Tag: Fountain Hills

Hiking in Fountain Hills, Arizona: Adero Canyon

One of the amazing things about living in Arizona is just how close at hand amazing hiking trails almost always are. Nearly every suburb of Phoenix has a few trails if not several mountain parks, and the eastern town of Fountain Hills is no exception. Since the late 2010s, the city has been building trails through the southeastern part of the McDowell Mountains, and created the Adero Canyon trailhead. With less crowds than some of the city’s more marketed trails, hiking in Fountain Hills offers visitors and residents alike the opportunity for challenging climbs, easy walks, and beautiful views. Any local hiking fanatic should definitely check these trails off the hometown bucketlist. This guide will walk you through the main trails of the park and breakdown everything you need to know to visit.

adero canyon

Please remember when you come to take care of this beautiful landscape. It is the home of people, plants, and animals, and the care of every visitor will help protect this place for the future. In this guide, we will be covering Caring for Wildflowers.

Caring for Wildflowers in Central Arizona and Beyond

adero canyon

ABR (c) 2019

You might not imagine that the deserts of Arizona are home to a vibrant array of wildflowers. But every year there are seasonal growths of purple, orange, red, and yellow flowers which can be viewed when hiking in Fountain Hills and elsewhere. Not only are these a beautiful element of the landscape, but the diversity of plants is key to the health of the Sonoran Desert. Diverse flowers support diverse pollinators and herbivores. And the healthier insects and herbivores are the healthier our charismatic predators tend to be. Everything is linked in nature.

Likewise, wildflowers play an important role for indigenous and Western cultures. At the very least, the beautiful colors encourage folks in enjoying the end of the cooler season, and make preparing for the intense summer a little more enjoyable.

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Fountain Hill’s Chinese Lantern Festival

(c) AB Raschke

(c) AB Raschke

There was a new cultural event to grace the stage of the Phoenix-area’s celebrations this year: The Chinese Lantern and Folk Festival. The festival was hosted by Fountain Hills, in the city’s namesake park, and the Universal Cultural Organization, which works to created cultural understand and friendship between the United States and China.

The main attraction of the festival, as it’s name suggests, were the large, beautiful lanterns that lined the Fountain Hill Lake’s shore in honor of the Chinese New Years, and the arrival of the Year of the Horse. The lanterns themselves were like nothing I had ever seen before, and even from the pictures of the festival online, I had little understanding of what I would see. About the size of parade floats, the lanterns were beautifully lit depictions of Chinese folk tales. A mix of painted, translucent materials, and sculpted figures, each and every lantern was a piece of art in its own right. I couldn’t help but try to take pictures of them from all angles. Every photo told a different story, as each lantern had been carefully, lovingly created, and each small detail from the clouds and plants of the lantern base, to the painted faces of the figures that strode across the stage of each one told a different story.

(c) AB Raschke

(c) AB Raschke

In conjunction with the artwork celebrating the new year, the festival hosted dancing, martial arts demonstrations, puppet shows, and traditional music performances. Unfortunately, I came to the festival too late to catch anything other than music performances; so I can’t account for this aspect of the celebration.

In my opinion, seeing the lanterns with Fountain Hills’ massive fountain in the backdrop was well worth the price of $12 that was charged on entry. That being said, I was aware of several visitors who expressed disappointment at what their money bought them. Being its first year, the festival did have a few things I thought could have been improved, especially in light of what I have seen in Phoenix’s Aloha Festival and Matsuri. For one, there was only one stand serving Chinese food. Part of what I really enjoy about cultural festivals is the chance to try different foods, and in the case of foods that I am familiar with, I enjoy learning about new restaurants in the Phoenix area. This isn’t something that happened at the Chinese Lantern Festival. There was also a distinct lack of shops, which was similarly disappointing.

It may be that more was going on at the festival earlier in the day, but even if it wasn’t, I know that the first year that these sort of things are organized can be somewhat bumpy. I am looking forward to seeing how the festival evolves and grows in the coming years.

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