Share your Arizona trail adventures on our monthly hiking page.
Abstract landscape artist Thuong Nguyen of Chandler walks away from his hikes inspired to create nuanced visual interpretations of Arizona’s complex terrain.
The artist’s outdoor adventures also help him decompress and contemplate nature on levels that go beyond the obvious. “The horizon is the line or circle that forms the apparent boundary between earth and sky. The limit or range of perception, knowledge or the like,” says Nguyen, who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from ASU.
Whether his subject is the raw power of a monsoon or the muddled layers of a desert mesa, Nguyen – who came to the United States from Vietnam in 1978 as a refugee – paints from the heart. “Hiking allows me to slow down to be in awe of the wonder surrounding us daily that we often take for granted.”
When not hiking, Nguyen spends his free time volunteering at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter in Mesa, where he creates murals to brighten the kennels. That’s where he found his hiking sidekick, a 3-year-old terrier mix named Yogi. “We have been together over a year after [my dog] Ollie passed away,” the passionate animal lover says. “All my four-legged companions came from the county shelter.”
The duo hits the trails a couple of times each week, with Flagstaff’s Lockett Meadow, Peralta Canyon in the Superstition Wilderness and Doe Mountain in Sedona being among their favorite dog-friendly and inspiring destinations.
Nguyen’s work is on display at Art One Gallery in Scottsdale and on Instagram (@thuongnguyenstudio).
IF YOU GO
Doe Mountain Trail, Sedona
LENGTH: 1.6 miles roundtrip
ELEVATION: 4,605-5,067 feet
GETTING THERE: From the State Route 179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, go 3.2 miles west on 89A to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and go 4.5 miles to Boynton Canyon Road, turn left and continue 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. A Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
A hiker gets caught in a monsoon flood and lives to tell about it.
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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 edition and online.