The desert summer’s bad rap

For hikers here in the Sonoran Desert, summer is a time to move on to greener pastures.  The weather in the Phoenix area — the desert’s heart — is hot and sticky from July through September.  It is a period when many of us who walk the desert trails head for high ground.  To the cool of pine trees and mountain lakes.

Deadwood given life by sunlight.
Deadwood given life by sunlight.

For instance, photographs and triplogs on one of the region’s best sites, hikearizona.com, begin the Big Shift in May.  As if a switch was tripped, most  photos and descriptions originate in the highlands of the San Francisco Peaks, the Mogollon Rim, the Grand Canyon and other high places.  And photos from these “lush” sites  are almost certain to receive high ratings.   It’s as if summer has left the Sonoran abandoned and  without value.

Even in summer, a struggle to bloom.
Even in summer, a struggle to bloom.

But, while the Sonoran lowlands in summer can wilt the will to step outdoors,  there is much to see.   The beautiful panoramas of winter may have vanished but not so the wildlife and the subtle changes plants make to adapt to the tremendous heat and long dry spells.

The eye of the lowlands hiker in summer must look more carefully than in other seasons,  but it can still find beauty and interest.

Summer down here is not as bad as it may sound.

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