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.

What’s with all the canals in Phoenix?

Visitors to Phoenix and even long-time Phoenicians may have wondered about the canals that stream throughout the Valley of the Sun.  Did you know that there are more than 180 miles of canals in Metro Phoenix?  (ArizonaForward.org).  That’s more miles of canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined!  Venice has about 26 miles and Amsterdam has about 60 miles of waterways.

Arcadia Canal photoThe origin of the canals in Phoenix stems from the Hohokam natives who constructed the canals to harness the Salt River to grow enough crops for 50,000 people prior to A.D. 1450.   In modern-day, prior to the 1950s when air-conditioning became more common for Phoenix residents, community members used to swim in the canals and picnicked on the banks of the canals.  The canal banks used to be lined with cottonwoods and willow trees, creating a riparian habitat.  The Salt River Project then began to modify the canals to make them more efficient.  SRP lined the canals with concrete and gave them steeper banks.  Swimming was banned not much longer afterward, as these changes to the canals’ structure made the water flow much more quickly.

Along with the modification and modernization of the canals came a more efficient cleaning process in the mid-1980s.  While heavy machinery used to be utilized to clean the canals (removing weeds and algae), nowadays SRP relies on fish to clean the canals.  These fish are a type of grass carp, called the white amur.  The white amur can eat nearly three-quarters of its weight in algae and weeds each day.  (http://www.srpnet.com/environment/amur.aspx).

What’s next for the canals in Phoenix?  City planners have proposed Grand Canalscape, a $22.5 million project which will improve a 12-mile section of the canal system from I-17 to Tempe (known the Grand Canal).  This neglected area of the canals will receive a paved multi-use pathway, lighting, landscaping and crosswalks and traffic signals where the canal intersects roads.  Funding will come from a combination of federal grants, SRP funds and city funds.  (http://grandcanalscape.com/).

CLICK HERE to learn about Scottsdale Homes and Neighborhoods.

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

Ten Things to Know Before You Move to AZ

Saguaro cactus photoInspired by Movoto.com’s moving guide, here are ten things to know before you move to AZ . . .

  1. Arizona is home to one of two baseball spring training camps in the country.  Spring training began in 1947 here in Arizona, with Arizona hosting MLB’s Cactus League.  (Florida is home to the other spring training facility, where it hosts the Grapefruit League).  Spring training begins the last week of February.
  2. While Arizona is home to the Sonoran Desert, and its incredible cacti and Saguaros, it also snows in Arizona thanks to mountains as tall as 12,637, in the case of the San Francisco Mountains outside Flagstaff, Arizona.  Flagstaff is also located in the largest, contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the world.
  3. Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Arizona.  As one of two states that choose not to observe this tradition, this means not having to turn back your clock or losing an hour of sleep.
  4. Arizonans are proud of the fact that they don’t have to worry about hurricanes or earthquakes or tornados.  The one danger, however, are dust storms, or haboobs, especially while driving.
  5. Wine lovers will also enjoy Arizona’s vineyards.  Check out the Verde Valley Wine Trail, the Sedona Wine Adventures, Willcox, or the many wineries in Sonoita.  There are other wineries in Chinle, Cottonwood, and Cornville, among other towns.
  6. Over 25% of Arizona is made up of Indian Reservations, which are home to thousands of Native Americans, including the Apache, the Tohono O’Odham, and the Navajo.
  7. Historic rock formations abound in Arizona, thanks to its location in the basin and range region of North America, revealing several ancient petroglyphs.  There’s also an incredible meteorite crater which is a mile wide and 570 feet deep.
  8. Arizona, or more specifically Scottsdale, is home to more spas per capita than any other place in the country.
  9. The Sonoran hot dog is a local favorite, and is a must try for any Arizonan or visitor.  With origins in Tucson, Arizona, this bacon-wrapped hot dog is typically topped with onions, pinto beans, tomatoes and jalapenos.
  10. The Arizona State Fair is one of the largest in the country, attracting over 1 million visitors each year.  Definitely a must visit!

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Canadians Selling in AZ – Important FIRPTA Update

As we all know, the Loonie is not in good shape and Canadians buying here in AZ is a tougher justification to make than it was a few years ago.  But if you were someone who bought then be aware:



FIRPTA Withholding Rate to Increase to 15%

FIRPTA Withholding Rate to Increase to 15%