Weekly Photo Challenge – Reward


This week, Krista challenges us to show in images what reward means to us. From the challenge post, “Reward is filthy with possibility: it could be your third grader’s beaming smile after reading her first chapter book, a steaming mug of chicken soup after a long run in the cold, a photo of your brand-new baby…” You can read the original challenge post here.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.” His comment was never more so true than when applied to hiking. In the opening image, a hiker rests at the top of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. The reward for a strenuous 1.1 mile (1.7 km) climb up to the end of Echo Canyon Trail is a 360-degree view of the Valley of the Sun.


Most of the trails my wife and I have hiked in Arizona have their reward in the journey, not the destination. The ever-changing scenery, the alternating of ease and effort, the occasional glimpse of wildlife or a lone wildflower in the desert are all rewards that can happen at any moment along the trail. However, for this week’s challenge, I submit a gallery of images that focus on the reward at the end of the trail. In the image above, the short and easy 0.9 mile (1.4 km) Waterfall Trail hike in White Tank Mountain Regional Park at Waddell, Arizona features a small pool that contains water only during the wettest times of the year.

In this low desert environment, the waterfall is seldom active; so on the day of this hike, we happened to be rewarded with a flowing waterfall. You have to look closely to see the rocks at the base are just barely wet. The slight trickle of water wasn’t enough to ripple the pool. We have hiked this trail many times and only once have we been rewarded with a view of the actual waterfall, however slight.


The reward for hiking the Bear Canyon Trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona is a view of Seven Falls. You can hike the entire 4.5 miles (7.2 km), or you can take a tram the first (and least interesting) part of the trail and hike the last 2 miles (3.2 km) to this trail’s reward, a stunning collection of views of Seven Falls. I hasten to add, however, that this trail has many rewards along the way and it meanders long and crosses Bear Creek.

The small gallery of images that follows provides a segmented view of the upper, middle and lower falls. I experimented a bit with Photoshop Elements and created a vertical panorama of the three shots, but I learned from this experience that I should have taken my shots in horizontal format. The resulting panorama lacks the width it needs to provide a full view of the lower pools. Someday my reward for hiking this trail again will be to come away with a wide panoramic view of the entire falls including the pools.


John Steiner

7 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Reward

  1. Great choices John. I happen to agree that the reward is the journey as there is so much to see along the way. For me, the end reward relates to the feeling of accomplishment rather than the vista – which is often less interesting than the sights along the hike itself.

    • My reward is often the simple sight of my car in the parking area, knowing that in a few moments I will feel the precious relief of the removal of the hiking boots to be replaced with my daily sneakers. 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Delightful Surprise [“Risking Exposure”; a paperback gift from the author] | Ramisa the Authoress

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