How to explore Arizona, starting locally
I like exploring. I've been that way since I was a kid. People have asked me what I'm looking for, maybe buried treasure, and when I say that I just like looking around, most are confused. What's the point? And I understand that it's very grown-up to have a point, to have a destination. But it's not what I like. And it's been wildly confusing to the grownups when my explorations don't even take me all that far away.
Yes, I know that in order to be a real explorer, you have to travel to distant places. Quite possibly you have to wear clothing with a lot of pockets, and maybe even some type of explorer hat. You have to pack a large vehicle with a lot of stuff, maybe even have all that stuff transported on a plane. Sometimes there are maps with little red dots to show how far away explorers are going. And sadly, all I see is the time spent packing, and sitting in a vehicle, and waiting at airports. And I'd rather go exploring! Come with me, and let's get started right away. We'll be exploring locally.
I live in Arizona, which means that I can step outside and I'm in Arizona. When I lived in California, I had the same mindset. People came from all over the world to visit where I live. Yes, it's a silly and childish point of view, but I'm silly and childish.
There must have been a little rain last night, I can smell it. There's nothing like a thunderstorm in the desert, and here in suburban Glendale I'm surrounded by thousands of miles of Sonoran Desert. In spite of what people say about how much people have impacted the desert, really it's not much. The desert is huge! And really, the Sonoran is just one of the gigantic deserts around here, including the Mojave, and the Chihuahuan. When the dams fail, and the people go away, the desert will quietly reclaim the cities, and go back to what it's been doing for over 10,000 years.
I'm particularly fond of plants. I like to see the drops of water on the leaves. I like the look of plants, the feel, the smell. Heck, I know people who even eat plants!
And there's wildlife here. But you can put away your binoculars, and your book of "rare desert animals". My favorites are the rolls-polly bugs (please stop me if I'm getting too technical here), and I'm always excited by a visit from a dragonfly. There are no lack of birds here, in spite of the fact that most people scoff at "common" birds, and don't bother to look at them, or listen to them. To me, they all matter, the way that everyone matters, not just celebrities.
Thank you for exploring with me, and I'm just going to go do some more. No thank you, I'd rather not sit in a car, or an airport, or help to pack a vehicle. To me that's not exploring.
Image at the top of this post: See Arizona First in 1921.
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Posted by Brad Hall