Tales from the Trail Blog

Tales from the Trail Blog

IF YOU BUILD IT: 'Field of Dreams' realized through business, friendship

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 27, 2021
A chance meeting with a top baseball executive has led to a wonderful friendship and annual spring training tradition for the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. While I have reveled in the career successes of “Mr. Diamond” -- including a huge promotion after winning the 2016 World Series with my childhood team and home-state Chicago Cubs – he has been incredibly supportive of my small mom-and-pop specialty shop’s steady rise, too. Suffice to say, we have enjoyed the ride since our first mountain bike meeting in 2015, and become each other’s biggest fan while building our personal “Field of Dreams.” more...

Posted in: Mountain Biking  |   Views: 161  

Cancel culture: Why there is a refund policy

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 20, 2021
A cancellation policy is a necessary protection for a small business in the service industry. However, as an Arizona adventure tour company owner, I am torn by putting myself in other people’s shoes when a last-minute cancellation crops up. We all have been there as a customer, right? But there have been a few nightmarishly notable reasons for a strict 48-hour no refund policy in the past for the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 165  

Open love letter to the real superheroes of the Sonoran Desert

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 13, 2021
As “The Devil Woman,” I get to be a superhero to tourists by delivering fun and adventure during their visits and vacations to Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun.” However, the unsung heroes for me are the super team making my Wild Bunch Desert Guides a success. Together those talented pros and fantastic human beings make either a guided mountain bike tour or guided hiking adventure an amazing experience. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 110  

Camelback Mountain Master Class: This is 'F'ing hard'

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 05, 2021
Look at the spectacular pictures from the peak, and the attraction of a Camelback Mountain hike is easily understandable. I certainly get the allure for visitors to Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, too, as a Midwestern transplant blessed with many unforgettable moments in my memory bank. However, as an adventure tour company owner, I must be honest with my guests -- a guided Camelback Mountain hike is not for everybody. more...

Posted in: Hiking  |   Views: 151  

An adventure guide walks into a coffee shop … (no joke!)

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • January, 28, 2021
A chance meeting with visiting multi-media specialists TOTL turned into a glorious day of mountain biking in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. A mutual-admiration society also was formed that day in the Phoenix area, as well as a wonderful promotional video produced for my small adventure tour company, Wild Bunch Desert Guides. But more than anything, the experience served as a great series of lessons learned by this small business owner. more...

Posted in: Mountain Biking  |   Views: 118  

This woman’s adventure tour company truly a ‘wonder’

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • January, 21, 2021
I am lovingly referred to as the "Devil Woman" because I bring the heat as a hard-working taskmaster with a wicked sense of humor, devil-may-care demeanor and fun, adventurous spirit. Those super powers serve me well as the leader of the Wild Bunch Desert Guides, a band of do-gooders fighting a never-ending battle against boredom, lethargy and the "crime" that is the CoVid-19 pandemic. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 92  

Coronavirus & Tours

Getting outdoors and hiking or biking is not only good for you mentally and physically, but it's one of the safest activities you could participate in. We are taking all appropriate measures following CDC guidelines to avoid any COVID-19 transmission. More details here.
 

Featured Reviews

On a recent trip to Phoenix, my wife, daughter and I signed up for a desert walking tour experience with Wild Bunch. We weren't sure what to expect, but the Tripadvisor reports were excellent and the person I spoke with, Laurel Darren, is the owner and clearly loves what she does. We are not outdoor adventure-type people, but this experience was well beyond our expectations. First is her emphasis on safety and health concerns and what to do in case of the unexpected. Second, she has an uncanny ability to move at a pace that meets the capabilities and comfort levels of the client. Third, her knowledge of the terrain and the area is extensive! Moreover, she is a delightful person with some terrific stories and makes the experience very enjoyable. The day we went, oddly as it may seem, was cool (60s), but normally plan to go early. This is a small independent operation, so you don't get a corporate feel when going out (like a cookie-cutter experience). It is specifically tailored to you and your interests. We cannot recommend Wild Bunch strongly enough. Whether you are only an ‘occasional morning stroller’ or experienced climber, the Wild Bunch team will ensure your experience is memorable.

- Dan M.

Loved it so much, I booked a hike for the next day with another guide, Ellen, who guided me through Cave Creek. She was excellent! Would highly recommend this service to anyone, no matter what your level of experience is.

- Sharpie M.

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