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When it comes to seeking out unusual scenery along Arizona trails, John and Leslie Boucher of Phoenix see things through a retro lens. “As a photography hobbyist since the mid-’80s, I’m always looking for scenes with interesting rock formations or plants to photograph,” John says. “The scenes I prefer to photograph are well- suited to black-and-white film photography with vintage cameras and lenses.” The black-and-white photo on the right was taken with a Pentax SP1000 from the mid-1970s, a 1960s-era Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm lens and Lomography Earl Grey 100 film.
The couple was inspired to move to Arizona from Southern California in 2004 after taking a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon and beholding the state’s impressively diverse ecosystem. When deciding where to hike, they prefer the less busy trails and unique natural features of South Mountain Park in Phoenix.
“One that we discovered about five years ago, and revisited recently, is the Corona de Loma Trail,” Leslie says. “It is on the Ahwatukee side of the mountain, starting at the Warpaint trailhead, and seems not quite as crowded as others. The climb up is quite a challenge. We noticed that many hikers stop and turn around when they reach the ridge, but the interesting parts of the hike are farther on, in our opinion. You descend into a valley at the top, with lots of little nooks to explore, a scenic sandy wash area, and a rock formation called the Chinese Wall. One feature of this trail is you can see many rare elephant trees.”
Elephant trees (Bursera microphylla) look something like Palo Verde trees but with distinctive twisted, flaky trunks that display white, green and reddish coloring and aromatic fruits. South Mountain Park is one of the few places north of tropical climes where specimens of the frost-sensitive species can be seen growing in the wild.
IF YOU GO
Corona de Loma
LENGTH: 6.4 miles roundtrip (including access trails)
ELEVATION: 1,370-2,360 feet
GETTING THERE: Warpaint Drive Access Trail, 13009 S. Warpaint Dr., Phoenix.
Parking hours are from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WANT TO SEE YOUR PHOTO HERE?
Upload your photos to: phoenixmag.com/travel/citizen-hiker/
Photos that best depict trail character and experience will be added to our website slideshow.
Each month up to three photos will be selected to illustrate the Citizen Hiker article in our print and digital editions.
A record-breaking hike on the Arizona Trail with an inspiring backstory.
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