E and I managed to break away from work and gardening and the yard long enough to go out into the desert world, on a trail on the edge of Hell’s Canyon Wildernerss west of Phoenix. It’s a real wilderness, but the trail we took merely skirts the proper wild stuff. It’s right next to the heavily used Lake Pleasant recreation area, so the hike is a combination of feeling like you’re Really Out There mixed with the occasional irritation of ORV engine-blarts or gunshots in the distance — plinking is a traditional pastime in this desert. But we didn’t see anyone else on the trail all day, and once into the hike a bit, did achieve a sense of being away from others.
We went in search of wildflowers as well as a new hike experience, and although we anticipated the height of the ephemerals and hedgehog cactus bloom, there were plenty of flowers, birds, certain Feral Quadrupeds of Interest, and other things to look at. And I was finding desert Chimaera combo-clumps everywhere — natural ones the desert plants themselves had arranged. Here are some chimaeric photos (all photos A or E Shock):
This last one is harder to see since it’s a subtle tangle of non-succulent foliage, so be sure to click on it to enlarge: