Visiting Arizona’s Hot Desert Beauty

By Rachel Puryear

Kwame and I just returned from visiting several of Arizona’s parks, and natural desert beauty. Enjoy the photos of our trip!

Saguaro National Park:

Situated just outside of the city of Tuscon, Saguaro National Park features classic desert scenery – with a stunning array of cactus and other desert plants. Some of the cactus plants are as tall as buildings! Just don’t lean against them – that won’t be relaxing. The striking vistas can look particularly dramatic against the sky during sunrise and sunset. Though a large city is just minutes away, the park is peaceful and has plenty of room to explore, while also enjoying quiet reflection.

Kwame and me with desert vista in the background.
Me in front of a giant cactus.
Desert plant life.
Big cactus with “swinging” arms.

Petrified Forest National Park/The Painted Desert:

Northeastern Arizona features Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. This colorful park is named for the fossilized wood found throughout – a product of plant material being buried by sediment and thereby protected against decay, and then groundwater flowing through the sediment (over many, many gazillions of years of course). Throughout the park can be found a rainbow of gorgeous desert vistas, thanks to a variety of natural events over time. Navajo and Hopi people have lived here for centuries before European arrival, and petroglyphs and pueblo ruins can be found in parts of the park.

Me and Kwame with the Crystal Forest vista in the background.
Beautiful petrified wood log.
Kwame and me in front of a colorful desert vista.
Kwame looking out at colorful desert vista.
Colorful desert vista with fiery red and other hues.
Colorful desert hills with deep purple and blue hues.
Ancient petroglyphs from the ruins of an old pueblo.

The Grand Canyon:

We have all seen stunning pictures and portrayals of the Grand Canyon. None of them do justice, though, to actually seeing it in person. Standing in front of it, it seems to go on forever. And although it is one of the most heavily-visited parks in the country and draws large crowds, the noise and bustle seems to kind of melt away looking out at the Canyon’s colors, rivers, and iconic formations. It really is a humbling experience.

Note: Apparently some people like to throw coins and other objects into the canyon, perhaps for luck or just for fun. As signs around warn, though, that’s not so lucky for birds and other wild animals inhabiting the area – they can eat these objects and die from poisoning, choking, and other causes. So please, when you visit, let’s keep wildlife out of harm’s way.

Me and Kwame in front of the Grand Canyon.
Looking out at the Grand Canyon.
An elk munching away on a tree near the Grand Canyon.

Sedona, Arizona:

Beautiful Sedona is a city famous for diverse reasons. Its natural beauty makes for amazing hikes. Its vortexes are rumored to have positive energy and spiritual significance, and some have reported various kinds of healing after visiting. We visited the airport vortex – it did have a very peaceful and refreshing vibe.

There is also lots of shopping, including jewelry and various new age stuff downtown, if that’s your thing. Accordingly, the city has an interesting mix of counterculture, and high end shops.

Kwame and me with the Sedona skyline in the background.
The airport vortex area.
View of Sedona from the airport.

The Hoover Dam:

Situated on the border of Nevada and Arizona, this engineering feat made development of much of the Southwest possible. Constructed during the Great Depression, it did – and still does – hold back the largest human-made lake in the U.S. And, accordingly…dam, is it huge! 😀

Kwame gazing out at the Hoover Dam.
A view of looking down into the Dam.
Lake Mead, on which the Dam is situated.
A statue artwork near the Dam.

Hope you have enjoyed these photos. Thank you for reading, dear readers. xoxo

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