Phoenix hiking tours: Here comes the Boom!

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • July 02, 2022

“Had never been mountain biking. My son wanted to experience this on a recent trip to Arizona. Had a great experience with Laurel from Wild Bunch Desert Guides. She made the adventure for a son and his dad memorable. Hugs from North Carolina Laurel!! You are the best!!” – T.T. Olson on TripAdvisor, July 2017

A guest admires the amazing views from Tom's Thumb during one of the Phoenix hiking tours from Wild Bunch Desert Guides..
(TOP) A guest admires the amazing views from Tom's Thumb during one of the Phoenix hiking tours from Wild Bunch Desert Guides.
(COVER) A Wild Bunch guest smiles in the shade and sunlight created through by one of the many exotic rock formations found on Phoenix
hiking tours.

Just like my Cubbies, my annual June swoon has happened.

The first month of summer flew by WAAAAAY too fast!

Labor Day dangerously appears right around the corner. The late September end of my extended working vacation -- offering Colorado hiking tours this summer in the San Juan Mountains – now seems uncomfortably close.

Thankfully, the Fourth of July is on our doorstep to diffuse any hint of depression.

After all, who among us can “Sing the Blues” when there are good old Red, White and Blue explosions lighting up the night sky?

I love Independence Day for the same reasons we all do – but especially the kids.

The fireworks.

Oh, I won’t lie, the food, the drinks and the family time are cool, too.

But that happens every holiday.

Nah, the plethora of pyrotechnics are what separates the Fourth of July from every other day of the year.

And who doesn’t like blowing stuff up? (Ha)

Firecrackers. M80s. Roman Candles. Bottle Rockets. Catherine Wheels. Fountains. Mines.

Um, yes, more please!

If visiting The Valley of the Sun, and perhaps enjoying Phoenix hiking tours or Scottsdale mountain bike tours with my Wild Bunch Desert Guides?

There are all sorts of events offering big fireworks displays and other holiday fun for you to enjoy after one of the Phoenix adventure tours offered each morning by my small mom-and-pop specialty shop.

The Wild Bunch guided tours begin at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. for one very good reason – and that is to beat the worst of the sweltering summer heat in Phoenix.

Our goal is to show you the exotic beauty of the Sonoran Desert – and then get you back to your hotel or resort to get a Prickly Pear Margarita in your hand before the triple-digit heat takes over.

Whether joining us during the extended holiday weekend or any time during the hottest month of the year in Arizona – your safety is our No. 1 priority.

Our expert guides are medically trained to manage any curveball on the trail – but a morning adventure reduces the risk of suffering dehydration or any heat-related illnesses on your once-in-a-lifetime experience with the Wild Bunch.

And best of all, every one of our Phoenix hiking tours or Scottsdale mountain bike tours is private and exclusive to only you and your significant other – or your family or travel party.

The Wild Bunch never asks to put Bill from Boston or his girlfriend Bobbi from Buffalo or any random kids dropped off by their parents into your group to maximize the company’s bottom line.

These are not the cattle call bus tours you get from other providers. These Phoenix adventure tours are exclusively about you and completely crafted and personalized around your individual wants and needs.

A mother and daughter soak in the fantastic views of the Sonoran Desert's exotic beauty during one of the Phoenix hiking tours from the Wild Bunch Desert Guides.
A mother and daughter soak in the fantastic views of the Sonoran Desert's exotic beauty during one of the Phoenix hiking tours from the Wild Bunch Desert Guides.

Red, White, Boom of Phoenix hiking tours
Besides fireworks, the other reason I freaking love Independence Day is because we all get to celebrate the birthday of the greatest country this world has ever known.

Regardless of the many differences we have as people – whether they be hyper-charged political arguments or fundamental religious beliefs – we all can agree we would rather be Americans citizens over any other nation on the planet.

And that is precisely because we have the right to disagree.

Besides following the laws governing all of us – and agreed upon by our democratically elected leaders -- we are not required to think or believe any of the same things.

For instance, I enjoy Phoenix hiking tours and Scottsdale mountain bike tours. I also LOVE dogs, ‘80s hairbands and my guilty pleasures include ANYTHING made with ice cream (especially from the San Juan Soda Company during my summer retreat to Lake City).

But that does not mean you have to feel the same way.

There is not one national race, creed, or religion we all need to be. We don’t have to be on the same team. We can be part of many different groups and clubs and organizations. We can be whomever we choose to be.

Anybody that has seen the TV images of war-torn Ukraine or the many poverty-and-disease stricken states in Africa should certainly say a little prayer of thanks this Fourth of July for living in America.

Yeah, gas prices and inflation suck right now -- but would you rather be in Yemen or Somalia fighting a desperate fight against famine wondering when and where the next meal is coming from for you and your family?

As a strong, independent, businesswoman and female athlete, I know I count my lucky stars every night I was not born into the cultures that oppress, discriminate, and mistreat my gender such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

Women can’t drive? WTF? I suppose that is why women and girls are not allowed to think for themselves there, either.

Or maybe you would rather be part of the mass migration to our southern border desperately trying to get into our country to flee the violence and lawlessness of gang-and-drug cartel controlled Central American countries?

There is one big reason they are there, folks.

For all of our shortcomings – for the many things that need fixing – America still is the land of opportunity. Here is where the next innovation or invention is only an idea away.

Like Lee Greenwood sang in 1984, “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”

Only in the United States do we enjoy the many freedoms we do to determine who we are and make what we want out of our lives.

Only in America can we choose to move about freely to sample the many different aspects of our melting-pot culture and see the best of our country from sea to shining sea.

Only in America is the only limitation our imagination.

Only in America could you dream like I did to own and operate a small business like the Wild Bunch Desert Guides and chase my passions.

Only here is where we can truly enjoy frivolous pursuits such as Phoenix hiking tours and Scottsdale mountain bike tours.

As Mr. Greenwood concluded -- God bless the USA, indeed.

Laurel Darren at Tom's Thumbs.

About the Author

Laurel Darren is the founding owner of the Wild Bunch Desert Guides, a 5-star rated adventure tour company that offers guided hiking tours and guided mountain biking tours in Arizona’s picturesque Sonoran Desert in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Arriving in the legendary “Valley of the Sun” in 2012 -- from the home of John Deere in the Quad Cities of Eastern Iowa/Western Illinois -- this corn-fed Midwest girl brought 30 years of athletic chops under her chaps. A 3-sport high school standout and former college softball player – who won her conference’s Athlete of the Year award as a prep senior – Darren has graduated to competing in many races as an adult, from road running and cycling, to cyclo-cross and Mountain Bikes, and even Duathlon and Triathlon “Ironman” competitions. Darren was a popular, top-rated senior mountain bike guide at Arizona’s Outback Adventures before branching out to start her own small adventure business in 2016. To book a guided mountain bike tour or guided hiking trip – or a combination of the two adventures – please visit the home page or call 602-663-0842.


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