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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: 843  

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: 808  

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: 821  

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: 1454  

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: 748  

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: 844  

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Featured Reviews

I can't begin to describe my love for Wild Bunch. From my first point of contact with Laurel to the end of my hike, the service was AMAZING! I traveled on business but wanted to see some of the scenery that Arizona has to offer. I was not only lucky enough to have Matt as a guide, but was able to meet and hug Laurel, as she also met me at the trailhead. I had an absolute amazing time with Matt. He was so knowledgeable about the desert and made the trip so much fun. So much so that I tried to figure out a way between business meetings to fit it another hike. They were both also able to help me navigate my entire trip -- filled with amazing recommendations for dinner and things to do. I feel like we are all friends now!

- Lindsey T.

My brother had never been on a mountain bike ride in the desert, so while he was visiting - I called a top notch company - Wild Bunch - to give him a great experience. Not only was our guide "Don" knowledgeable about mountain biking, but also the desert plants and animals. Don observed our riding and adjusted the ride based on our skill level. It was an unbelievable ride, saw a coyote and a roadrunner. The mountain bike techniques Don shared, helped us maneuver the bikes and feel much more confident as we ventured through the desert. Plus we were provided with all the necessary equipment (helmet, backpack, gloves, water bottle, lip gloss ;-) to make this an enjoyable, exciting but safe experience. This is my second time with Wild Bunch and I would recommend them to everyone, at every level.

- Christina C.

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