Grayhawk Twilight Tour

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Six beautiful homes to come and see.  Refreshments and snacks with draws at the last home.

Come and see me in Home #3 on Journey Lane!

Great Places to Hike in the Valley of the Sun

hiking trail photoExploring the beautiful Sonoran Desert by way of hiking its many trails is a fantastic way to enjoy Arizona’s weather, maintain physical fitness and reduce stress.   There are hundreds of hiking trails in the Valley of the Sun, but here are a few to consider if you haven’t already:

  1. Apache Wash Trail.  Located off of Sonoran Desert Drive, west of Cave Creek Road, this beautiful area features over 20 miles of trails perfect for beginning and intermediate level hikers.  As one of the newest area of trails created in the Valley of the Sun, the area is pristine and beautiful, with impeccably maintained trails.  The trails are shared by mountain bike cyclists, hikers and horseback riders, and the views from the summits are incredible, and offer a unique view of this part of the Valley.
  1. McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  This area is located in North Scottsdale, and features many different trails for all skill levels.  Children would enjoy the Bajada Trail, a short nature loop.   One popular option for beginner and intermediate hikers is the Gateway Loop Trail which is about 4.4 miles and offers breathtaking scenery.  More advanced hikers can join the Windgate Pass Trail from the Gateway Loop, to link up to the Tom’s Thumb Trail, a challenging hike with a reward of a phenomenal viewpoint at Tom’s Thumb, a 114-foot granite spire.
  1. Pinnacle Peak Park.  Located at 26802 N. 102nd way in Scottsdale, this popular park features a 3.5-mile round-trip trail that is popular with everyone, from families to trail runners, thanks to its well-maintained wide trails and beautiful views.  Because the trail is an out-and-back hike, be sure to take note of the mile markers along the way if you don’t intend to hike the entire trail.  A little past the ½ mile mark is the Grandview rest stop which offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the Valley of the Sun, with McDowell Mountain in the distance.  Go one mile further and you’ll reach Owls Rest, where you can see Camelback Mountain to the south.  While there are no facilities or water fountains on the trail, much of the trail is shaded due to how it winds between the mountain.
  1. Thunderbird Conservation Park.  Located west of Phoenix in Glendale, just 20 minutes from Scottsdale and North Phoenix, this 1,185-acre conservation park is not as well-known as other hiking spots, but it offers equally beautiful vistas with fewer crowds.  With over 20 miles of trails (labelled H-1 to H-5), the longest hike in this park is the H-1 hike.  An approximately 5-mile hike at the ridgeline (with a 400-foot elevation) with switchbacks to the summit, results in a beginning to intermediate level hike that can be completed in about 2 hours.  All ages and fitness levels will find a hike to enjoy in this gorgeous park.
  1. Camelback Mountain.   With its iconic shape, Camelback Mountain is arguably one of the most popular and distinctive hikes in the Valley of the Sun.  Bobby’s Rock Trail is one of the easiest routes on this otherwise-challenging mountain, with an elevation change of 200 feet.  This quarter-mile trail follows the Echo Canyon summit trail out of the parking lot, and is perfect for families and younger kids.  For those who desire more of a challenge, and amazing views, the Echo Canyon Trail is a very difficult 1.23-mile hike to the summit, ascending 1,280 feet to 2,704 feet above sea level.  The trail can be very crowded and parking is very limited on the weekends, but the payoff is worth it with vistas that demand to be photographed.  The Cholla Trail is on the back side of Camelback Mountain (accessible via 64th Street) and, while challenging, is easier to navigate because it’s not as crowded as Echo Canyon.  With gains of 1,300 feet over 1.42 miles, the first 1.1 miles are standard trail hiking with the last third of a mile a scramble over rocks in the “saddle” of the mountain.

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Goodbye to Greasewood Flat

How sad, as of March 21st 2015 Greasewood will no longer be a destination for afternoon drinks, burgers and live music.  For 40 years this watering hole has attracted bikers, cowboys, golfers, the older, the younger looking for a relaxing lazy afternoon under the shade of the huge trees outside.  It is in fact, the greasewood bushes that was the inspiration for the name of the place.   Located just off Alma School, Greasewood started out as an old bunkhouse building that stretched over 1000 acres of the Sonoran Desert known then, in the late 1800’s as DC ranch.  A man named Doc Cavlliere bought 45 acres where Greasewood sat so he could get away from it all, meaning downtown 20 miles south.  I am sure it is a surprise that now that area has developed into one of the most affluent areas in Scottsdale: Troon Village, Pinnacle Peak, Troon North to name a few communities.

The tiny ordering station and bar housed what I think, were the safest dollar bills hanging in open air anywhere!

resized gwood dollars


There has been  talk  that the current owners were too far in debt, that it was willed to the kids and they weren’t interested or couldn’t keep it and that a developer was going to come in and buy the 42 acres.  I really don’t know the whole story.  There have also been rumours of it relocating but remaining Greasewood Flat.  It would be hard to duplicate, but it was more about the atmosphere, philosophy and people that made it such a unique place to be….. and should it ever happen I hope to be there on opening day as I was there on closing day.

gwood resize golf cart resize Gwood close day gwood resize bar resize gwood stage

Did you know there is even a movie filmed there?  A story of a struggling blues musician named Johnny making his way through life.    Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby from Sons of Anarchy) is in it too.  I believe you can now get that on Netflix!

resized greasewood movie


Grayhawk’s Raptor Course Gets a 3-hole remodel

Grayhawk community is home to 2 public-play golf courses: Talon and Raptor.

Tom Fazio’s team has begun the remodel on the Raptor course of holes 15-16 and 17 with the changes allowing the property owner to reclaim some of the land that the city of Scottsdale had required for regional drainage.  There has been talk of a boutique hotel going in now that the room will be there, but I was unable to get anyone to confirm that.

As  I was golfing there a few days ago, I took some shots of the construction that has begun and if you have had the pleasure of golfing the course, you will see how different it looks already.  See photos below-

The Raptor course is closed as of today and they will be running 27 holes for the summer months with the full 18 reopening in October 2015.

The Fazio team believes the changes will improve access to the site, provide a more uniform golf experience that will lend itself to a safer environment should any future development take place.

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R #16 Tboxes looking back to #15 green

Looking back to #15 from the par 3 #16’s t-boxe


R Right side of #14th Fairway

From #14 fairway all down the right side

R #15 Tbox

# 15 T-box

R #17 right side cleared out

Right side of # 17 – par 4