Have you ever had a desire to visit the Southwest, particularly any one of the four desert regions? Do you even know the names of these arid locations?A previous publication, ‘Round the Bend at Big Bend,’ involved the Chihuahuan Desert, and today’s post takes place in the Sonoran Desert. The other two are Mojave and Great Basin, neither yet visited.
My goal on this excursion—capturing distinctive desert moments—visually through the camera lens. Want to tag along?
You will be on the road and sightseeing for quite a few days as a first-time visitor, so be sure to bring along sunscreen, hat with visor, hiking boots or good tennis shoes (no flip flops), light-colored clothing, snacks, and plenty of water. If you’ve never been to a desert and not sure why you are there as the sweat drips from your nose and the sun blazes overhead, a good attitude would be beneficial also. You wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun as a desert wanderer, now would you? Remember, finding ways to safely enjoy the desert on its own terms are valuable lessons learned. As with all the deserts, the Sonoran is defined generally by the circumstance of little rainfall that arrives unpredictably. Dry winds suck up what moisture does fall, humidity is low, and direct, unfiltered sunlight sears the land. (Sure hope you took my advice about gear and water) Climate—primarily seasonal heating of the earth’s surface and global wind patterns that generate strong shifts in storm tracks—dictates the locations of the deserts. They are held up by the bookends of the Sierra Nevada on the west and the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Madres on the east, and they share a geological heritage and common landforms. Nearly two-thirds of the Sonoran Desert’s 120,000 square miles lie in the namesake state of Mexico. In the United States it covers southeast California and southern Arizona. Elevations range from sea level to about 3,000 to 4,000 feet. While the Saguaro is the best known cactus of the Sonoran Desert, another columnar cactus shares the spotlight. It is the Organ Pipe cactus, which just barely inches over the Mexican border into the United States. This is the plant that led to establishment of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in far southern Arizona. A trip on the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive winds along the foothills of the Ajo Range and takes visitors past impressive stands of organ pipe cacti and through the heart of the Sonoran Desert. (American Deserts Handbook)Did you enjoy the Ajo Mountain Drive? Isn’t this crested organ pipe cactus spectacular. Unknown to science yet, these deformities a unique occurrence and privilege to experience.
Click on Cheryl’s Digital Photography above for more Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument images. Hope the desert trip wasn’t too much for you.
For the next three publications, we’ll be in Tucson, Arizona, also located in the Sonoran Desert.November 3: Downtown Tucson and Gates Pass Visited November 10: Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum Visited November 17: Saguaro National Park Visited