Mesa blog: Exploring Arizona on bicycle


Arizona offers plenty of opportuities for exploring and photography, including this site in Sedona.

Thursday night had arrived; we all had a long weekend planned. I assembled my cheap, mail-order bicycle and got ready to start exploring.

After riding my bike 10 or so miles with TJ, I got back to find out that a group was leaving in 5 minutes to hike up Camelback Mountain; I got back just in time. Camelback Mountain is a short drive from the Mesa campus.

We piled in Doug’s station wagon up to capacity and left for the trails. We had a mile of climbing to do, and we wanted to get to the top and back before dark.

So we started climbing. The Echo trail was crowded that day, turns out the trail had been closed for over a year for maintenance and as we learned later; we were there opening day. I’ve never seen so many hikers. The trail is 1.23 miles long ending at an elevation of 2704 feet. The website describes it as “Extremely strenuous and difficult. Long rocky segments with possible drops and exposure.

Of course, we knew none of this information going in. We just wanted an adventure. As I enjoy photography, I brought my fancy, bulky camera along for the ride. It was a huge pain, but completely worth it. After climbing for almost an hour (including my intermittent photo stops) up steep, rocky terrain, we got to the top.

Our net elevation was 1,200 feet, and from there, we could see everything. Arizona is a really flat state, minus the randomly scattered mountains, so from the top we could see all the way back to Mesa. The limiting factor of our gaze was the curvature of the earth, like looking out onto an ocean of sand.

We took an amount pictures verging on absolute narcissism, but nothing gives the feeling like being on top of the world, quite like being on top of the world. Alas, we needed to leave, the sun was setting and by the time we hit the bottom, it was dark.

It was a great way to start off the weekend, our first adventure in Mesa. Surely, it will not be the last.