By: Danielle Clockel
Although my heart lies in the icy north, I do have a strange love for the desert. I love the plants, hearty and fierce looking. I love the landscape, with its sudden rocky peaks jutting into the sky. And while I despise the hotter end of the spectrum, I deeply relate to the extreme range of temperatures from day to night.
As you can imagine, this sparse landscape was strikingly different from the “city in a forest” I call home. But my heart swelled with excitement upon seeing short, shrubby vegetation and jagged mountains.
The first expedition was to the Desert Botanical Garden, and it was basically a wonderland. Paved and unpaved pathways wound through giant cacti, breezy grasslands, and crawling succulent sanctuaries.
I’m not exaggerating about the giant cacti. They’re as tall as trees!
I wish I could tell you I trekked all the way to the top of Camelback Mountain later in the week, but I absolutely did not bring the right shoes for that hike, so I stopped about halfway up and took in some seriously beautiful views.
To be honest, I was much more enthralled wandering around in the valley, gazing up at the incredible rock formations jutting out from the otherwise flat desert.
There was plenty to explore in the actual city as well. Delicious vegetarian/vegan eateries, vintage record stores, an arthouse/indie movie theater, and this incredible David Bowie mural that spanned almost a full block near the historic bungalow that I stayed at for the week.
It was an incredible visit, but I left just in time — the forecast called for a high of 90 degrees the day I flew back to Atlanta, and this cold weather loving gal had had enough of that nonsense during the summer already. That said, would I go back? I’ll answer that with a photo: