Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sonoran Desert

I wanted to see the desert in bloom and I did!

Night 7 and 8 of the trip, were spent it in Cave Creek, just outside of Scottsdale, with a view right onto the living desert. We bumped into a few Snowbirds and saw some Ontario licence plates. I can see escaping bleak cold damp dark months to Arizona's sun.

Frank Lloyd Wright ended up wintering here on the advice of his physician, in order to improve his health and extend the length of his years. It seems to have worked because he first arrived in his early seventies and died when he was 91.

I was amazed by our tour of nearby Taliesin West, home and school of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This exquisite property was used as a test site for many designs. The way he worked with light, the way he brought the outside in and inside out; his use of reflecting pools in the middle of a dry and arid space. I loved the stylish and democratic "origami chairs" constructed out of single sheets of cheap plywood. Wright shared this space with his 3rd wife, along with several apprentices he convinced to do the building and heavy lifting for him in exchange for letters of recommendation. These disciples were also expected to cook, clean, build furniture and put on private performances to amuse their mentor. The more I heard the more Wright reminded me of Kurtz in Heart of Darkness... a massive ego exploiting everyone around him. In Wright's case, the legacy lives on. When Wright first built Taliesin West there was nothing around for miles. Decades later, he almost moved because of the telephone poles and wires that were erected to blight his beloved view of the desert landscape. I can imagine how much that must have enraged him, but in the end his wife talked him into staying and dining on the back terrace.

Our B&B here brought the Sonoran Desert just outside our balcony. Definitely a very comfortable stay at Full Circle Ranch. A swim in the infinity pool and a dip in the hot tub after a long day's hike made it seem even more a desert oasis.

At sunrise , there was a cacophony of birds. I couldn't see them in the dense vegetation, but I sure could hear them! So I started making up names based on the sounds. Laughing jay. Coughing dove. Early rising woodpecker. Boinkers, coo-purrs, barking bobs, chirping chicks. I did manage to see three desert cottontail hares, quails, tanagers, and a gila woodpecker. Rob and I also swear we saw a pair of roadrunners, but it was hard to confirm because they streaked across the road too fast to make a positive identification.

This was cowboy country.  It was hilly on our hikes and we had to watch out for rattlesnakes and horse poo as we traveled the trails.

We also made it to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum... It featured desert plants found in the Sonoran, Chihuahua, and  Australia deserts.  The site was also designated as a special bird migration fly-path by Audubon, and we saw several varieties of hummingbirds at feeders.

Later, a tasty dinner at the local Mexican eatery El Encanto. I have to learn how to cook some of these dishes at home.

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