We’re in an Arizona state of mind


Macy Gordon, Writer

The beloved Grand Canyon State: stereotypes might cue images of sweltering heat waves, road-crossing rattlesnakes and horseback-riding cowboys galloping through dusty fields.

However, discovering Arizona’s hidden activities and destinations disproves the stereotypes and reminds us why our home is famous throughout the globe. There are many unique and creative activities in Arizona that simultaneously provide a well-deserved break from school and an easy, enjoyable workout.

One example is AZ on the Rocks. Tall, gray walls with staggered colorful pegs fill the gym as chalk hangs loosely in the air. The gym is divided into two sections: beginner/intermediate rock climbing and harness-free climbing. The beginner/intermediate rock climbing requires the presence of another person to regulate the speed of the ascent and descent of the climber. The harness-free climbing, also referred to as bouldering, allows a person to climb on a small rock wall without a harness. Squishy mats line the floors, ready to catch a climber in case of a fall.

A one day pass costs $22, which includes unlimited climbing on any course for the entire day. It is important to bring a friend to AZ on the Rocks, because a belayer will be needed when climbing the beginner and intermediate walls.

“Indoor rock climbing was a super cool and funky way to get in a workout. It was surprising to see how creative and fun the facility was. There were tons of different options for different climbs based on difficulty, so challenging ourselves as we climbed was awesome,” said junior Megan Dedinsky. 

Another activity ideal for exploring the state and getting outside is night hiking. Piestewa Peak is a popular mountain for night hiking. When the summer sun becomes a deadly adversary during the day, a glow of headlamps line the spine of the mountain, glittering in the dark. “At first I was a little nervous to hike at night, as I had never done it before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it,” said junior Jamie Ganem. Night hiking is a completely free and enjoyable activity for cool summer nights, but remember to bring extra water and multiple light sources on the trek.

One way to find yourself on the water even in the middle of the desert is to try the sport of paddle boarding.

Tempe Town Lake offers paddle board rentals every day of the week for $20 an hour or $35 for two hours. This sport is a fantastic way to get outside, get moving and discover a new activity.

Those searching for a more rigorous workout than the classic stand-up paddle boarding can look to stand-up-paddle boarding-yoga, or S.U.P. Yoga. This new trend allows its participants to practice asanas and other poses while balancing on the water. It is offered at Tempe Town Lake.