The crowdfunding campaign was a great success and I will be leaving for Arizona at the end of February! Thanks to my generous backers, I will be starting the trail in early-mid March of 2016. My goal is to not only thru-hike and photograph the trail in its entirety, but to also donate usage of those photos to the Arizona Trail Association so they can better protect the scenic resources found along the trail. Recently, one of these areas shot to the spotlight when the Center for Biological Diversity released the only public footage of the one jaguar known to live in the entire United States. This amazing animal migrated in from Mexico and his helping his species to repopulate areas that were lost to them long ago by predator extirpation. Now, a Canadian company wants to create an open-pit copper mine right in the middle of his habitat, destroying a critical wildlife corridor and devastating him home, leading to myriad consequences in the natural world in that region. It’s my hope to capture enough of Arizona’s incredible scenery along the trail to prevent short-sided mistakes like that from taking place anywhere near the Arizona Trail. To follow along, keep up with my blog or my YouTube channel.
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Grand Teton National Park
My personal favorite national park, and one of the more underrated in the country, Grand Teton National Park is home to one of the most picturesque mountain ranges in the world. Towering above a massive valley used by dozens of species of wildlife for migration, the Teton Mountains offer new views every day both from Jackson Hole below and inside the mountains themselves where endless hiking trails can be found.
Falling on the border of the United States and Mexico, the Huachuca Mountains are one of Arizona's southernmost mountain ranges and a spectacular example of a sky island. Though the desert floor below exhibits extreme heat and desert grasslands, the higher elevations of the mountains, including Miller Peak, are home to a forest of pine and evergreen trees where winter weather is regularly expected. The mountains are also home to Coronado National Memorial, commemorating the first organized expedition into the Southwest by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.
Bordering the eastern reaches of the Phoenix metropolis, the Superstition Mountains are a natural mecca ripe with hiking trails galore and even sustains a rebounding wildlife population. The western front of the mountains are a dramatic uplift out of the desert floor, creating an exciting photography opportunity from Lost Dutchman State Park, and an adventurous gateway into the deeper depths of the mountains.
One of the most amazing natural wonders in the world, the Grand Canyon, cutting through the Kaibab Plateau, is a remarkable feat of natural erosion that cannot be replicated in any photograph or artwork, thus providing an endless amount of opportunities for artists of all fields to continue to try. It's a treasure of northern Arizona and should be something everyone sees at some point in their life.