I spent way too long in the southeast and eastern parts of the US (thanks, pandemic) the last few years. So once I got out to the west, my plan was to spend the winter exploring places in New Mexico and Arizona. Here’s a wrapup of my winter: what I saw, where I went, and some tips for fellow travelers.
I’d never seen an organ pipe cactus, and maybe you never have either, so let’s start this post with a beautiful example of one. Cool and weird and wonderful, right?
On a street corner in Pima, Arizona, you’ll find a small building with a faded sign: Eastern Arizona Museum. My cousin arranged for us to have special access for a few hours during our family reunion in Safford and it was a lot of fun. Read on to see what treasures I found and for two cool surprises…
Ever want to go underground and see what a real mine looks like? Me, too! So I did just that in Bisbee, Arizona last month. For the small price of $14, you too can wear a stylish orange or yellow safety vest and a rocking green hard hat as you take your seat on a tram that used to cart rocks out of the mine. Was it fun? Was it worth the money?
The southwestern desert is a vast expanse, whether you’re driving through it, hiking its myriad trails, or simply staring out across the distances for miles and miles. I did a lot of that last one my first week at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. And then serendipity brought me to a little shop in Ajo where a photographer had a case of lenses for sale. Sitting there on a shelf, calling my name was a beautiful old Minolta lens, a 100mm sibling to the 58mm lens I had inherited from my Dad several years ago.
When it’s 95,000 degrees in the desert and you’re camping without electricity, survival techniques can take a weird turn. Like driving a scenic loop on washboard gravel for three hours mostly so you can blast the air-conditioning as you cruise along at 15 mph. Well, that was my strategy last week. You might pick a different one.
It’s impossible to get from Southern California to New Mexico, where I’m spending most of the winter, without passing through Arizona. Here’s some of my favorite photos from that transit, which was mostly through the Sonoran Desert. (And maybe seeing desert photos will make y’all in cold, snowy climes feel a bit warmer today.)
About this image: Just outside the Sonoran desert area, is Mount Graham, near Safford. That mountain is the snow-capped peak in the background, on the right side of this image. I loved the tree and sky so that’s what I focused on.
When I was a kid, the worst thing about going to visit my grandparents in Arizona was the desert. Ugh. So dry, so brown, so boring. All I can think now is that I just didn’t get the desert back then. Now I do. It’s beautiful in its own stark, understated way.
I was just passing through this time, a few days getting from New Mexico out to California, so I didn’t visit any cool places or try to see people, although I did manage some family and friends in the Tucson area (thanks, Sherry, Judy & Joanne, and Keith & Randy!). So let’s see what photos made the cut from my brief stint in the Grand Canyon State.
Here I am, at the end of my fall adventure: the stories told, the photos shown, the experience shared as much as I could. All that’s left is what we project managers call the post-mortem meeting: examine the work (or the trip) and highlight the lessons learned. So let’s begin…
A short post, with a question that has no easy answers.