As the Bradshaw Mountain range stretches into the Sonoran Dessert, its landscapes change quickly. Shrub-strewn hills dip into valleys dotted with cacti. Clear streams run through dense copses, and then open to bare, clay-red plateaus. The guides at Desert Wolf Tours unveil these unforgiving yet magical landscapes, chiefly by leading caravans of Tomcars. These all-terrain vehicles let guests power over rocks, up hillsides, and through card towers to visit destinations such as old turquoise and gold mines and a ghost town.
Desert Wolf's team also takes visitors into the desert for recreational target shooting, supplying them with firearms, such as M16 rifles and Glock 17 handguns, to shoot under the supervision of NRA-certified instructors. Desert Wolf, a family-owned business, adheres to eco-friendly practices, participating in programs such as the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. These efforts have not only earned the respect of guests, but also a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor.
Randy Long entered the working world as a travel agent, a vocation that whet his appetite for globetrotting, adventure, and haggling with airlines. When he became a father and husband, he passed a passion for thrill seeking on to his family, and their recent escapades include scuba diving in Barbados and dog sledding in Alaska. It was this thirst for exploration and a love of aviation that drove Randy to become an FAA-certified powered-parachute instructor and found Arizona Powerchutes.
Powered parachutes are comprised of two-seater, wheeled carts that float 20 feet beneath 40-foot parachutes. At sunrise—or sunset during the cooler months—Randy and a passenger climb aboard the cart, and Randy hits the throttle, gathering speed for about 100 feet before the parachute fully inflates and hoists the cart into the air. Randy adjusts the altitude to his patron's comfort level and steers crafts over the exotic plants and mountain silhouettes of the Sonoran Desert, averaging a speed of 26 miles per hour. After journeys, powered parachutes float to land safely, as they are inspected by the pilot prior to each flight and by an FAA-approved facility after every 100 hours of operation.
Arizona Outdoor Fun lets riders whip around winding lakes, trails, and tight canyons the way nature intended—atop landscape-chewing wheels. When not busy peddling a cache of extreme all-terrain Honda vehicles and dirt bikes, Rhino UTVs, and agile sport quads, their expert guides lead fun, scenic ATV tours around the Verde River and Bradshaw Mountains, sharing tidbits about local Native American culture, plants, fossilized cowboy hats, and wildlife. They also deal in aquatic sports with boat rentals including wakeboard boats, pontoon boats, and fishing boats, small vessels such as jet skis, and kayaks and canoes that run on man power. Master mechanics at the shop’s garage keep all vehicles ready for adventure, drawing on more than 25 years of experience to repair personal ATVs and other recreational crafts, including scooters and go-karts.
"I'm bored!" is probably the most common phrase uttered by children out of school for the summer. Even inundated with an abundance of toys, games, and technology, kids still want more. Instead of getting them yet another magical centaur, parents can keep their offspring occupied with one of Arizona Summer Camps's diversions. The camp teams up with a variety of local businesses to present a diverse array of summer camps to engage the minds and bodies of youths. The quality of instruction is top-notch, and the student-to-teacher ratios are kept low.
Kids can expand their horizons with science-driven experimentation in fields such as robotics or computer gaming, or break a sweat and a few boards in one of several martial-arts camps. Gymnastics camps bolster coordination and strength in wee ones.
In the shadow of the mountains of Tonto National Forest, Bartlett Lake watercrafts skid across 2,815 acres of the lake's pristine waters. The marina abounds with recreational facilities—its fleet of professional jet skis, pontoons, and ski boats sit parked along docks of grills, a general store, and a covered, floating patio. A 45-foot yacht towers over the rest of the rental boats, furnishing lively parties of up to 25 people with a slide, bar, and restroom, while a large houseboat floats along the lake peacefully—an impressive vessel complete with private rooms, a deck, and kitchen. As visitors navigate the lake or forage the surrounding area's desert terrain trails, they have the opportunity to admire indigenous plants and abundant wildlife.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.