Today was a perfect Arizona winter day--57 degrees and clear, clean air. We decided to go four-wheeling in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, one of my top three favorite things to do! We decided to go fifty miles west from my house to Saddleback Mountain. Two mountain masses form the saddle, and there are canyons and gulches between them.
The smoke in the photo is actually steam coming from the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. Palo Verde is the largest nuclear plant in the USA. It employs about 2,500 people.
Rugged, towering cliffs and rock spires make for spectacular scenery. We saw mule deer, rabbits, and a few red-tailed hawks. I aways look for desert tortoises but so far have never found one! The Indian wheat, other grasses and wildflowers are abundant. After the recent rains the desert has turned green and I wanted to see how many wildflowers we could look forward to seeing in February, that is, if we get at least one more rain.
There are plenty of healthy Saguaro cactus in the area.
Taking photos at high noon makes for a poor photos that have washed-out color...I wish they would have shown the greening as it really is. It is breathtakingly beautiful for us Desert Rats!
This is an unusual twin headed Barrel cactus. I guess a wood pecker wanted a back door as this one pecked a hole all the way through.