Saguaro, the symbol of the American Desert Southwest.

I enjoy hiking in the lower Sonoran Desert at least once a year, which means during the winter. People who live there can get up very early in the summer and hike before sunrise up until an hour or two after sunrise without getting cooked to death. Living in Flagstaff, I must settle for the 4 months of the year when the temperatures are reasonable.

Usually the Sonoran Desert is brimming with life in winter, but we've been in an extended drought, and I'm amazed anything still lives. I hiked on the Black Canyon Trail to enjoy the saguaro cacti and the Agua Fria River. It was nice right along the river, but most of the rest of the desert was drier and more brown than usual. There were few wildflowers, no bees, no tarantula hawk wasps, just a few birds flitting around, a lot of dry grass, and some cows. How do they even browse on such a landscape? It's depressing. I hope for more precipitation soon.


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