Is One Sunset Worth a Blog Post?

It’s a Friday night and I wanted to get home early. But God had other plans. He decided to put on a show, that I was happy to attend. And I got home late.


There’s Something about Balloons and Saguaros!

The cooler seasons in Phoenix means the hot air balloons are in the sky.

For us out there hiking, the balloons add to the enjoyment of being in the desert.

Of course, it’s the definition of being in the right place at the right time. The winds need to blowing the right direction, and you have to be at the right spot of the trail if the pilots (are they called pilots?) bring them low enough where you are.

There is a strange universal appeal about capturing the balloon and saguaro together. In the world social media, these always get the most “likes”.

For the record, I’m scared of heights. It’s not likely I’ll have any photos from the other vantage point. Happy Trails!  And don’t forget to look up!


It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Do What I Want (which is get out early and wander)!

Not much to share, as the pictures speak for themselves. When Phoenix gets a cloudy day, the pre-dawn and sunrises can be amazing. These a combination of Camera (I realize I still want that with me), GoPro, and cell phone. All within about 90 minutes (Lightroom used on some for some “pop”). Happt Trails!

Clear Blue Skies! I’ve missed you so!

It’s kind of like rich people complaining about the rest of us getting #Crumbs (sorry to be political), but it’s the first morning I can remember in Phoenix with clear blue skies this winter.  And I’ve missed it!

So my wife and I do what we like to do on a Saturday, and take a quick wander through a desert trail.  Ruby was with us, too!

This pic below is kind of an inside joke on my brother-in-law, who listens to 5 minutes of a mediation app on his phone every day (He refuses to pay for it).  I call it “Meditating with Mark”:

We were fortunate that the winds had the balloons take off near Apache Wash:

I Don’t remember taking this.  My GoPro may be haunted.  The “Hikers Crossing” silhouette:

Happy Trails!

Do I need to hike with my camera anymore?

I’ve spent much of the last year hiking with my Nikon D3400, along with my Samsung Galaxy 8 phone.  And I’ve been very happy with the pictures they both take.

But I was fortunate enough to be gifted a GoPro Hero6 Black during the holidays through a drawing at work – (a gift from God?). 

 I’m not sure I’d have ever bought one, which may have been a mistake in judgment.

I’ve committed to carrying just the GoPro and phone while hiking the last few weeks and have been extremely impressed with the video and pictures.  And even more impressed with the picture capture the phone app makes.

With a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike scheduled in May, I may leave the Nikon behind to save weight.  Anybody have thoughts?

I do use Adobe Lightroom as the GoPro has limitations, but that’s true for the Nikon (as I have limitations 😊)

Below is a combination of mostly GoPro, but it’s hard to tell.

Summer Hikes in the Desert

Yep, it’s hot.  Really hot sometimes. So what’s a guy to do when he wants to hike in the summer?  He gets up at 4:30 in the morning and sets out.  

What started out as a personal goal to take 7 sunrise hikes in 7 days has now surpassed 20.  It wasn’t for any particular reason – mostly to break up the summer doldrums.  In the desert, we look forward to summer ending.  And my “for any particular reason” feeling has been well worth it.  The desert is a beautiful place:

I will say that it is starting to feel like somewhat of an addiction and I have done a couple of days of “sidewalk” hiking.  But in Arizona, even in the neighborhood, you never know what you will see.

Like a tarantula crossing for school:

Or a rattlesnake at “guarding” the trail sunrise:

And apart from feeling better,  it is a great time to be out getting some amazing early morning views:

Happy Trails and No Guardrails!

Desert Sunrises – Monsoon Style

The last few weeks in the desert has made for some awesome sunrises.  I spent a nice early morning hike this past weekend and blown away.


I also managed to unintentionally take another photo that I almost hesitate to share, just not sure why….


This isn’t a sunrise, but it was one of the most unique Monsoon cells I’d ever seen.

Phoenix Monsoon

And a nice double three-legged rainbow.

Phoenix Rainbow


Places:  Lake Pleasant, Arizona  

Ok, so I went to Lake Pleasant and didn’t take any pictures of the lake. But I wasn’t there for the water.  I was there for the sunset.

Lake Pleasant Sunsets-59

And got to see my first couple of wild burros (you have to look close – they didn’t want me anywhere near):

They’ve been pretty elusive for me. Here is the “bigfoot” version (can’t even see the zipper of the suit):

WordPress: My One Year Anniversary

I’ve enjoyed my first year blogging on WordPress.  But of course, it’s not really about the blogs themselves, but the numerous experiences and photographs that led me to sharing these to begin with.  The American Southwest is Amazing!  I hope also that I can inspire just one person to get just get there and just wander someplace – very little happens sitting on the couch.  Be Safe and Thank you!

And given the chance, I always have to “be me”

Favorite Places in the last year:

Places:  Devil’s Bridge in Sedona.

Places: Courthouse Butte Trail in Sedona

Places: Monument Valley

Places:  Walnut Canyon

Places: Return to Horseshoe Bend

Places: Lower Antelope Canyon

Grand Canyon in Winter. It speaks for itself!

Places: Wukoki Ruins