Posts Tagged ‘desert’

In the desert, it’s all about the sun, but two things can mitigate against it: trees and shade. Best of all is if the two are found together, the way we found them at Sweetwater Wetlands.

As we walked along the path, if we stepped down a few inches closer to the cattails, the temperature dropped dramatically. It was a fascinating phenomenon and a welcome one where it was already hot at 8:30 in the morning.

Just the appearance of water can make you feel cooler and more relaxed. For birds, insects, and other animals, it can be the difference between life and death. Of course, it’s the same for humans, although you wouldn’t want to drink the reclaimed water at the Wetlands.

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Ever since we got married (36 years ago next month), we’ve been driving the same route to Wyoming, whether from Cleveland’s east side or Chicago’s southwest side. This year, except for the last 30 miles or so, it was new territory. I’d planned to get up at 4 am, but woke earlier, heading out in the dark to cover just under 700 miles, a trip that would take over 10 hours. I don’t stop much with a goal of gas/bathroom stops coinciding. I had food packed, tea in my Contigo thermal cups, plenty of snacks, and the wonderful BBC radio “Lord of the Rings” production for the CD player. Incidentally, that recording has made the trip with us for almost all those years, first on tape, now on CD.

I didn’t see much scenery the first several hours, the sky only lightening around 5:30 am. I saw where a wildfire had devastated acres and acres and then it was through the White Mountains, onto I-40 (paralleling or overlapping with historic Rt. 66 in many place, and to Albuquerque, where my route turned north towards Raton, New Mexico just south of the Colorado border where I’d stay overnight.

Rain in this part of the country and at this time of year is scarce. We’ve been in Arizona since the end of March and have experienced only a couple “showers”, in quotes because there often not enough to measure. But past Santa Fe near Wagon Mound, there was more than the promise of rain, although most of it was to the west of me. It looked wonderful!

I could see the rain coming down in the distance. All these shots were taken with my iPhone while driving BUT with one hand firmly on the wheel and eyes on the road. It gives point-and-shoot a whole new meaning and also means lots of deleted shots when I finally stop, but I often get some good ones, too.

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The new view

Posted: March 31, 2020 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Friday afternoon we arrived at our new rental house in Gilbert, Arizona after a whirlwind of packing due to a move date that we advanced by almost three weeks due to the coronavirus. We didn’t want to have a problem leaving, so we packed the van and the car, loaded up the cooler with meatloaf sandwiches, apples, and other goodies, added sanitizer to be used at the motels. and hit the road. Three days later, we were here. A day and a half after that, our worldly goods arrived and are now sitting in the house and garage.

Yesterday morning I went out for a walk in my new world. It’s not the woman-in-the-middle-of-nature that I enjoyed at the park. It’s very different. But there are lots of paved walking paths like this and being out early, I didn’t see many people. It felt good to be outside walking after so many days of sitting. The sun had just come up and the day was lovely. Here’s a bit of what I saw. Excursions farther away will have to wait for now and hopefully for not too long. Until then, I’ll enjoy what’s here and keep exploring in the area. You’re welcome to come along for the journey.

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© janet m. webb

for One Word Sunday

On one of my last days in Arizona, my s-i-l and I hiked Wind Cave Trail, not far from Mesa in distance but, as you can see, not at all city.  It was the first really nice day in the nine I’d been there, so there were quite a few people on the steep, rocky trail.  That tan bit is one of the smoother parts of the trail.

We worked up quite a sweat walking up, but in the shelter of the “cave” (overhang), we quickly became chilly.  Emerging into the sun, we had a glorious view of the Phoenix area in the distance, the downtown area just to the left of the two little hills.  (If you click on the photo and then click again, you can see the buildings.)  The dotted line of white just above halfway is made up of the parked vehicles of the hikers.  There’s also quite a “forest” of saguaro cacti.  Although the view was great, we had to keep our eyes firmly on the trail, only looking while stopped.  You definitely don’t want to get off the trail and into the cacti without paying attention!

When I visited my parents in Arizona in January, we visited Carefree for the wine and art show. This desert landscape  was a bonus along the road on the way home.  To some, the desert is too spare and hostile.  I think it has a beauty all its own, one that allows distance and expansion.  While vertical shots work better in WordPress, the desert to me is horizontal and surrounding.

© janet m. webb 2016

In the desert as elsewhere, there are invasive plants. Often invasive species are beautiful, just as evil people can be the “nice neighbor.” I don’t know what sort of plants these are, but my mom told me how they began to take over the next door neighbor’s yard. Eventually he cut them back, although they’ll likely make another break for it. In the meantime, they do look beautiful, just right for Sally’s “Nature” theme, and something in the desert that doesn’t have spines.

© janet m. webb 2016

© janet m. webb 2016