We arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on the hottest day of the year. We got a car at the airport and hightailed it to the Desert Botanical Garden where a day that started out unbearably hot got worse. And worse. Few people were in the garden that day, except us, the crazy Canadians.
Despite the heat and nearly stroking out (the desert is no joke. I’ve been much more careful since), I was absolutely thrilled to see so many incredible plants including this Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae) and the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) seen in the photo above.
We woke up early the next morning and headed to Joshua Tree, California (the town and national park), arriving just in time to catch some amazing views of the park as the sun lit up the rocks and then went down. Once darkness came the night was spectacular — it felt like walking into the stars. It’s such a treat to be able to see things in the sky that are not visible from cities.
We started our third day with a hike into the park where we saw several petroglyphs. I asked our host where we should go to see fields of Joshua Trees and then felt like an idiot a few hours later when we passed field after field of them literally everywhere.
There are giant trees flanking people’s homes and we even stopped to take photos of trees in an empty lot next to a schoolyard.
Just a few days into this trip and I’m already getting quite an education on desert plants, landscapes, and culture. We’ve already been to two deserts and it’s been really fascinating to see how vastly different they are. The diversity is staggering. We are headed up to the Mojave Preserve next. And then it will be back down to the Salton Sea and on to Arizona following along the southern border. I am loving the driving out here in the open areas (save some mountain driving that had me a bit on edge), but hated, hated, hated the drive out of Phoenix. For that reason I’m a bit wary of our journey back to Arizona.
I intend to update with a few more photos from the road as we go, but if you’d like to see more I’ve also been posting cellphone photos to my Instagram and Flickr accounts. I can’t contain the excitement of all of the new things that I am seeing and experiencing. When the trip is done I will put together some larger galleries and more detailed posts highlighting some of the specific plants I have learned about.
We’re still on the road so please keep your suggestions coming.