I don’t really have much to say about the Phoenix Metroplex…The most populated and busiest part of the State. Lots of great golf courses, restaurants, and beautifully landscaped desert casitas. So, instead, I am going to write about the drive north to Flagstaff.
I have always been fascinated with the terrain and geology of Arizona, and their impact on the native vegetation…Phoenix is surrounded by the Sonoran Desert which is dominated by the giant Saguaro Cactus. A friend mentioned today that they live to be 50 years before beginning the growth of their arms. As mentioned in an earlier post, they provide food and shelter to much of the wildlife in the low desert.
As I began my drive north, these beauties are everywhere…But the drive is gradually uphill…At about 3500 feet, the Saguaro suddenly disappear, and are replaced by whispy grassland, scrubrush, and other varieties of cacti that do not grow over a foot tall. As the elevation continues to climb, the plants seem to get a little greener. At 5500 feet, I entered a state forest, but there were no trees to be seen…and then at 6000 feet, they appeared…BUT, they looked more like bushes on short trunks and rarely grew above 10 feet. Finally, at close to 7000 feet, the road entered a mature pine forest. This took me to Flagstaff, which sits at about 7300 feet above sea level, and is shadowed by Humphreys Peak at over 9000 feet.
This final pic was taken about 45 miles east of Flagstaff…The high desert plain becomes very flat, and Mount Humphrey can still be seen in the distance.