Desert Rain

What I love about the Chicago suburbs is that there are forest preserves along many of the major highways. I love pulling over and taking a walk in the woods. (Not quite as much in the winter months though.)  In these months, I go looking for some green in the desert after the recent rains. In the “Valley of the Sun,” you’ll not find forest preserves, but Sonoran Desert Preserves with easy trail access. And there I found:

Grassy Desert


We were hiking in the Cave Creek Preserve area, about thirty-five miles due north of a more well-known landmark, Camelback Mountain:

Camelback in the distance

The plant in the foreground is one of my favorite in the desert. I gasped when we came around a bend and faced a field of them! (The photo doesn’t capture just how “surrounded” you feel by these interesting plants reaching skyward.)  Folks try to grow these for domestic landscape use, but they seldom seem to fare well. In the natural world after the big rain, these are looking especially lush.

Must find out what they're called

Like many varieties in the desert, they aren’t as friendly as they look though:

I’ll go back when they bloom. These will turn into what look like orange tags. They’ve got quite the flair against the green:

Quite the dramatic vegetation. Here’s another, imploring “Y!” against the bright blue sky:

Y? Because it rained! Here’s what’s left of the rain… (We’d come four days earlier and this was a running wash…it sure disappears quickly!)

Where waterfall had been!

Just a trickle remains:

Back through the wash on our way out. Most things happen slowly in the desert. Moist things disappear quickly:



Filed under AZ, Nature, Photos

3 responses to “Desert Rain

  1. The plants are ocatillo – you are right, they are amazing plants and it is not easy to get a photograph that depicts their true energy. The dried branches are often used to create fences in the Southwest and in Mexico. The desert is such an amazing place. I grew up in San Diego and often ventured to Anza Borrego Desert. Deserts appear to be “deserted” but are teaming with life. Life that comes alive simply because of a rain that washes through like the one you mentioned. I’m excited to see more of what you discover in the desert. These days, I have to travel some distance to get to one.Thanks for this. You’ve renewed my love and appreciation for the desert.

  2. Hi Kathy!

    Thanks for saying “hello” as well as providing the name ~ ocatillo! I’m glad this renewed your love for the desert. I share the same view: there is truly so much beauty and life in unexpected places when you are in in the desert. It holds a serenity that drew me here many years ago and still draws me today. Can’t wait to share more with you!


  3. So you are keeping this blog going. Wonderful! Love to see the green desert. Your pic of the sky with the V-shaped plant is terrific! Such talent you have, my dear, such talent!

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