Tonto National Forest? How is that a National Forest? It’s not all desert? Being a Sundevil and spending about a third of my life in the Phoenix Valley...a barren desert was my impression of the Tonto National Forest. I didn’t have much knowledge on the subject. I was a mountain biker which meant I didn’t have a need or much concern about the outdoors beyond the edges of the places I would ride my bike. Then, an injury sidelined me from doing the sport I loved the most at that time. However, sometimes good things organically evolve from what we might view in the present as a disaster or at the least an inconvenience. This is how I found photography and my love for the Tonto National Forest.
Ultimately, it’s where I chose to live. I fell in love with it and how could I not? Here is where I captured my first lightning photograph, my first bald eagle, wild horse and my first Milky-Way shot, all within six months. I felt like I discovered a gold mine! I mean it’s been my university to the outdoors. Here is where I learned many valuable lessons, here is where I broke two cameras and three lenses, here is where I became a photographer.
Granted, it may not seem like your typical National Forest, but I think that is partly due to its size. Did you know the Tonto National Forest is the fifth largest National Forest in the continental US, almost 3 million acres? That’s a huge area ranging from desert to saguaro to Ponderosa Pine, Tonto National Forest has it all. And I won’t even attempt to cover it in just the first issue of APM (adventurepieceMag). But rather, my goal is to introduce you or possibly motivate you to get outdoors and explore this amazing backyard we have just miles outside the Phoenix Valley.
Bottom line, the first issue of APM is largely about the Tonto National Forest but this place will permeate all other issues of APM, of that I’m certain. As we cover all the parks and outdoor fun Arizona has to offer, Tonto National Forest will be a familiar guest in this Mag. I hope you enjoy these photographs!