Jen H., in this week’s photo challenge, encourages us to share images reflecting the weather or representing the current “season of your life” in metaphor. My wife and I spend our winters in the warmer part of Arizona, having spent well over 30 years in North Dakota winters. I could easily reflect upon the approaching “winter” of my life in photographs, but I much prefer to dwell on a more youthful season. So it is to be that my challenge post will reflect images from Arizona as spring is arriving ahead of the calendar this year. You can read Jen’s challenge post here.
This year, with unusually warm, indeed record breaking, high temperatures, we are enjoying extra nice weather. Coupled with an unusually high amount of rainfall, the desert is experiencing an early spring. The Sonoran Desert, in most years, looks pretty much the same all year round. Spring is the exception, with desert plants blossoming with new life. When the winter rains are more abundant, new growth of all types, especially wildflowers are more abundant. In the photo above, taken in the spring of 2013, another wet year, you can see the desert floor is covered with greenery.
Hiking in the winter in Arizona is relatively safe from encounters with rattlesnakes. These desert-dwelling serpents pack a nasty and often fatal venom with their bite. During the winter months, they hibernate underground. In the spring, they awaken and head out from their shelter to sun themselves on rocks and trails. This small rattlesnake was discovered next to the trail, in a position to harm anyone who might carelessly wander too close. On this particular trek, we happened to be hiking with a professional EMT. Her skill set and her hiking gear includes equipment for the proper handling of these poisonous reptiles. Using the tools and the skills she has learned, she safely moved the snake off the trail so as not to present an immediate hazard to hikers. Hikers not equipped with the proper tools and skills need to give the rattler a wide berth. They are known to strike and hit their target at a distance of over twice their length. This fellow is the only rattlesnake my wife and I have ever seen on a hike.
For this week’s challenge, I submit a small gallery of images reflecting spring in the Arizona desert. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.