To give you a little context of how this adventure came to be… our 2019 kicked off to an interesting start… I rang in the new year in the hospital and was quarantined for about 10 days after being discharged. At home.. no leaving the house.. no travel.. no events.. no work.. This was a change of pace for us to say the least.
Happy New Year!
After 3 weeks of being at home taking it easy, I was itching to go on an epic adventure to make up for my lost time. However, I knew I wasn’t up to my normal stamina, so I decided to jump in the car and enjoy the scenic views Arizona has to offer.
For my first adventure of 2019, I wanted to be spontaneous and go where the road took me but I needed somewhat of a goal. I looked up free events near me and found one near Superstition Mountains that looked enticing – with free food and hot air balloons, what’s not to like?! Tip: People often ask how I hear about these free events. I actually use Facebook to see smaller local events going on near me!
Morning – Scenic drive from Scottsdale to the Superstition Mountains
I started the morning by packing my CamelBak, some Rx bars, and clementines for my adventure ahead. You never want to be stuck out on the road without water and snacks, especially in Arizona! I didn’t know what was ahead, so I packed a little of everything for the day.
You can get to the Superstition Mountains area two ways from Scottsdale – through Fountain Hills and south on the 87 or drive through the city via the 101 & 60 highways.
Tip: When two routes have close estimated travel times, we opt for the scenic route because you never know what will catch your eye on the way. I highly recommend going through Fountain Hills to get to the Superstition Mountains. Shea Blvd. and the 87 have breathtaking views the entire drive.
Afternoon – New Development Announcement – Lunch & Hot Air Balloons
After going way more east than I’d ever been in the Phoenix area, I finally pulled up to the Gold Canyon community hosting the free event. I grabbed some delicious (and free) street tacos and churros, toured the property, and headed up towards the highlight of the event – complimentary hot air balloon rides. The community bordered beautiful landscapes that were even more beautiful from the sky.
Tip for these free events: be honest if you’re not going to buy anything. It saves everyone time. You won’t be turned away from the event, and you’ll still get everything that they advertise. If you’ve read our Cabo blog, you know that attending seminars or promo events is a great strategy for experiencing unique, free activities.
After I checked off all the free activities at the community, I headed on the road deeper into the Superstition Mountains via the Peralta Trails.
Afternoon – The Wave Cave
I decided to drive towards the Wave Cave. This looked like a cool way to jump back into adventuring! On the way (and down a dusty, dirt road towards Wave Cave), I realized that my lungs were simply not up for a hike yet.
I followed that dirt road which seemed like it would never end. Along the way, ATVers were zooming from campsite to campsite exploring the terrain. I figured, hey… maybe I can’t hike, but I can still enjoy the views.
At some point, I lost service, but it was nice to just unplug and enjoy FINALLY being able to be outdoors. I made it to the Wave Cave trailhead before hopping back in the car and heading back to Fountain Hills.
If you’re looking for a picturesque landscape that truly captures what Arizona is all about, this is the dirt road you want to end up on. Although I couldn’t do the Wave Cave on this particular day, I’ll definitely be back.
Late Afternoon – Fountain Hills Fountain
So… I decided since I ended my day early by skipping my hike, the day wasn’t over yet!
The drive back to Fountain Hills was equally as beautiful (and much more peaceful than taking the 101). Since the day was already full of awesome firsts (first hot air balloon, first time seeing the Superstition Mountains, first time in Gold Canyon…), I decided to add one more and see the famous Fountain Hills Fountain!
This Fountain Hills Fountain reaches up to 384 feet and goes off every hour on the hour for 15 minutes. Sitting along the water’s edge watching the fountain blast off was the perfect end to a free day of low key adventure!
Whether you live in Arizona or you want to visit soon, I highly recommend taking a day to explore the Superstition Mountains and all the views they offer. This is the perfect Arizona experience for those that may not be able to physically hike or have lack of mobility but want those amazing desert mountain views.
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