Saturday, April 18, 2015

Colors and Blooms in the Arizona Desert

It is no secret that I hate wind and dirt.  The desert has been an on and off challenge for me—because it tends to be a combination of blowing wind and dirt/sand.  Because I believe we can find a treasure and/or something beautiful in everyplace we are; we decided to go 4-wheeling in the desert and hunt for “treasures”. 

We took several back roads from Bullhead City, AZ, through Needles, CA and then back through Laughlin, NV.  We started out on back roads and without realizing we had made a change—we were driving on a dry river bed.  It was unlike any other 4-wheeling we have done.  

The sand was about 8” deep.  The jeep, of course, had no problems, but it was squirrely.  It was straight and there were no measurable hills—so from a 4-wheeling perspective it was OK.   George prefers the slow rock climbing; I prefer the faster, curves and hills.   However, our goal today was not a great 4-wheeling adventure; we wanted to find treasures that made this area special.  Many would say the casinos that dot the landscape are special—so far we have not spent time in the casinos (except the occasional meal).

In February we traveled with another couple, Pat and Debbie, and they helped remind us to stop and appreciate everything around us.  Debbie would smell a fragrance while we were walking down a path.  Pat was easily distracted by a bird or a plant that he was unfamiliar with.  They both made themselves familiar with the plants and cactus in the area and Pat enjoyed quizzing us on the ones that he had earlier pointed out.  The bottom line for us: we now try to notice the little things around us—not just see them, but truly appreciate them.

I am digressing… back to our trip.  We turned down a side road and we started up the riverbed. Color sprinkled the ground and rock formations. 

We saw several Barrel Cacti’s that were the largest we had seen before.  Although we did not see blooms on these cactus’ the tops were a beautiful crimson red.  

It was shocking there are so many different shades of purple flowers.  One plant had flowers that were less than a ½ inch wide.  This plant grows closes to the ground and each plant was filled with these tiny delicate flowers.

There were white and yellow “daisy like” flowers. 

This plant almost looks like it would be a grass, except for all the yellow flowers that adorn it.

We started our trip expecting to find blooming Ocotillo cactus—and saw so much more.  We were able to see hundreds of blooming ocotillo cacti.  On first glance some of these almost appear to be an arrangement of dead sticks.  But as we continue to look, many have green or yellowish branches.  Because of the time of year, they all had a plume of orange to crimson blooms. 

I have enjoyed being in the area as these cactus “came to life”.  Their blooms seem to dot the skyline.

We started this outing hoping to have a great time together and come home with pictures of “Colors in the Desert”.  We were NOT disappointed.  Our day exceeded our expectations.  

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