Hiking In The Valley – What You Need To Know!

Black Mountain photoArizona weather is a huge draw to locals and visitors to hike the many beautiful trails the valley has to offer.  Authorities are concerned about inexperienced hikers who are unfamiliar with the territory and over estimate their hiking ability and lack of preparation.  Don’t let the comfortable temperature of mid 70ies fool you. Firefighters sill get a lot of calls for heat related complications this time of the year.  You should not hike when you are not adequately rested, hydrated properly and have the appropriate clothing.

Here are some helpful tips to stay safe while hiking:

  • Avoid hiking alone in secluded areas where there is no cellular reception. It’s always best to have a hiking buddy.  If you decided to go on your own, be sure to tell someone when and where you are going.
  • Start hydrating long before you go on the hike and ALWAYS bring water.
  • Make sure your phone is charged
  • Wear appropriate clothing, preferably with UV protections and durable hiking shoes.
  • Sun protection is imperative! Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Be familiar with the trails and take a photo of the trail map before you head out.

Check out these beautiful trails in and near Scottsdale, AZ:

Tom’s Tumb
Pinnacle Peak Trail
Lost Dog Wash Trail
Black Mountain Trail
Apache Wash Trail

Are you considering moving to North Scottsdale?  Browse this map of neighborhoods to learn about the communities and view homes for sale listings.

Phoenix Open: Where to park and win $100

There is no shortage of things to know when you go to the tournament.  One I find useful?  How do I get to the tournament the easiest way possible?

Baracades, police, security ropes and your lack of parking pass make it rather difficult to drive “in” to the open.  You certainly can, but without a parking pass displayed you will be parking in a designated lot, busing to a drop off place and walking to the entry.  You have some other options that get you from your meeting place (in this case a pub/bar) to the grounds without a 15 minute walk.

Moonshine Whiskey Bar: Shuttles depart at 10:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Feb. 6. $35. 410 S. Mill Ave., Tempe.

The Lodge: Shuttles depart at 10:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Feb. 6. $35. 26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe.

Sandbar Desert Ridge: Shuttles depart at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon Saturday, Feb. 6. $15-$25. 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix.

The Montauk: Shuttle departs at noon Saturday, Feb. 6. (The 10:30 a.m. shuttle is sold out.) $35. 4360 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.

Gringo-Star Street Bar: Shuttles depart at 10:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Feb. 6. $35. 501 S. Mill Ave., Tempe.

K O’Donnell’s Sports Bar and GrillThe sports bar in north Scottsdale has run tournament shuttles for years. This year the shuttles run all week, starting at 9 a.m. and departing every half hour until 30 minutes after the tournament is finished. For $5, get a Red Bull and a $5 food voucher to use at the bar. A special brunch menu will be served until noon Wednesday through Sunday.Details: Starts at 9 a.m. each morning and runs every half hour. Feb. 1-7. 14850 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale. $5 for a round-trip ride. 480-922-7200

Boondocks Patio & GrillThe Scottsdale bar with a massive patio and laid-back vibe will open early for Phoenix Open fans and offer shuttles at two times. Participants are encouraged to wear golf attireDetails: 9 a.m. bar opens, 10:30 a.m. and noon shuttle departures. 4341 N. 75th St., Scottsdale. $27. 480-949-8454

Zipps Sports GrillWith the purchase of a $10 food and drink voucher, Phoenix Open goers can get a ride from the Frank Lloyd Wright and Kierland locations of the popular sports bar. The voucher can be redeemed at any Zipps location.Details: Feb. 4-7. Shuttles will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Frank Lloyd Wright, 14148 N. 100th St., Scottsdale, 480-314-4600. Kierland, 6501 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, 480-948-5544.

