When Dave told me that we needed to stop to look at a project in Scottsdale on our way home from San Francisco, I pictured a faux Italian shopping center in the heart of the city, all asphalt and manicured gardens. I set the map program on my cell phone to the address and was pleasantly surprised when we kept driving, all the way to the northern border of Scottsdale. Right next door is the small town of Carefree, surrounded by the Sonoran Desert.
It was overcast when we arrived, keeping the temperature below ninety, so I was able to comfortably go for a walk. Black Mountain and this pile of boulders provided the backdrop to the desert landscape filled with saguaro, cholla, and ocotillo. A family of Gambel’s quail scattered when I tried to get a closer look at a prickly pear cactus loaded with red fruit.
The clouds burned off and the temperature started to rise, so I took refuge under a green-trunked Palo Verde tree. Just like it does for the baby saguaros, it sheltered me from the desert sun.