Weekend before last Steve and I decided we needed to get out of the city. Fortunately, as far west as we are, that's easy to do. I remembered a short jaunt I took my parents on years back, up to see Lake Pleasant back when they were still in the filling-it stage. No amenities, but therre was a spot to pull over and see where the water levels were going to be and get an idea of the future shape of the lake.
Yep, that long ago.
The most noticeable thing at the time was the sharply dwindling supply of cactus, notably saguaros. It had become a crime to remove them from the desert, finally. But now, with so many due to drown, one could go through a beaurocratic process and get a permit to remove one or more to a new location.
Getting there is simple from here, Just head over to 99th Ave and go north. Keep going north. Eventually there will be signs letting you know you're going the right way, and finally signs for where to turn off for various access points.
The first ones will be for private land, well developed with overlooks, a huge marina, and RV park and a store. We took that, having to pay $6 for access. The overlook made it worth it, but made us both regret having no cameras along better than in our cell phones. The weather up north was mixed rain and snow and the clouds were a great accent to the shots. We sat in sunshine, of course, enjoying the weather the best way, from a distance.
Having seen our fill, we decided to head further along the road we had been on and see what else was there. Shortly we arrived at the turnoff for the regional park, another pay-as-you-enter access. Having done that once already, we declined the privilege and turned back to the main drag. Along the way we started noticing funny saguaros, with arms in all directions and all shapes and sizes. If we anthropomorphized them, they became funny beings with individual personalities as shown in their "postures". I found a need to go back with a camera sometime, shoot them, and add captions. One had droopy arms, cris-crossed arms, and upright arms, but each pointed a different way. Steve and I both shot it, though the sun disappeared behind a cloud and all we got were silhouettes. Steve thought his should be directing a posse with a "they went thataway" and I thought it should be telling the lost wanderer where home or a water hole was located.
Passing a sign indicating that this road joined Hwy 60, we decided to continue our jaunt. The result was 20 miles of nearly pristine desert, and the surprise of a pack of wild burros, including an adorable white baby, walking along the road. We weren't the first or last car to stop, watch, and take pictures, the last being a county sheriff to monitor things.
The minute we hit Hwy. 60 we entered a different world. Civilization again, but at it's worst. Dingy, depressing, the homes and junk of folks on the edge of modern survival lined the road all along the way back until we hit formal suburbs again. It may not have looked so bad had we not just come from the wilderness we'd just enjoyed.
We'll have to go back. Soon.