In Ohio, I think we have so many misconceptions of Arizona. As a kid, I thought it was about black and white “shoot-‘em-ups” featuring cowboys, six-guns, horses, Hereford cattle, cacti, and box canyons. Well, that’s true around Tucson, Tombstone, and Yuma. These areas, along with Bisbee and many others are about minerals and mining, also.
I’ve visited the “Old Tucson” movie sets and the mines and that’s definitely a legacy of this part of Arizona. While in Southern Arizona, you will also see the Pipe Organ Desert and Forest. This is all about the pipe organ cacti there. Surrounding this is the Sonoran Desert and it’s prolific saguaro cacti. This is a very unique cactus and it’s uniquely specific to this area.
Remember, Southern Arizona is very much like Mexico. It is about mountain ranges, chaparral, foothills, and desert. What is a desert to you? The word, by definition, doesn’t actually mean hot but rather “deserted” by life. Really, nothing could be farther from the truth in most of Southern Arizona. It may be true that some extreme parts of the deserts are barren but as for the cactus, Palo Verde, mesquite, and sage foothill areas (by far the multitude) it is teeming with life.
This is a magnet for those interested in “Bird and Bloom.” There is a pristine, peaceful tranquility here to entice and enhance life. It is a writer’s or artist’s paradise for motivation and thought provocation.
Then, there’s the valleys of rock (red rock). Monument Valley and Sedona are all about the red rock and desert/foothills transition.
In the southern portion of Arizona you also see the most Native American footprint. There will be reservation, Pueblo, casino, and jewelry presence there.
From Flagstaff north (north of the Mother Road – Route 66) the rocks and trees take over. It’s about pine, juniper, and cedar instead of saguaro, prickley pear, and cholla.
It’s about Indian ruins also but they’re built into cliffsides and have names like Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Navajo, and Canyon de Chelly.
Of course, there’s that big absence of rock called The Grand Canyon. This one of those spectacles you can see from South Rim, North Rim, or from the floor. It’s big and it takes a while to see it.
As you go north, you come to the “Valley of the Sun” (Phoenix). I’ve been there several times for Reds spring training. There are many, many attractions and business opportunities there and that equates to too many, many people.
As you progress East, you will find the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Now you’ve transitioned to the point of diminishing desert and increasing forest.
As you come back down the west side of Arizona southward, you encounter Boulder Dam and Lake Havasu. Both are impressive. Arizona is a big ol’ place and there’s a lot to see and absorb
Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.