Cellpic Sunday – Final Approach

Mesa, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona.

In 2008, Lynn and I made our first trip to the Phoenix area by flying into Williams Gateway Airport. These days, it’s known as the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, and it is a reliever airport for Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. On this day in early April, I made one more trip into Phoenix-Gateway to retrieve my car after having moved our household goods from our former place in Buckeye.

As we approached the Phoenix metro, I captured quite a few cellphone images and when I got them off the camera, I decided to create this multi-part series of Cellpic Sunday images featuring the last few minutes of my flight from Fargo to the Phoenix metro.

While this text discusses a bit of the history of the airport, its main focus is on the city of Mesa, one of the largest suburbs in the metro. The airport was originally built in 1941, named Higley Field, and served to train pilots for WWII assignments. In 1948, it was renamed Williams Air Force Base but continued in its role in pilot training. In 1993, the base was closed, and after a one-year construction project, it became Williams-Gateway Airport.

Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona with a population of about 500,000 residents. The city is known for its beautiful mountain views, especially of the nearby Superstitions, and for hot summers and comfortable winters. It was founded in 1878 by a Mormon pioneer who left Utah and settled with colleagues in what is now the northern edge of the city.

Others in the Mormon sect that moved from Utah built a settlement on the mesa that the city is known for. The construction of irrigation canals made the area much more attractive and Mesa began to grow and prosper.

With Highley Field and Falcon Field, where British pilots were trained, Mesa continued to grow through the war years and beyond. In the 21st century, Mesa is a thriving and growing community.

About the photo: On the final approach to Phoenix-Gateway, I was afforded a view of the northern parts of Mesa. Red Mountain dominates the upper right (northeast) corner of the image captured with my Samsung S20U. The large north-south street on the right is Recker Road, a major route in North Mesa. On the lower left (southwest) corner, one of the irrigation channels is visible.

Luminar Neo and Adobe Lightroom were applied to the photo after I downloaded it from my phone. Click on the image above to view it in 2K HD on my Flickr site (and see the gallery of Cellpic Sunday images from this Flight to Phoenix series.)

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge-response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment.

John Steiner


    • We were blessed by a smog-free day on our inbound flight. There are days when the air is heavy with pollution and we lose sight of the distant mountains.

    • The Mesa Gateway airport is a “reliever” airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor and does have some passenger service, but mostly it’s for those who have their own or access to corporate aircraft.
      Of course, it is busiest in the winter months when lots of tourists come to visit or to spend the winter.

  1. I didn’t realize there were red mountains in Mesa. I’ve only been there one time, and there is nothing like getting an overview from the air. Great picture, John. I enjoyed this series immensely. 🙂

  2. We probably passed Mesa, driving from Southern California to Austin, TX two years ago? It was such a long trip, I only remember Phoenix, and the friendly people there:) Your image shows a large area! I keep my phone for business, and take my blog images with my camera, to keep myself sane:) A happy week to you!

    • My image only shows Mesa, about 10 percent of the 5 million residents of the metro area. I’m sure you had about a 90-minute drive on I-10 through the metro.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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