Posts Tagged ‘Monday walk’

Today’s walk is only a few steps but I hope Jo will consider it as appropriate for the challenge. After all, how can anything this beautiful not count??

Although we have a torch cactus in our backyard, it’s a callow youth compared to the one below in my dad’s yard, a cactus at least three times bigger than ours. Yesterday it looked like this, with 3 or 4 flowers and a lot of buds.

Today when I went over, the flowers from yesterday were already wilted but the buds from yesterday were simply over-the-top magnificently in bloom!!

A closer look at these showy flowers gives you a glimpse of the interiors and a feel for the abundance of this many flowers about 8″ or so in diameter. I really have to keep myself from using exclamation points after every sentence because they’re really that dazzling.

I can never resist shots of the inner flower, unworldly in appearance. While our cacti has much smaller flowers as befits its younger, smaller size, I noticed that ours attract a number of bees, which I didn’t notice at Dad’s. Maybe that’s because we don’t spray our weeds and we also have lots of bushes with flowers on them. Last year our cactus bloomed about three times. I hope it works that way this year as well. But for now, enjoy these because tomorrow they’ll be gone or at least wilted.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, there’s a lot more to the Desert Botanical Garden that the Chihuly installation, stunning as it is. Let’s walk a bit looking at what the desert has to offer. You did notice that it’s the Desert Botanical Garden, not the Chihuly Botanical Garden. I thought you did.

Cacti aren’t just thorns. Many of them have beautiful flowers in season as well. But you might want to avoid trying to pick them or do so with the utmost care. Of course here you shouldn’t pick at all!

Before you ask, no, I don’t know what this is. But if you do, feel free to let us all know. (Yes, I’m too lazy/too busy to try to look it up online.)

Humans aren’t the only ones enjoy the Garden, although this butterfly appears to be attempting to pass as a flower.

Another Seussian sighting? I’m pretty sure this might be Thing 1…or maybe Thing 2. Who can tell them apart??

We ❤ the Desert Botanical Garden and it must be “Mutual, I’m sure.” (Hint: “White Christmas.)

That’s our walk for today. Thanks for coming along to see just a tiny, tiny bit of what the desert has to offer. Sorry I don’t have any dessert for you, but I did have desert–so close! 🙂

It’s time for a morning walk, although we won’t be walking very far. You’ve already seen just a bit of the Chihuly gems inside the gallery at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden but let’s take a few minutes to look closer. Here’s a piece I really like, both shape and color, the latter even more intense than you see here.

Here are some more of the paintings. While I can imagine them translated into glass, they also remind me of either some sort of cute space creatures, maybe in a computer game, or germs or something similar observed under the microscope. Either way, they look rather whimsical, although perhaps germs wouldn’t be considered whimsical. Put “whimsical” with the cute space creatures.

There’s a communal table of similarly shaped sculptures but in a variety of colors and levels of transparency. If you look in the background, you’ll see our next destination, although we’ve already ventured into that room.

Although the sculpture (which seems a poor word for such a brilliant creation) is stunning on its own, I found the reflections to be equally dazzling. LLook closer and see if you agree. I could hardly bear to leave this room even though the next room was at least as spectacular and I use that term deliberately.

Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s walking again and so are we after much too long! I posted about Mr. Lemmon before, a mountain near Tucson where you can pass through five or six climate regions, starting with low desert and ending near the top with a ski area and lots of trees. You drive the designated scenic byway up and take it back down and there are plenty of pullouts where you can stop to take in the scenery. The intrepid cycle rather than drive and there are more than you’d think as Mt. Lemmon is the most popular biking climb in the US and one that can be done pretty much year-round.

A mile and a half from the top most people stop to take in the view or eat at the restaurant and this is where you catch the ski lift in winter. But although the road continues to the top, my husband suggested we walk. Now a mile and a half doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s a bit steep and at about 9,000′, provides a lot less oxygen than where we live at 1237’/377m! Fortunately, the walk doesn’t lack views, the perfect excuse to stop for a moment, although they’re worth stopping for whatever the reason.

There were lots of these fuzzy guys still looking nice and green even while catching downed leaves. Up this high there are deciduous trees, including aspen, to give up their leaves so I could feel as though it really was fall. 🙂

It made me happy to find this vintage, beautifully restored 1971 VW Beetle at a pullout as I had a bright yellow ’75 Super Beetle for a number of years. It was a sad when we had to sell it because we couldn’t get a child’s car seat in the back. There are quite a few older Beetles here because there’s no snow or salt to attack them.

The most exciting think for me was finding beautiful frost near the top in areas where the sun didn’t reach. 🙂

The view from the top was rather special. We’d hoped to be able to see the observatory but the road to it was closed and we weren’t sure if we were allowed to hike up. Besides, we still had to go back down and although it does take a lot less time, it works your quads hard, just in different spots than climbing up. We felt rather good about completing the hike, especially since my husband has been working almost non-stop and when he does get a chance to exercise, he cycles, again using leg muscles very differently from walking. It put us in the mood to enjoy our first in-restaurant meal together since moving here in early 2020, at a Greek restaurant that garnered lots and lots of great online reviews.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

It’s difficult to know which photos to share for my recent walks in the park that I’ve enjoyed visiting while back in Illinois, but let’s start with a photo of something I’d never seen there before: an owl. Silently walking among the trees just at dawn, I saw an owl land not far from me. I managed to get three shots before it flew away, two of the back of its swiveled head. This one had to have some work done on it because of how dark it was in the woods, but I was so chuffed at having not only seen it but gotten a halfway decent shot that I didn’t care.

