Monday, October 19, 2015

A Walk In Arizona

 Above, our goal.  

Walking up Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, Arizona is a great way to learn the local native plants;  along the way up to the top are signs alongside many plants, giving names and information.  A few trips up and down, and you have a good number of native plants memorized.
We started off early,  before it got too hot.     
 Early enough to see the early bird, a Phainopepla, I think.
 A glorious Carnegiea gigantea, aka Saguaro.
 Arizona got a good amount of summer rain this year, so the desert looks very green.
 There's our goal:
 Green is of course relative where deserts are concerned.
While the plant signs were excellent, sometimes the plants were so dried up it would be hard to identify them, even with a sign.


   Gorgeous, green or not. 
 Moss on the shady side of a boulder, on the way.
 Stipa tenuissima will sprout anywhere!
 Parkinsonia microphylla, the small tree on the left, can live for several hundred years.
 A glorious sense of space, even if the trail was mobbed. 


 Creosote in the extreme foreground.  Downtown Phoenix in the distance.
 We made it to the high point, as did a lot of others.  The trail was quite crowded.  Arizona was just beginning to develop cooler autumn weather, and it was a weekend, so many, many people were there.  But its accessible, the hike is easy, the views are wide, and the signs are helpful.  
 There were still flowers, due to all the summer rain.  Arizona gets most of its rain in the summer, from "monsoonal" conditions when a tropical low pulls up tropical moisture and sends it streaming across the desert. 
 The desert is alive. 
 Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) makes as memorable a silhouette as the Saguaros. 
 Calliandra californica feeds the bees. 
A little park ranger humor sign we spotted as we left.

22 comments:

  1. Well done! And the journey up there was just fantastic!

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    1. Not quite like the English countryside, but variety is good.

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  2. I love the desert (in small doses), and would love this hike I think -- except for the crowds. (I prefer hiking in the quiet and it's my experience that at least 33% of people must constantly talk while walking.)

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    1. I'm sure its much less crowded during the week, or when it's 115F. I like quiet also--the sound of the wind moving through the Parkinsonia was magical, and you could not hear that when people were talking.

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  3. Beautiful country, and beautiful photos. A real "y'know, I could totally live there" post -- reminds me why 'Arizona Highways' is such a popular mag! Wonderful sign in the last photo.

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    1. I think the state is showing signs of being loved to death, though a lot less lawns then when we visited last. A great shift to more desert-appropriate landscaping. A staggering lack of photovoltaic systems in such a sunny place. California is way ahead in renewable energy.

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  4. Thank you for this dose of desert and trip down memory lane. Years ago (when we were both single) I'd go visit my brother in Phoenix and take him to work in the morning so I'd have his car for the day. I've done that hike in the early morning hours on weekdays - still people, the most irritating ones running. It's even worse at Piestewa Peak Park where they (the runners) practically run you off the trail.

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    1. There were a lot of people but they were not too bad. The landscape was distracting enough. So many houses going in all around there--poor desert!

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  5. Fantastic photos. The second photo is an instant classic.

    I've never been on this trail. Was this the trail from Pinnacle Peak Park?

    I would move to Arizona in a heartbeat if the political climate was more to my liking. Tucson has been embracing its desert location for decades now, but places like Phoenix (and esp. Scottsdale) have been slower to catch on. Still, it's a difficult not to love Arizona.

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    1. That was the Pinnacle Peak Park trail, yes indeedy. Even Phoenix seemed to be embracing the desert in a big way--at least the newer construction. Last time we went there were a lot more lawns. You are right, AZ is loveable.

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  6. Interesting to see a part of Arizona, it must have been a great walk, except all the other people walking the same way.

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    1. It was really fun, and surprisingly not too hot, even though it is October.

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  7. I sailed over there in a hot air balloon many years ago. Fabulous experience. Landing was a little bumpy and nobody mentioned rattlesnakes.

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    1. I think the rattlers leave Canadians and Brits alone. Canadians, for sure. ;^)

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  8. Wonderful photos as always. Thanks for sharing your hike!

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  9. I have lived in Arizona, though further north , in Sedona many years ago. I do love the desert .

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  10. Great photos dear Hoover, beautiful vistas, plants and the sky and clouds look magnificent.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  11. Long ago, I worked on a project assignment in Phoenix part-time for 6 months but never managed to get out of the city to see the sights - your photos show that was clearly a pity. I love the rattlesnake sign - it's much less ominous than the usual "beware of" version.

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  12. Wonderful photos! Going to a place with real Saguaros remains on my bucket list. Those views are spectacular, but I too would bemoan the lack of evidence of tapping into all that free energy. Really, what are people thinking...?

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Always interested in your thoughts.

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