Best View in Town

By Grace Cortes

There is no denying that Arizona sunsets are some of the best in the southwestern United States.

The beautiful combination of red-yellow hues with bright purples and pinks become the unparalleled backdrop to a picturesque mountain range or cityscape. For an out-of-towner, one sunset alone is enough for a lifelong yearning of the state’s twilight scenery. For a native, it’s the perfect excuse to act on a newly discovered love of night hiking.

I recently befriended a New Yorker who made the big move to Arizona for work a few months ago. Feeling homesick, he spoke to me in great length about missing friends, family, good food, sights and sounds of the city. As the welcoming Arizonan that I am, I decided to show him a little bit of what living in the Valley of the Sun is all about. First, I drove him to In-N-Out Burger because I KNOW you can’t find one of those on the East Coast. When the woman taking our order asked if we’d be dining in the car, it sparked an idea for our next destination. But we had to move quickly as the clock was approaching 6:30, and we still had a bit of a drive ahead of us.

We crossed the main park gates 10 minutes before they were due to be closed and made our way up the winding road to one of my favorite places in the South Mountain preserve, Dobbin’s Lookout. Just in time, we reached the parking area, hastily grabbed our dinner, and headed for the bench that some find too close to the mountain’s edge for comfort. There, we gazed at the gorgeous tangerine and pomegranate sky while listening to the quiet but distinct sounds of the desert. While describing the beauty of the scene, my friend looked onward with a calm expression. I felt the calmness, too. It was as if for a few minutes, his homesick mind was able to let go and live in the moment.

As the sun disappeared behind the mountain and the landscape began changing to show the lights of the city, I whispered, “Best view in town.”

My friend laughed and replied, “I believe you.”