Upsides and Trade Offs in the Valley of the Sun

My business trip earlier this week to Scottsdale, Arizona went well. It was nice to finally take in the area from beyond the airport and airplane windows. But, it was ultimately much shorter than I thought it might be and there wasn’t any time for real exploration.

I might try to return with my family and more time to play. I’d like to pack my golf shoes and rent clubs next time. I actually packed my rock climbing shoes in the far-fetched hopes of bouldering around Camelback Mountain — which is smack in the middle of town and was just down a block from my hotel — or drop into one of several indoor gyms. Unfortunately, because of a full day of flying and skipping lunch because of time differences, I didn’t eat until what is ordinarily my bedtime. The daylight was gone and the southwestern food satisfied me but left me feeling full; very full. Bed it was. Morning came, the gyms wouldn’t open until after my flight departed, so I strolled momentarily in the dawning light nearby Camelback before I caught my ride to the airport.

I walked past some of the nicest residential real estate in the area and thought how neat it would be to live right here, have a necktie job like the one I have now, and walk across the street to these stones. Actually, for me, this idea was entirely novel. It gets 115 degrees (F) in the summer here. I’m miserable whenever Peaklessburg gets over 90. Average temperatures and snowfall can make or break the location’s appeal for me. But the trade off of heat for rock suddenly seemed appealing. At the same time, it’s not snow country. That’s a ways away, so skiing and other winter sports would still be out of reach.

During my brief walk I was taken by how dry and still everything seemed to be. According to my cab driver, it usually is. I say this because it’s amazing that in such a dry, rocky environment, the two forces that most shape the landscape is what it seems to lack most days — wind and water.

The notion of urban climbing was never more relevant than at this moment. Urban climbing on the east coast means gym training, really. But here — and doubtless other places in the western portion of North America — it means something more literal. You don’t have to pack up the Subaru and drive four hours to climb a little. Here, you can pull off the side of the road after work, then go to the Fashion Center on East Camelback Road for dinner and a drink or head home.

Of course climbing in the summertime would be impossible, I suspect. The rock would be too hot. So it it’s not one thing, it’s another.

It’s nothing like Vermont or Alaska — where I daydream the most. It’s different. I can’t tell if I am drawn to it because I like it or because I’m curious. By contrast from what I am accustomed to, it is a curious place.

Thanks for dropping by again. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following the Suburban Mountaineer on Facebook or Twitter. Happy reading and carpe climb ’em!

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