Tales from the Trail Blog

Tales from the Trail Blog

'The kids are all right' on hiking & biking tours

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • April, 11, 2021
The scenery is unbelievably beautiful. The experiences are unforgettably memorable. If only your kids could be part of your guided Phoenix hiking trip or guided Scottsdale mountain biking tour. But wait! They can! Here is how families can enjoy the same thrills together with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. more...

Posted in: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Adventure Tours  |   Views: 167  

Hiking or Mountain Biking in Phoenix? Watch for these ‘Easter Eggs’

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • April, 04, 2021
Easter comes only once per year, but the Wild Bunch Desert Guides offer an “Easter Egg Hunt” of a different kind daily in the Phoenix Metro area. From Flora to Fauna, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert boasts all sorts of colorful and exotic sights not seen elsewhere. And those cool plants and animals are just waiting to be discovered, too, during a guided hiking tour or guided mountain biking trip. more...

Posted in: Hiking, Mountain Biking  |   Views: 101  

The Business of Love: The Adventures of Bonnie & Clyde

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 21, 2021
Life is an adventure, but especially when you own an Arizona adventure travel tour company. The demands of the industry make long-term personal relationships a tough business. An understanding significant other is a requisite for success in both business and love. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 263  

Survival drive delivers lessons in gratitude

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 13, 2021
When the CoVid-19 pandemic began a year ago in March, I was worried the dream of owning a small business was over for me. However, my Arizona adventure tour company not only survived, but is thriving a year later – and I have a front-line job to thank for saving my small mom-and-pop specialty shop, as well as my sanity. Here’s how I got from that perilous Point A to the paradise of Point B. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 180  

'March Madness' underway: Here's 'Elite Eight' Arizona adventures

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 06, 2021
“Selection Sunday” is fast approaching. Spring Break also is upon us. If planning a “March Madness” Spring Break dance to Arizona, these are the “Elite Eight” adventure you must consider during your visit to the vaunted “Valley of the Sun.” more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 277  

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: 212  

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: 213  

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: 163  

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: 246  

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: 171  

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: 135  

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

I met Laurel of Wild Bunch Dessert Guides in June 2017. We were both on the crew supporting an ultra-bicyclist in the Race Across America. Laurel is a fellow Iowan and we bonded quickly over that and over our love of the outdoors. I liked her outgoing and adventure seeking personality right away. In the 3000 miles of the Race Across America, (an endurance bicycle race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD) lifelong friendships are forged and sometimes lost. I know that Laurel will be a lifelong friend. Laurel’s outdoor experience is vast. She’s a seasoned hiker and cyclist (of all types): road bike, mountain bike, single speed, fat bike, and she “gets” what it takes to work with people of all experience and capabilities. She is also an excellent guide and is very perceptive as she listens to what “her groups” are interested in whether it be bike or hike! Her primary focus in planning hikes or bike rides, is to make things fun as well as safe, at the same time taking care of and respecting nature. I love hugging cactus with her! She is well respected among her peers and she is called upon for support not only to race herself, but to promote, volunteer and crew for many different types of athletic events. Laurel also has an excellent rapport with people of all ages. She has taught hiking and riding skills to both young children and the elderly, and every age in between. Her ability to communicate with a variety of people is what inspires them to “go for it” and meet their challenges and exceed their dreams whether it’s biking or hiking or taking on a new adventure. I look forward to taking many more exciting adventures with Laurel!

- Jill T.

Mark the guide for my solo ride was awesome! Made the perfect ride for what I was looking for -- great challenge and great views. I would recommend this company for all levels. We had done a family ride the day before with Laurel -- also awesome, very nice experience for the entire family. Nice bikes and great views!

- Joseph O.

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