Arizona’s Sunrise Walks and Wildlife, Chimichangas and Historic Buildings

Posted By Mike Padgett

March 7, 2010

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Just a few of my Arizona favorites: A lone bull elk grazing on the lawn early one November morning as I stepped out of El Tovar Lodge at Grand Canyon. I never had seen a bull elk, much less been so close to one. Lunch at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix. Optimism displayed by city officials and the business community at the future of their downtowns in Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix. A ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad. La Posada Hotel in Winslow. Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Old Main at Arizona State University.

The redevelopment potential of old warehouses and other aging buildings throughout Arizona. Architects’ creative ideas for these buildings.

Westward Look Resort in Tucson. A visit to Tubac and its arts and crafts shops south of Tucson. A walk around Mission San Xavier del Bac. A visit to any one of Desert Mountain’s golf clubhouses. Silverleaf at DC Ranch.

Chicken chimichangas. Homemade turkey burgers. Barbecued salmon steaks. Guacomole and chips. Chipotle seasoning.

A horseback ride in the desert east of Tucson. Or in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. Walking the West Fork Trail west of Oak Creek. The end of the summer heat. Ladybug swarms. Saguaros blooming in the moonlight. Watching horizontal lightning. Listening to Carrie Newcomer or Mary Chapin Carpenter or John Gorka sing about growing up and compassion and friends.

A view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise in November, from the south rim. Copyright photo by Mike Padgett.

A sunrise walk on the south rim of the Grand Canyon any time. Sunset at Canyon de Chelly near Chinle. Summer camping in the forest on Mogollon Rim north of Payson. Discovering marine fossils during a summer drive on the Rim Road. Visiting Zane Grey’s cabin before it burned in a forest fire in 1990. (A replica built in Payson opened in 2005.)

Studying the prehistoric petroglyphs at Painted Rock Petroglyph site west of Gila Bend. From a helicopter, photographing inaccessible ruins in the cliffs in central Arizona. A helicopter flight over the Salt and Verde rivers and their dams.

Watching quail, javelina, coyotes and a black rattlesnake, from a distance. Spotting a great white heron in the shallows of the Verde River. Summer rains, desert aromas and rainbows.

A hummingbird zooming up from behind and hovering near my shoulder. Sitting motionless in my parked Jeep when a cactus wren lands on the sill of the open rear passenger door window. It then hops onto the rear seat, then the floor, before it flies away.

Oral histories of early Arizona. The Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, originally opened as San Marcos Resort in 1913, in downtown Chandler. Taliesin West in northeast Scottsdale. Designs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Downtown Phoenix’s historic buildings, including Hotel San Carlos, opened in 1928; Orpheum Theatre, 1929; the Luhrs Building, 1924; and the Luhrs Tower, 1930.

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Mar 7th, 2010

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