One of the most stunning things about southern Arizona is that nature is so diverse. If you tire of it, just drive ten minutes for an entirely new landscape. (The area is also GREAT for birding.)
Sunday, with great nervousness, I actually took a whole day off! It was wonderful, and it was so nice to get away from my computer for a day. I’m thinking of making this a weekly habit. We drove to Madera Canyon, in the Coronado National Forest.
I wish I’d taken pictures a couple weeks ago, but you can still see the snow in the mountains, even though it’s regularly in the mid 80s. Temperatures drop to the low 40s at night, so I generally start out my writing day while shivering next to the heater, and then, as the day wears on, I’ll suddenly realize I’m way overheated, and have to throw open the windows and turn on all the fans.
The names of mountains fascinate me. The peak on the right is Mt. Wrighton, aka Old Baldy, and the dip in the middle of the two peaks is called “Baldy Saddle.” The left peak is Mt. Ian.
At the desert museum, I learned that taking a walk up some of these mountains is like walking from Mexico to Canada, nature-wise. It was mostly pine forest with a creek where we hiked, which blew my mind, LOL.
When we left, ten minutes later we drove through an area filled with Jumping Cholla Cacti. Little pods with two inch needles “jump” and stick in you. (Ouch!) They say they don’t actually jump, and that you really brush up against them, but I don’t believe it. I was five feet away, and my foot got stuck with two. (Painful, as I had sandals on.)
One came out easily with a stick, the other felt like barbed fish hooks. I wish I had taken a picture of the first time I was stuck with a cactus, but I was preoccupied. They are pretty cacti, though, aren’t they? They look like fuzzy little trees.
I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the cacti blooming and some wildflowers. It’s Spring, here! I don’t know what they’re called, but aren’t they pretty?