Northern Arizona’s Prescott and Sedona region is the epitome of Southwestern charm. The vibrant culture and cuisine of the region is the result of a melting pot of Native American, Mexican, and wild West influences, which are prevalent throughout both of the cities. Adventurers are quickly introduced to the diversity of the region on our Northern Arizona Biking and Hiking Tour, with the trip’s first lodgings being held at the quaint Hassayampa Inn.
Astonishing, mesmerizing, and other-worldly are not unusual reactions to first rides among the towering Saguaro cacti of southern Arizona. On what are typically brilliant blue sky days, the bright green hues of the Saguaro stand in stark contrast to a rugged and rocky landscape. From the seat of a bicycle, one often feels awestruck by the beauty and diversity of this extraordinary place, the sweet fragrance of desert flowers, and lilting sounds of myriad birds.
Even the most avid of cyclists can be slowed to a crawl by the compelling need to capture their experience through the lens of a camera. A 100′ Saguaro, a flowering Prickly Pear and a Jumping Cholla – snap, snap, snap. Hop back on the bike, pedal a few strokes, and there’s a multi-armed Saguaro that looks like a long, tall Texan. Roadrunners dart from shadow to shadow, teasing a photographer to get a clear shot. Sometimes it’s easier to settle for evening photos!
If you’re like many folks living in Canada or the northern two-thirds of the US, the opportunity to escape winter’s cold for a warm, sunny destination is high on your list. Sojourn’s Arizona Bike Tours have attracted sun-seeking cyclists for the past decade to the region in and around Tucson.
Tucson has always been at the forefront of developing bicycling infrastructure and its devotion to completion of The Loop, which will soon total over 130 miles of bike paths, has not gone unnoticed by cyclists. Sojourn has been touring guests to and from Saguaro National Park for years using paths that are part of The Loop.
The final day of our bike tour in Arizona found us wandering through shops in Tubac and enjoying various massage options at the resort. Nearly everyone opted to skip today’s final ride given that many of us maxed ourselves out on yesterday’s extended mileage options.
There are some true artisans in town and the array of shops offer something for everyone. Our tour leaders steered me toward Solo for a look at a selection of used cowboy boots while the extensive collection of one of a kind pieces of silver and turquoise jewelry at Old Presidio Traders drew many of my tour mates.
As we descended upon the breakfast place next door this morning – great spot called the Gathering Grounds – everyone was excited for another sunny day. A burrito loaded with poblanos, spinach, avocado, green chilies and black beans seemed to be calling my name but a mouthwatering display of pastries was awfully tempting. Thankfully, our leaders had enough insight to pick up some of the “sweet stuff” to add to our lunch!
Today’s ride led us over a beautiful route where the only vehicle was saw was the Sojourn van. In addition to far-reaching views, we rode through unusual rock formations as we climbed to a picturesque lake, certainly a rare desert oasis. Half the group chose to shuttle ahead to walk the trails around the lake while the rest of us tackled the climb. As we all re-grouped for picnic overlooking the lake, I marveled at how our leaders, so supportive during our rides, found time to prepare delicious Southwestern spread for lunch.