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.