Sometimes it pays to get down low and smell the clover…or at least take a photo of it.

I often came around corners to find swaths of flowers, often too wide for one photo to contain. Bliss.

There were still some of my favorites: dead plants festooned with spider webs.

One more first time spotting, this time something getting a bit of warmth from the rock, an illustration of the usefulness of telephoto and cropping.

If you enjoyed this tiny walk even one tenth of how much I enjoyed that morning, I’ll be happy to have made your day better. Jo, thanks for hosting these walks when you have the time and enjoy your time away from hosting as well. Your efforts and beautiful walks are much appreciated.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

My daughter and I took lots of walks during my visit, often accompanied by wind which finally blew away the clouds of the first several days, revealing the sun, although for this walk you may want a small jacket. You can walk for miles along the path that runs between the beach and multi-million dollar homes…second homes, vacation homes, not primary residences. This one (yes, a single house) has a distinct Italian flair.

The walk continues past more homes, most the same size but in a variety of styles. Behind he beach-side row are another five or six rows up the rather steep hill. Every one has some amount of ocean view. For those prices, you’d expect one!

Waling isn’t the only activity. You can surf, swim, play beach volleyball, or just go fly a kite. There was certainly enough wind on this day.

Besides the flowers in front of the homes, many people have a small section between the walk and the top of the beach where we saw some stunning gardens.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

I promised you more of the Desert Botanical Gardens and I aim to keep that promise. If Jo’s walking today, this is my walk for her. Although the desert is mostly about cacti (the plural of cactus), and cacti have beautiful flowers, if there’s enough water and the temperature is right, you can get other flowers as well. Outback Steakhouse has their Bloomin’ Onion, but the bloomin’ desert is prettier and has way less calories!!

Although flowers can get up close and personal with cacti, I suggest you keep a respectful distance and always watch where you walk. Here you just have to stay on the path, but if you’re elsewhere, keep your eyes open. As it warms up, you always have to watch for rattlesnakes, not here probably but elsewhere. My husband’s seen several on the path along the canal where he rides his bike. I, fortunately, have yet to have that wonderful experience. I can wait.

We weren’t the only ones appreciating the flowers. The netting’s in place as protection from birds and critters of various kinds who might wish to express their appreciation for what they consider edible flowers and plants in a more destructive way.

It was wonderful to see all the color, but just all the green, whatever its source, was a joy as well. To have both was perfect.

For my birthday, we visited the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, a marvelous slice of desert life, past and present. The last time I visited was in 2014 when Dale Chihuly set up a marvelous installation. My sister-in-law and I arrived in the late afternoon, walked all the paths, then revisit after dark when everything was illuminated. It was magical! (And I did blog about it if you want to search.)

This day was just an “ordinary” day if there is such a thing there: a scheduled appointment, masks, and a somewhat limited crowd (although there were more than enough visitors for me.) When you arrive this is the first thing you see, the only leftover from the Chihuly exhibit.

Before setting out, let’s take a look at some of the inhabitants. Pollinators are some of my favorites.

Camouflage is even more of an asset when there are less places to hide.

There weren’t any butterflies around but I look forward to seeing some during our next visit.

I’m always happy to see bees.

Hopefully I’ve whet your appetite to see more of the visit. But for now, happy Monday.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

Spring in the desert isn’t exactly like spring in most other places. There are no swaths of wildflowers, no green grass everywhere. Spring comes early too, already on its way at the end of February/beginning of March, when it can be not much above freezing at night and by late afternoon be almost 80F. There are flowers, but quite often they’re on plants with thorns that will stab you if you aren’t careful. Still, they are flowers. The sunrise has moved from after 7 am during the winter to before 6 am and we’re off to the Preserve to seek out some signs of spring for Jo’s Monday walk (whenever the next one is.) We’ll see a variety of colors and even a hint of two of softness but always be careful because desert can so easily become dessert. 🙂

These flowers are actually quite tiny, but they’re abundant.

And these aren’t large either.

Happy Monday and welcome to March!

for Jo’s Monday Walk

It’s cooled down a bit, making an early morning walk in the Preserve much more enjoyable. Of course, “cool” is a relative term in Arizona. Let’s just say it’s been below 80F at 6 am in the morning. But where there are trees and water, even if the latter is reclaimed, there’s more coolness in the air and people and animals are out and about.

“Diversity” is the “in” term now and the Preserve’s got it as this photo of a great blue heron (GBH to Sylvia) and a great egret, both preening away, getting primped for the photographers, shows. The GBH nickname amuses me because in many of the British police procedurals I read, that stands for “Grievous Bodily Harm.” I imagine the fish in the area might go for that meaning.

Look in the background, there at the bottom of the reeds. Sneaking around behind the larger, flashier birds is a juvenile night heron.

Gamboling about looking for food is a Gambel quail. There are lots of these ground dwellers around but you’ll also see them in trees and bushes. The babies are adorable, but even when small, they can all run like crazy.

For many, birds are the main attraction here, although this guy (?) night beg to differ. I did look up how to figure out what sex a turtle is, but it’s not easy even if you can get up close and handle the turtle, which certainly isn’t happening here! Too bad it’s not a snapping turtle or I could use one of my husband’s favorite turtle lines: “Turtle soup, waiter, and make it snappy!”

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