The Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly SculptureI visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ this past week for the first time. My old friend Gerry Moore from Millville dropped by for a short visit, and he had wanted to make sure this was on our list of destinations.

Admission is not cheap – $22 per ticket; however, Liz was able to pick up a pair of complimentary tickets courtesy of our local public library.

I had a difficult time paring down the images for this gallery, as I took close to a hundred pictures. Of course, I had to use the Chihuly sculpture that graces the entrance. For the gallery I selected images that are a bit different from the cacti I can photograph all day long in the local desert. Continue reading »

The Hieroglyphic Trail

The Hieroglyphic Trail in Tonto National Forest is a great hike if you want a nice workout and don;t have all day.

This past Sunday Gerry Moore and I took the hike. It is convenient because the trailhead is only fifteen minutes from my house. It is basically a two hour hike, round-trip, plus whatever time you want to spend enjoying the wilderness.

Misnamed, the writing on the rock walls are petroglyphs (pictures in rock) and not hieroglyphics, which are actually a language. The glyphs date back 800 to 1200 years, and were left by the Hohokem tribe when they resided in this area. Historians disagree on their meaning – records of hunts? Efforts of the medicine men to teach the origin of the world to young Hohokem? Maybe just grafitti by bored Hohokem teens? Continue reading »

Desert Spring Colors

Desert Globemallow It is spring time in the Sonoran Desert. It is a balmy 80° F (35°C) with a soft breeze.  Plants are beginning to bloom, with the hardy Desert Globemallow pushing its way up through the crusty arid soil. It is amazing that these delicate looking plants can survive a mostly waterless winter.

white Oleander

The Oleander is in full blossom – we have a white and a red in the back yard along the wall. And the Palo Verde tree is now bright yellow-green – a burst of color against a brown landscape.

The Cow-Tongue cacti are just beginning to show buds which will soon be flowers. Continue reading »

The Hieroglyphic Trail

In Gold Canyon, AZ lies hidden down a maze of residential streets the entrance to the Hieroglyphic Trail. At three miles, this is a short day trip, but don’t think for a moment this is a walk in the park.  This is considered an easy hike, but  you have to remember that you are starting at an elevation of 2,100 feet and finishing at almost 2,700. Wear comfortable hiking shoes.

The trailhead can be a challenge in itself, simply to find. You drive through a new residential development and pass older established houses. The streets turn left then right then loop back again before taking you to the parking area.

You enter the trail through a cattle gate, and there is a log book that you are requested to sign before entering, and again upon leaving, to assist potential rescue crews.  There are dozens of rescues a year, as well as several deaths, of unfortunate hikers.

You will want to practice proper hiking etiquette (carry in, carry out), and beware of rattlesnakes sunning on the rocks. It is a one and a half mile hike up to the petroglyphs – most believe these were the work of the Hohokam tribe, and that they date back to 700 -110 A.D.

There is a pond filled with cold water most of the winter and spring. You will certainly want to avoid hiking during Monsoon, as the streams and trails become gushing torrential rivers.

Your best bet is to avoid weekends and holidays (and Spring Break) as this is a heavily traveled trail, especially during these peak times.  Unfortunately some lame-ass scumbags have added their own graffiti to this irreplaceable landmark.


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