19 Organ Pipes National Monument. One of the main objectives of this trip was this park. And it did NOT disappoint!
20 Steve with Organ Pipes cactus which is a cousin of the Sagauro only found in this one area of the US.
22 While there were a good many Organ Pipes cactuses, there were TONS of Sagauros.
23 Colorful desert. I was just amazed at how full of life this Sonoran Desert was… particularly when compared to the Mohave Desert of northern AZ and SW California.
24 Desert Alive.
25 Desert Lush.
26 We've reserved Ford Focuses for years while traveling, but never actually gotten to drive one… until NOW! Yay!
27 There is a 21-mile driving loop through the park. This Arches area is one place where you can park and hike; which we did.
28 Can you see the arches?H
29 Here they are.
30 One of my favorite things was this Creosote bush. We learned it is a valuable food source, and besides being evergreen, it smells wonderful.
31 Pretty rocks everywhere.
32 Cholla cactus skelleton.
33 Sagauro cactus skeleton.
34 Palo Verde tree nursing Sagauro cactus.
35 Colorful lichen.
36 Not sure what this shrub is, but I just loved the lacy intricacy and shiny bark.
37 Another perspective.
38 Desert mistletoe. Yes, a cousin of the OTHER mistletoe.
41 Glowing Chollo cactus.
43 House finch wanted water.
44 He repeatedly hovered and drank from the spigot.
45 We headed forPhoenix, and stopped here at Casa Grande, an old Native American ruin. The interprative center had lots of info and a great film.
46 Casa Grande.
47 Casa Grande, Steve.
50 The next day we headed for Camp Verde, AZ… maybe 100 miles north of the Phoenix area. I was totally unprepared for this scenery. Back to my beloved high desert habitat. YES! This photo is the visitor center at Montezuma Castle (another Native American ruin), and I was captivated by the Arizona Sycamore trees. WOW!
51 Montezuma Castle National Monument. Cliff dwellings. Montezuma was never here, nor is this a castle. Crazy white people named this.
52 More ruins.
54 Beaver Creek runs through the park and merges with the Verde River.
55 Arizona sycamore. Love the white bark and graceful branches.
56 Such beautiful trees. Can't get enough of them. :-)
57 Montezuma Castle, Beth, with sycamores and mesquite trees in background.
58 Montezuma Well. Very interesting natural formation that was just a couple miles from the cliff dwellings.
59 Beautiful walk around the well perimeter.
60 Prickly precipice.
61 Fresh baby spines on prickly pear cactus only SEEM soft and cuddly.
62 Creosote bush with both flowers and fruit.
63 In this high desert area of AZ, wherever there are riparian areas, you'll find Arizona sycamores. I have died and gone to heaven. :-)
64 On the way to Sedona, AZ; Hwy 179 near Oak Creek.
65 From a visitor center near Oak Creek, AZ.
66 We'd been hoping to see javelinas on this trip. They look like pigs, but are actually NOT pigs. But they are cute. This little family is cast of bronze at the visitor center near Oak Creek, AZ.
67 Our objective in heading toward Sedona was Red Rocks State Park to do some hiking. This is the very cool visitor center there. The building on the right is the restrooms. The one on teh left is the gift shop and museum display area. Loved the stream running through and the animal footprints in the concrete.
68 This is the high point of one of the Red Rocks trails. See the white barked sycamores that show where the stream is located?
69 Red Rocks Steve.
70 Red Rocks State Park
71 Aspen leaves and red rocks.
72 We'd gone to the Southwest to find sun and warmth. We did find plenty of sun (though it rained at least twice on the trip), but we also found SNOW! This was along the hike at Red Rocks. Brrrr!
73 Red Rocks hike; more sycamores.
74 Red Rocks hike. Yes… more sycamores. :-)
75 Red Rocks Park. I could be a happy camper if I lived here.