take in a free art show — all in one day. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]