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An Arizona Monsoon

Arizona is unique. Why? Because we receive rain from two places: the California area & the Mexico area. The Grand Canyon state is host to practically every type of topography. We have the desert in the lower region and the pine forests in the northern. Our climate can suit almost any person, whether you like the dry heat, or the moderate, cool temperature in the upper region.

What makes this state even more interesting is that every summer in Arizona we have a monsoon season, which can be described as hurricane and tornado-like winds, down-pouring rain and magnificent lightening shows. This part of the summer also witnesses the mighty force known as the haboob, which can only be seen in Egypt & Iraq. It is a wall of dust that carries itself over cities and neighborhoods, forcing drivers to pull off to the side of the road because they can no longer see in front of them.

During the monsoon season, the clouds build up all day long and sheets of rain let loose in the late afternoon and evenings. Frequently two storms build up from the southern region and the northern region, bursting inside the Valley. At other times, the monsoon combines with the dust storms to create a massive storm of epic proportions. The aftermath of a monsoon reveals knocked down power lines, metal street signs twisted in ways not thought elementally possible and trees bending into the streets after being uprooted. Roads are overwhelmingly flooded, making sidewalks invisible and cars shooting up walls of water. The canals, which are usually empty all year, are finally flowing like a river. Kids are swimming in lakes of water that once were grass areas. Some even bring out kayaks and paddle across the grassy lakes.

No matter the inconveniences that also arise after a monsoon has passed, such as blackouts and humidity, it brings with it excitement and relief for many Arizonans. We get to see the preview of it all day outside our windows as the clouds become larger and the sky grows darker. Cooler air offers a welcome comfort after experiencing scorching days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Monsoons become memorable events because it reminds us that life is still supported in a state that continually faces droughts and gives us something to look forward to in the Spring: blooming cactus blossoms & fields of flowers.

The first of a wave of monsoons this season.

The brewing storm in Downtown Phoenix.

Trees have been blown over by the monsoon winds.

This family is loading up their kayaks after taking a cruise in the grassy lake.

A kid takes a break from riding his bicycle through the grassy lake.


A video of a grassy area transformed into a lake after a heavy monsoon rain.

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The Northwest Valley of Arizona

Ten years ago, the settlers of the Northwest Valley would never have dreamt it to look as it does now: bustling intersections, a brand new football stadium, a man-made lake and an antique shopper’s paradise.

The city of Glendale has seen its fair share of transformations. Some of which include a prominent grammar school in the early years to today having Arizona State University West, Glendale Community College and the Thunderbird School of Global Management within its borders. The Santa Fe Railroad that once steamed through the city will look toward the future as the Valley Metro Light Rail is completed in 2011. The more modern part of the city consists of the Arrowhead Mall, the new Westgate shopping and dining region right next to the Cardinal’s University of Phoenix Stadium and the Jobing.com Arena, where concerts and hockey take spotlight. However, with so many changes, the community has been able to hold onto its heritage in the tiny downtown district. Some of the historic homes are actually antique shops full of books, furniture, clothing, dolls, paintings and more while other homes have been turned into restaurants with eclectic menus. Winter brings the traditional Glendale Glitters attraction, where lights sparkle in the trees and shops stay up late, booths overtake the lawn with food and merchandise, kids enjoy rides as dancers and singers perform in the amphitheater. Do not forget to visit the Cerreta Candy Company and take the factory tour, where visitors can get a first hand look at how the fudge and fine chocolates are made.

You won’t ever find yourself indoors while in the city of Peoria. It is a mecca for those who love nature, sports activities and those who want to learn something new. The Peoria Sports Complex hosts the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners for their Spring Training and is also the site of the Dolly Sanchez Egg Hunt, 4th of July All-American Fest, and Halloween Monster Bash and Balloon Illumination events. The ice skating rink and roller rink are located close by, as well as the Rio Vista Recreation Center and Park where a gym, sand volleyball courts, fishing lakes, playgrounds, baseball fields and skate park can be found. Those who can’t get enough, head up north to West Wing and Sunrise Mountains where new hiking trails have just been constructed, or even farther up north to Lake Pleasant Regional Park for boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and picnicking. The park itself sponsors many activities from scuba diving, stargazing, nature tours and even running events. If adrenaline is still pumping, enroll in Turf Soaring School, and glide through the blue skies or watch the speedsters at the Canyon Speedway Park.

Surprise, surprise, surprise…it just keeps multiplying and multiplying and it isn’t any wonder because the city already has an active shopping center and sports complex. The White Tank Mountains are the backdrop of Surprise and provide hiking trails, the Waterfall Trail being amongst the more popular and numerous events suitable for every age. For the more artistic bunch, The West Valley Art Museum offers collections of over 4,000 items from around the world, exhibitions, musical performances, and activities such as classes and workshops. If you like straying from the pack, visit the Speedworld Motorcross Park where you can practice or watch the throttles reach their maximum performance.

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The Southwest Valley of Arizona

It is not debatable that the Southwest Valley has been growing faster than a saguaro’s arm ever could. Developments have sprouted up and spread as far as the White Tank Mountains and beyond with the lure of affordable land and homes bringing thousands just like the Gold Rush. The cities and towns of Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield, Wickenburg and Gila Bend comprise most of this area that is filled with activities for those interested in the arts, outdoors, sports or indulging themselves in the many shopping centers that are springing up.
Buckeye was once the home of author, Upton Sinclair, but is now known as one of the largest growing neighborhoods in Arizona with 22 master planned communities and the future site of a 900-acre Buckeye Town Lake. Head south on the State Route 85 toward The Buckeye Hills Regional Park, which is composed of 4,474-acres to hike trails in the lush desert landscape, pitch a tent for camping, enjoy a family picnic or try for a bull’s-eye at the shooting range.
Goodyear is a prime living arrangement for the family team. The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds host their Spring Training in the city, which is conveniently located 20 minutes from Downtown Phoenix. Take the family out to a game or visit one of the many community parks: the Splash Pad, the Skate Park, Roscoe Dog Park, or any of the other neighborhood playgrounds. The outdoor sports enthusiasts can enjoy the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, which provides bikers, horseback riders and hikers miles of trails to blaze in a perfect desert landscape. The surrounding area, Casey Abbot Recreation Area, has volleyball courts, an 18-hole golf course, picnic areas and a jungle gym for the kids. Every two years, Goodyear hosts the Luke Days, an air show that draws many crowds and if you want to see the largest collection of bibles, look no further than in the Grand Lobby of the Hampton Inn and Suites, and in the summer cool off with Movies in the Park and Dry Heat Comedy. For those not interested in recreation, stay tuned for Estrella Falls, the newest mall will be opening in fall 2011 and spans 105-acres in the budding city that still has reasonably priced land available.
A small suburb is maturing within the farming community of Litchfield Park, situated 16 miles from Phoenix near the 1-10. The city is recognized for its family atmosphere and easygoing lifestyle. Throughout the year the Recreation Services holds “Arts in the Park Live”, a free concert series with performances by diverse bands that play everything from blues, jazz, country to even big band swing. Art festivals are always marked on calendars and the recreation center provides a variety of programs for the youth, adults and senior citizens so everyone can become involved.

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