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An incendiary sunset ignites the skies above Phoenix, Arizona, my adopted home. In Phoenix we are alternately blessed and burdened by some of the most interesting, unpredictable and changeable weather of any place I have ever called home. We are treated regularly to breathtaking, dramatic sunsets, but also blasted unmercifully by searing, arid summer heat. During the summer monsoon season you can watch the huge thunderhead clouds building in the northeast above the Mogollon Rim, and at sunset the thunderclouds collapse and come screaming down the mountains into the valley, sometimes causing hurricane-like winds and enormous downpours. Since storm drainage is somewhat of an afterthought here and "washes" (natural water channelways) are relied upon for drainage, the roads around here get flooded very easily.

A strong cold front sweeping down from the Gulf of Alaska creates a rare late December rainbow above my backyard.

My favorite place to hike in town is Squaw Peak. Convenient and easy to get to, Squaw Peak is so popular during the cooler months that the normally-adequate parking facilities sometimes get completely filled. I hike up there all year round, but my favorite time to go is during the early summer, when temperatures can be above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but the quiet and solitude is well worth it. The summit is approximately 2600 feet above sea level, and affords spectacular 360-degree views of the Valley. I love to hike up and watch the sunset, and am always rewarded with a gorgeous view.

The Moon rises serenely above the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.

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