Today's balmy high of 75 degrees accompanied by sparse clouds made for ideal hiking weather in late January. This month alone my hiking partner Conner and I have hiked 72 miles around Arizona. I have been photographing more of my hikes this year than ever and plan to continue doing more so. Today's hike was Boulder Canyon Trail #103, starting next to Canyon Lake east of Apache Junction.
The trail starts at Canyon Lake's marina and quickly escalates in elevation to a crest that overlooks the lake to the west and the Superstitions to the east. This first glimpse of the surrounding terrain is spectacular. Barely out of the suburbs and you are faced with an endless horizon of jagged rock peaks. Saguaros pepper the desert floor, adding a lovely contrast to the common shrubbery. Continuing along the trail, we descend into a dried river bed that passes along Battleship Mountain. From above, the valley trail seems arid and void of any water. What we find instead are smooth polished rocks and a large quantity of green vegetation. The groundwater and shade from towering mountain tops here keeps this harsh environment more than habitable for a variety of creatures, including ourselves. After a relaxing lunch break in the cooler valley atmosphere, we trek on down the wash where it eventually becomes running with water, a beautiful sight in Phoenix. Following a total of 13 miles, we arrive back at the Marina with smiles all around. It may get hot here in the summertime, but the rest of the year, I am ecstatic I live in Arizona.