Yesterday, my husband I dropped off the kids at school and then went on a hike around the beautiful Superstition Mountains, located just outside of the greater Phoenix metro area.

You could see saguaro cacti growing up out of the rocky mountainsides.
Did you know that saguaro cacti favor the south side of mountains?  Look carefully and you will seen a huge difference when comparing with the amount of saguaro on the north sides of mountains.  The reason for this is that it is warmer on the south side of mountains and they receive more sunlight which the saguaro favor.
 
 
Green grass surrounds the remains of a Mesquite tree.  The floor of the desert rapidly turns green as grass grows in response to the rain.
 
The rushing water from the creek could be heard everywhere we walked.  We had to cross over it 3 different times.  Unfortunately, I lost my balance and stepped into the water and came out with a wet sock and hiking boot ;^)
 

The remains of an old Saguaro cactus.
 
Who says that the desert is brown and ugly?  We had a wonderful day of hiking and the weather was just beautiful.  
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

29 replies
  1. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, What an interesting name, the 'Superstition Mountains', I wonder how or why they were so named. Your hike looked very energetic to me, but certainly very beautiful and full of interest.

  2. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    That's cute about the one wet sock. Hope you didn't catch cold, altho I'm not sure what the temperatures are there this time of year, actually…

    I don't think the desert is ugly even when it's going through its driest point in the year. Thanks for taking us along on your lovely hike!

  3. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Hi Noelle: Just look at those big cacti and rock formations. The desert has a beauty all its own. It must have felt good to get out in the sunshine and fresh air for a hike. Despite the wet foot. LOL!

  4. Di
    Di says:

    Noelle, there is soo much beauty in the desert and your photos reflect that. Thanks for allowing us to be aboard for part of the hike.

  5. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    The desert isn't ugly…just different. Isn't it amazing how diverse the landscapes of our world are! It would be quite boring if they were all the same.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed that hike and the lesson on saguaros. Have to get to Phoenix someday.

  6. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    I visited the Saguaro National Park several years ago during a trip to Tuscon. It was absolutely breathtaking. We took a ride down into the valley where it was shady and cool and the saguaro were all around. My daughter and I chased lizards on the trail. She really loved all of the prickly pear. It's amazing how ginormous they really are up close!

  7. Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ
    Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ says:

    I always have heard that the Superstition Mountains got their name from the story of Jacob Walzer (sp?) a miner back in the 1800's who supposedly found gold there and even created a map of where to find it. There have been many superstitions that have cropped up about Walzer and the gold. Many people have searched for his gold and some died trying to locate it … all to no avail.
    I love these mountains more than any other range in the Phoenix area. They are so beautiful and interesting!

  8. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    I wonder why its called the Supersitious Mountains – hope there are no dragons or witches there (lol)

    The desert is now look very much like a rock garden – I guess there real burning desert might be the Sahara or those ones in Australia – hot, dry and dead.

  9. Grace Peterson
    Grace Peterson says:

    Noelle~~ Having never set foot in Arizona, I had no idea. Thank for the enlightenment. The photos of Arizona I've seen are just stereotypical desert-scapes. Frankly, I like these much more.

  10. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    And the temperature wasn't 104 in the shade! These photos are wonderful. The dessert is truly beautiful. It is a different sort of beauty from what I am accustomed to, and that makes it even more special to see.

  11. Rose
    Rose says:

    I can attest to the fact that this area is beautiful. My daughter and I visited the Superstition Mountains on one of my trips to see her last year. I think I might have preferred hiking–I spent part of the drive clutching the doorhandle as she navigated around winding roads with sheer drop-offs:)

  12. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    Truly beautiful! I lived in AZ, near Tuscon, as a child (father was a colonel in the Army) and have always loved the desert. Great photos!

  13. Carol
    Carol says:

    I find the desert fascinating and your photos show the drama and beauty it holds perfectly. What a wonderful hike to be able to take after dropping off your kids to school! Beautiful landscapes Noelle! ;>)

  14. kate smudges
    kate smudges says:

    I don't think I will ever tire from seeing the Saguaro on Superstition Mtn. A Flickr friend (JaneJHJ) regularly posts breathtaking photographs featuring the mountain. I enjoyed seeing pictures of places on your hike route. It must have been great fun.

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