START HERE to explore Arizona Wonders


Welcome to Arizona Wonders!

Get ready to experience an amazing place loaded with unexpected sights, sounds and experiences.

Paul-Fiarkoski-Emerging-Mindeleff-Cavates-080418-croppedMy name is Paul and I’ll be your guide on this exciting Arizona Wonders journey. I started this blog in 2017, after living in Arizona for five years. It’s my attempt to capture the amazing beauty of the Grand Canyon State. My goal is to share insights into this magnificent place that will help others explore unique nooks and crannies of Arizona.

Two things I knew about Arizona when I moved here:

  1. It’s hot

  2. The Grand Canyon is here

Both are facts that most people know about Arizona. What I’ve learned in my time living here is that there is so much more to Arizona than heat and the Grand Canyon.

My awareness of the many wonders of Arizona was piqued in 2014 when I went on a group hike with my church to an amazing place called Havasupai. Based on the pictures alone, you might think you’re looking at a remote place on an island in the tropics. The journey involved a 5-hour bus ride to a dusty parking lot. From there, we hiked eight miles down into the canyon, where we stayed in a very basic lodge managed by residents of Supai village. As we neared the village, we crossed a small, swift-running creek of clear water that originated from a spring.

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The next morning, we ventured down the canyon a few more miles. Every hundred yards or so, the creek got a little wider and ran a little faster. Eventually, we began to see small waterfalls. The falls got bigger and bigger as we ventured on. Before I knew it, I was looking at a gushing waterfall that poured well over a hundred feet (33 meters) into a massive, clear turquoise-blue pool carved out of rock-like travertine.

HavasuFalls2

Unbelievably, we would come upon an even larger, more stunning fall further downstream. I felt like I was experiencing a place only possible in dreams. Check out some of my photos below from the Havasupai experience. (Click any thumbnail image for larger view).


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My Arizona Bucket list

The trip to Havasupai had a profound affect on my perspective of Arizona. I thought if that magnificent place was accessible only to those willing to get out of the car (or bus in my case) and venture out, what other wonders are out there waiting to be experienced. I chose to no longer just live in Arizona, but to actually seek out adventure and explore this amazing place.

I created a bucket list with two categories:

  1. Places to see

  2. Places I’ve seen

After a couple years, my “places to see” list was growing faster than “places I’ve seen”. Want to check out the bucket list? Here ya go:

Ultimate Arizona Wonders bucket list and top ten list

How this blog came to life

This blog is really a culmination of the items from my “Places I’ve seen” list mentioned above. For bragging rights, I would post pictures on Facebook and tell a story or two after each adventure. My Facebook friends seemed to take interest based on their comments, even though most of my contacts do not live in Arizona.

Over time, I realized that the bulk of my Facebook updates were about the wonders of Arizona. So, I decided to set up this blog, and name it AZ Wonders. The response has been great!

Feedback and encouragement from my followers keeps me going. Through the WordPress blogging service I use, I am able to see where people are spending the most time on the blog.

The number one post (by far) that draws people to azwonders.com is Superstition Mountains cougar shadow. This blog evidently ranks very high when people search for that amazing natural phenomenon that happens only a few days during the year. Interestingly, you can find all sorts of shadow images projected on rocks if you look for them. It’s sort of like finding animal shapes in the clouds.

time lapse of cougar shadow appearing and disappearing on a mountain
Time lapse image of the Superstition Mountains Cougar photographed from 4th Ave & Goldfield Rd in Apache Junction

If you’re curious about the other popular posts, check out Top 10 AZ Wonders posts of 2017.

Along with the blog itself, I invite you to follow my adventures on a special Facebook page and Twitter account that I set up.

Some highlights of my Arizona Bucket list

These days, I see so many amazing things as I travel the state. People who come with me on field trips sometimes get impatient because I’m always stopping to check out rocks, critters, plants and other wonders I once took for granted. And of course, I can’t just look at them. I have to take pictures. From multiple angles. Ha! This is the main reason I am usually alone in my videos.

I am often asked what my favorite Arizona Wonder is. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but below I’ve listed a few experiences that I’d love to do again and again.

If I were to give an honorable mention award to one Arizona Wonder, it would have to be Kaiser Hot Spring. (Check out the post and you’ll see why.) It’s about a two hour drive from Phoenix and the perfect cure for anyone in need of a mental health day off from life.

How to use this site

If you made it this far down the page, you are clearly interested in what I’m doing. Here are a few ways to get the most out of AZ Wonders.

Follow AZ Wonders

  • Subscribe for email updates
  • Connect on FacebookTwitter and YouTube too
  • Share AZ Wonders with your friends and followers

Explore Arizona

Scroll down and look for topics that interest you, then click the title for more info. Click on the Explore Arizona drop-down to see posts categorized by topics such as hiking, mountains, plants, water, and more. Click on highlighted topics and tags for more articles similar to the one you’re viewing.

Insiders Guide

Under the Insiders Guide tab, you’ll find unique images, guest posts about Arizona adventures from other bloggers, plus product reviews and other tips to help you get the most out of your Arizona adventures.

Search

If you have a particular item you’re looking for, just type it into the Search box located at the bottom of every page. Example: type Fossil Creek and click Go to find all AZ Wonders posts that mention your search word(s).

Connect

  • Rate the posts (5 stars make me happy) or like them
  • Use the comment box to ask questions or tell me what you like
  • Send me your photos or stories with an email to azwonders @ outlook.com (no spaces)
  • Share AZ Wonders with others who might be interested

Start your AZ Wonders adventure

I am so glad you’re here! Arizona is a place full of exciting adventures. Now, all you have to do is start clicking around to explore more. Hang around and keep coming back because I’ve just scratched the surface. There are so many more wonders to explore. And I want to share them all with you.

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4 Comments

    1. Thanks, katelon! I’ve been putting it off in favor of pursuing adventures. This is the year I get serious about doing things more strategically with the blog. Happy 2018 to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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