I live in the Sonoran Desert. It’s the only place in the world that gets hot enough to feed the chickens ice cubes for pre-boiled eggs. It is a true desert, and the summer time can be very hot (up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit). However, I find it to be a very beautiful place to live throughout the year. Much of this beauty can only be seen on horseback.
The Maricopa Trail, a horse trail that circles Maricopa County, skirts along the base of the White Tank Mountains on the West side of the Phoenix Valley, here in Arizona. There is a part of the trail that is decorated with some of the most beautiful Saguaro Cactus in the world. These cacti are between 100-200 years old and are some of the most majestic desert plants you will ever see. I had a chance to snap a couple of photos while on horseback this evening.
It takes over 10 years for a Saguaro Cactus to get over 2 inches tall and takes up to 75 years for them to reach 14-16 feet in height. These cacti are probably 150-200 years old. The amazing thing is that their root system is only 4-6 inches below the surface, yet spans out a radial distance equal to the height all the way around the base of the cactus.
It amazes me that the desert seems to share a different story with you each time you venture into it. The old settlers of Arizona, many of my ancestors, told it like it was, rough and rocky. They named their towns Rimrock, Rough Rock, Round Rock, and Wide Ruins, Skull Valley, Bitter Springs, Wolf Hole, Tombstone. It’s a tough country. The names of Arizona towns tell you much of what you need to know.
But what really makes this desert beautiful, is that this rough and rocky exterior hides a number of beautiful wells. It is a land of extremes, a land of contrasts, a land of surprises and a land of contradictions…. That is the Sonoran Desert and that is what decorates Arizona.