Our first day was spent with family, lounging by the pool, dinner and margaritas. The following day we spent the day hiking in the Superstition Mountains in the Usery Park. The trail we decided on is the Wind Cave Trail, which is a shortish trail, yet challenging. Usery Park offers lots of different things from a simply walk, to a challenging hike up the mountain, and the views are amazing.
Growing only in the Sonoran Desert are the iconic Saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea), pronounced “sah-wah-roh”. A trip to this area is not complete without examining of one of these famous desert plants. According to a legend of the local Tohono O’odham nation, these giant cacti are not plants, but a different type of humanity, and are viewed as respected members of the tribe.
The Saguaro cactus has become a symbol of the American West. As a desert indicator species, the range of the saguaro cactus is limited to southern Arizona. You can read more about the species by clicking here.
These cacti can grow to over 70 feet tall, weigh over a ton, and live between 100-200 years!
On our drive one day we saw some wild horses!
SEDONA, AZ (SOLDIERS PASS TRAIL)
After Phoenix we headed to Sedona for some sights and hiking. Our first hike was the Soldiers Pass Tail, which is an easy trail with amazing views of the red rock mountains, Seven Sacred Pools, Devil’s Sink Hole, and weathered trees. You can also get to the Devil’s Bridge, but we had other plans.
SEDONA, AZ (BEAR MOUNTAIN TRAIL)
Our original plan was to wake up early and go hiking the Cow Pie trail, but instead I decided it would be best to hike several shorter ones, and I found the Bear Mountain Trail, and we are both glad I did!
Our trek began at the base of the mountain, which we were about to climb!
It’s impossible to talk about the scenery in this area without sounding overly dramatic. The fact is, everywhere you look is simply amazing, and impossible to understand without being there.
We have been on some serious hikes, so we didn’t think anything of it when I read that it was only a five mile hike, but what we didn’t know is that most of the hike is what I call “mountain goat” style, meaning we did a lot of vertical climbing and bouldering… and this hike is now the best we’ve ever been on. The hike ended at the top with a 2,000 foot change in elevation!
At the top we just stood there in awe…
PHOENIX, AZ (DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN)
On our last day we spent the day at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. A friend of mine suggested this, and though I’ve never been a person to seek things like this out, I’m so glad we took my friend’s advice!
Before we left for this trip I purposefully decided to push myself to try some different techniques of photography. In this case, I took along an old Super Takumar 50mm f4 macro lens, combined with my Fuji XH1, this lens turns into a 75mm telephoto macro lens. I wanted to focus on details, light and shadows, and work on my black and white work.
The other goal I had was to see and photograph the desert flora, and our timing was perfect. Before this trip I never really considered the fact that there is quite a lot of different types of flora in the desert.