My Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain has been a part of my environment since birth. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, I have had a relationship with this mountain icon that spans decades. It is an anchor in the Valley of the Sun situated in the middle of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley neighborhoods. On the North side of the mountain is an active hiking park – Echo Canyon – that draws visitors from near and far.

From our home off the North slope, we can see hikers (and sometimes rescue helicopters) during the season and gorgeous views daily. As a backdrop for blue skies and white clouds that offer endless shapes and stories during the majority of the year, Camelback also guards our sleepy community when thunderstorms and monsoons make an appearance and provides intrigue when fog descends upon its majestic rocks and boulders. When it rains, the water flows effortlessly down slick mountain sides until it tumbles into small waterfalls when hitting rock crevices and sharp angles. Towering saguaro cacti, creosote bushes and desert marigold wildflowers offer a green and yellow color palette while providing desert wildlife with food and habitat. Whether withstanding the blazing summer sun or dramatic microbursts, shielding hidden caves (and untold history) with its shadows or inspiring artists to write, sing or paint in response to its beauty, Camelback Mountain stands proud and tall through it all.

My respect, appreciation and love for this mountain continues to evolve as I do. Observing the mountain every day can bring surprises or reveal sought-after wisdom. Sometimes it is a launching pad for creativity and other times it represents safety, grounding and peace. I admire its strength and resilience and often wonder about its early days as it was being formed into the masterpiece it has become. It is a beacon of sorts, a guiding light in a busy world filled with deadlines and responsibilities. It is steadfast, an example that as the world changes you can stay true to yourself even as you grow through experiencing the tough and the heartbreaking, the joyful and the success. It is a mountain of substance, it is a mountain of life. It is a mountain of inspiration, it is a mountain of hope. It is My Camelback Mountain.

Join me and My Camelback Mountain as we explore the people, places and pets that make our world more interesting through personal perspectives, interviews, features, activities, travel and field trips. It is my hope that you have found – or will find – your Camelback Mountain. Let’s do this together!

— Suzanne Pickett Martinson

Suzanne Pickett Martinson is a freelance writer, author, educator, wife and mom of two. She and her family, along with two dogs and quite a few cats, live in Paradise Valley, Arizona, under the shadow of Camelback Mountain. For more information on Suzanne’s published work visit 




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