El Hefe ScottsdaleThe Scottsdale party bar will have three bus trips to and from the Open on Saturday. Stick around El Hefe after the tournament for DJs, Mexican fare and fun cocktails such as the popular Bulldog-arita. The last bus from the tournament leaves at 4 p.m.Details: Buses leaving at 9 and 10:30 a.m. and noon. Saturday, Feb. 6. 4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale. $25. 480-945-6200

Temple Bar Sports Grill  The Chicago-style Irish pub is offering continuous shuttles Thursday through Saturday. Buy a $5 gift card to the restaurant and the shuttle ride is free. Stick around after the tournament and enjoy a Hangover Dip or Galway Fish and Chips, or one of the bar’s daily specials.Details: Shuttles start at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5 and 9 a.m. on Feb. 6 and 17050 N. Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale. Included with purchase of $5 gift card. 480-429-4520

….thanks AZ central for great info….http://www.azcentral.com/local/scottsdale/

The Temple is one of my favourites as it is a bit out of the way but not far away and it hasn’t been as busy in past years.  Last year I gave away a gift certificate to one of  my entries, so let me know if you want to be included this year simply fill out the form:

Waste Management Giveaway

Places to Fish in the Valley of the Sun

As we are in the midst of the dog days of summer, what is more emblematic of summer than fishing?  Even though we live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, there are a surprisingly good number of local fishing holes, all of which are a short drive within or from the Valley of the Sun.

Smack dab in the middle of Phoenix is Encanto Lake, located at 6602 W Encanto Blvd.  This 7.5- acre urban oasis is stocked with sunfish, catfish, trout, bass and amur.  Fly fishing and bait fishing are permitted.

tempe lake front real estate photoTempe Town Lake, just north of downtown Tempe, is one of the Valley’s newer fishing destinations.  This two-mile long, 220-acre lake is stocked by Arizona Game and Fish during the winter months, and is filled with rainbow trout, largemouth and yellow bass, sunfish, crappie, tilapia and channel catfish.  Fishing is permitted from both the north and south shorelines, as well as by boat.

Beautiful Saguaro Lake, located 40 minutes from Phoenix (and 20 minutes from Mesa), is 10 miles long, with over 22 miles of shoreline.  It is 118 feet at its deepest point, and is a popular boating, water-skiing and kayaking destination.  Fishing is permitted from shore (as well as from boat, of course) with fish varieties including bass (largemouth, small mouth, and yellow), rainbow trout, blue gill, crappie, walleye and channel catfish.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park (41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Road) is a 7,600-acre reservoir is home to several types of bass (white, striped, largemouth), sunfish, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and tilapia.  Boats are available to rent, by the hour or by the day, at the Scorpion Bay Marina.

Chaparral Lake (5401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale) features 10-acres of bass, trout, catfish and green sunfish.  Boats with electric trolling motors are also permitted.

These are just a handful of the dozens of fishing locations throughout and near the Valley of the Sun.  Remember that a valid fishing license is required for all fishers age 14 and up, on all public waters within the state of Arizona.  Licenses are available at all Big-5 Sporting Goods Stores as well as online with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Phoenix open is approaching. I golfed there a few days ago and took some shots of the setup.

16th hole set up

16th hole set up

across the water on 17- usually corporate village

across the water on 17- usually corporate village

phoenix open

set up at the 16th hole


down 17th fairway

The first time I went, I would have found these points helpful:

Parking – once you get into the area of the TPC Golf Course there are signs everywhere telling you where to go to park. You will park in huge lots and be bused over to the gates of the course. This is one of the most efficient crowd control I have ever seen. If you happen to have a parking pass you will have signage for your lot as well.
Tickets – can be purchased on line and at the gate. $25/day for general admission. As you are walking to the gate, often people will offer their “extra” tickets and usually a bit lower than at the gate.

Last year cell phones were not really required to be checked and people could sneak in with them.  Checking your phone isn’t that big a deal except at the end of the day when you have to line up to get it back!

Bring your ID.  If you plan on having a drink or two, you will be ID’d right at the entrance and given a wristband that you need to wear in order to  purchase alcohol. You will start with a walk through the entrance tent with merchants and booth displays and usually a tonne of samples but be prepared to be marketed to!

Once you are in the gate – grab a program and either follow a player or set up on a hole and watch players come through.  16 is great, but now that they have stands all around the par 3, be prepared on the busier days: Sat/Sun to wait in a line to get in there.  I have included my video from last year when Phil Mickelson entered 16: The Stadium.


Decorations in the Desert

Lights on a cactus??  It may be warm here, but I can imagine there is some pain in decorating for the holidays!  Click on the link to my video below

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!