It was a warm 70 degrees, and we just had to get out to explore the desert again! Our destination on this day trip was to see an oddity, 'The Skull', that had been mentioned in the local paper last month. I had never heard of it before, even having lived in this region practically my whole life. Last year I took a photo of Frog Rock near the Congress/Yarnell area, and Scull Rock is in that same area.
We took dirt roads to get to our destination. This part of the desert is thick with Creosote bushes and Mesquite trees, with just a few cacti scattered here and there.
On the way, we saw a black hill that is supposedly made out of lava from an ancient eruption. It does look like lava flows running down the sides, but maybe it's actually water rivulets. We used to search these types of formations for obsidian, which are a glassy volcanic rock, so maybe these are old volcanoes. As kids, finding an obsidian was a real treat. Not that we found many--but when we did find an area that had them, we'd spend hours trying to find the most transparent ones. Obsidian is a dull black until you hold it up to the light, so you never knew what you had without the transparency test!
Well, after seeing some great scenery on the way, we found it!
This hedgehog was near the dirt road on the way to find The Skull. There were quite a few in the area. This will look stunning when it blooms! I hope to get to the area when it happens!
I love the Vulture Mine road to Wickenburg. It is thick with beautiful, fat saguaros that haven't been damaged by vandals.
Teddy Bear Chollas and our Arizona state tree--a Palo Verde, in the background.
Mistletoe has completely overtaken this tree. I think it is a Palo Verde. Desert mistletoe feeds on the tree and causes a decline and will eventually kill it, although it takes a long time. Birds eat the Mistletoe berries and spread the seeds to other branches and other trees. There isn't any hope for trees in the wild after this parasite starts to grow.
Ironwood, a tree that just keeps going despite a lot of abuse! This tree blooms in May with beautiful pink to purple flowers that last less than two weeks. Ironwood is the longest-lived Sonoran Desert plant and has the hardest and heaviest wood. It is used in landscapes and medians, but not as much as other desert trees because it is very slow growing.
We saw an unusual sight, where three Saguaros were growing so close together it appeared as if it was one cactus. You can tell it's three separate cactuses by looking at the three trunks. You can tell the size of the cacti--that's hubby standing there beside these giant cacti.