For our forty-eighth anniversary, we decided to go to Scottsdale, Arizona. We thought it would be fun to visit the desert in Autumn. It's been a while since we have been to Arizona. Grayden and I and our daughter, Noel had been here when she was just a toddler. We were driving cross country to California to live for nine months. It was 1970! I think we'll see some changes.
Even though Arizona was experiencing an unusually hot week, with temperatures in the upper 90's to 100 degrees, we had a wonderful visit. Grayden and I planned our visit and plotted out days with trips to places within driving distance of Scottsdale. Just like our England trip, Grayden printed out maps and put our destinations into our GPS. We flew into Phoenix and after getting our rental car we drove over to Scottsdale and checked into our home away from home for the week.
After getting settled in we bought a few items at the grocery store. When we travel we like to have our breakfast "at home" and we needed bottled water, fruit and snacks. Scottsdale is a very easy town to get around with great roads and lovely scenery. On our way to the grocery we saw the largest coyote just trotting along the street! We were told not to worry, unless we see a pack of them! Oh, okay!!
The next day we planned to see a few of the sites in the area. Pinnacle Peak is a granite mountain that rises to a summit of 3,169 feet above sea level. We could see Pinnacle Peak from many places as we were driving around. Pinnacle Peak Park covers 150 acres and is located in the city of Scottsdale. Trails allow hiking the 3.5 mile round trip to top. As I mentioned, it was so HOT we decided that hiking was not on the agenda.
Pinnacle Peak Park is home to beauty that is unfamiliar to this East coast gal! I was fascinated by the variety of plants and animals. The Saguaro cactus walk their way up the mountain. These cactus are huge! Birds and other animals make their homes in them.
This little cutie is a Gambel's Quail. He is not a shy fellow at all. He delighted us by rushing all around the brush.
Of course we are reminded that in the desert we must stay on paths.
The views are beautiful from Pinnacle Peak Park. Outstretching before us are McDowell Mountains, Four Peaks, Granite Mountain and Cone Mountain.
We had planned ahead to go to nearby Fountain Hills for lunch. There is a small little Mexican place called, Sofrita's. We love trying local fare and in a non chain restaurant. We usually eat our largest meal in the middle of the day, then later we just eat something smaller such as cheese and crackers and fruit.
This is our view from Sofrita's. It's always a gamble to try a new place, but this proved to be delicious. The food was fresh and seasoned wonderfully... A great place to get authentic Mexican food!
In the afternoon we drove to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The park was once the home to Hohokam people. They grew agave for food. The Hohokam people lived on this land from 250 B.C. to 1450 A.D. In 1865 the Army established their fort (Ft. McDowell) near the river basin. The park is part of the Maricopa County park system.
McDowell Park has hiking trails, camping sites, and picnic spots to enjoy the varied beauty of this unique area. In 1995, the Rio Fire consumed a good deal of the park's vegetation. Lightning caused the fire that burned almost 14,000 acres of the park. The vegetation has regrown.
Four Peaks Mountain View from the park.
The desert is full of so many different cacti. This particular cactus (Teddy Bear Cholla) was quite abundant here.
We drove all through the park amazed at the difference a desert environment is from Virginia!
We enjoyed a beautiful day in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. The harshness of this area makes one wonder how anything lives in this environment. As a gardener, it would bring new challenges. A completely different set of native plants to consider. Isn't it amazing how varied the United States of America is?
I hope you will join me as I continue to share our time in Arizona. ♥