2017 is the year of the Segway for me. I took my first ever ride on a Segway in Fort Lauderdale as I cruised through the city and in the Fall I took part in a fall colours tour in Ontario’s Lake Country. I have just landed in Phoenix, Arizona and the first adventure on my agenda is an Arizona desert Segway tour of the Sonoran desert. I am beyond excited to be in the desert and to see it by Segway means I will get an up close and personal view without windows or the roar of a Jeep engine ruining the experience. Best of all the tour takes places on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Community where development is at a bare minimum and chances of seeing another human being during our tour is at almost ZERO. Are you ready to for your Arizona desert Segway tour? I am. Let’s lean forward.
From where I am staying it is about a 30-minute drive to the Fort McDowell Adventures playground within the Yavapai community. They operate in cooperation with the Yavapai Nation and together act as ambassadors and stewards of this amazing piece of land and cultural history. All tours operated out of here begin and end with respect for the land and preservation of the delicate desert habitat.
We park our car and head straight to the registration area where we sign waivers, get protective headgear and choose a Segway. I highly advise wearing plenty of sunscreen and bring a water bottle. They have water onsite for you but it can get pretty hot so better to be prepared.
The Arizona Desert Segway Tour begins with a “crash” course on how to operate a Segway. It is a crash course because they don’t want you to crash. Everyone on the tour gets a turn and you won’t leave until the guides feel comfortable you are the master of your Segway.
With everyone trained we are ready to begin the tour. One last bit of steering advice from our guide and we are ready to go. By the way, this is the only pavement we will see and be on during the tour. Once we cross the road it is desert all the way.
Let the tour begin.
What you can’t get the feeling of from the video above is how hot and dry it is. It blows me away how anything can survive in this environment. Survive they do though and one of our many stops is to look at the giant of desert plants, the Saguaro Cactus. This is one of my favourite shots from the entire 1.5-hour tour. Having my friends stand on the Segways under the Cactus show you just how big they get.
Nearby is another cactus that thrives in the Sonoran Desert and is spotted all along our tour route. This is commonly called the Teddy Bear Cactus. It looks soft and you almost want to touch it but be warned. Those needles are sharp and designed to break off from the plant staying stuck in you. They hurt to pull out and generally best to avoid touching if at all possible. Our guide though wears heavy duty gloves and shows how the Native Americans used this Cactus for food. Step one burn the needles off, step 2 cut the husk open and the gooey seed in the centre is a good source of vitamins and minerals. kinda tastes like Aloe so I doubt you will see this delicacy on a restaurant menu anytime soon.
Back onto the trail we go. Every tour is slightly different as the guides assess the skill level of each guest and pick trails that are suitable and ensure maximum enjoyment for all.
The vistas are absolutely breathtaking and not another person is in sight.
By the time the tour is over I am breathless. Not from the heat or any excursion on my part. No, I am breathless because it is just so unbelievably gorgeous here and thankfully all of this land is protected for future generations to enjoy.
This was my third Segway tour of the year and hands down my favourite to date. There is no better way to see the desert in my humble opinion and the team at Adventures Out West and Fort McDowell Adventures make this a not to be missed experience when you visit the Phoenix/Mesa area.
PRO TIP: Stretch your calves before you go and make sure to drink plenty of water.