Cactus and Canyons

Visiting the Phoenix area during Spring Break rewards travelers with warm sunny days and many options for activities. I am highlighting a few favorites from previous visits as I am not able to travel west this year. The spring bloom time in the Sonora Desert is amazing. There are more than 20 wildflowers and flowering plans that are common to see throughout Arizona, including poppies, brittlebush, chuparosa and marigolds. The frequency of these flowers depends on elevation as well as rainfall from the prior year.

Consider spending some time at the Desert Botanical Garden. One of the most popular attractions in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden is your one-stop shop for all things Sonoran Desert and cactus. The 140-acre garden features 50,000 plant displays and almost 500 rare and exotic desert plants. Among these are nearly 1,000 saguaros, some of which are more than 50 feet tall. On their easy to manage Desert Discovery Loop Trail , you’ll experience the unique and beautiful plants that thrive in some of the hottest and driest parts of the world. I was able to enjoy the fun of spring cactus blooms among the beautiful glass sculptures by the famous glass artist, David Chihuly, which was a special exhibit in place a few years ago. Inspired by a lifelong interest in architecture and gardens, Chihuly has completed ambitious architectural artwork installations all over the world. I encourage you to look him up and visit one of his exhibits.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Most visitors find there way to Taliesin West to discover and appreciate the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. I came across the opportunity to visit a lesser know home which Wright build for his son, David, titled “How to Live in the Southwest,” in the plans. The David & Gladys Wright House is one of only three spiral designs realized by Wright and is the precursor to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Raised on columns to provide a view of the property’s citrus orchard, the house at the base of Camelback Mountain looks outward towards the surrounding desert and inwards onto a central courtyard with a plunge pool and shaded garden. Custom-designed concrete-block details on the exterior and a fully conceived interior space create a residence that is considered Wright’s last residential masterpiece.

David and Gladys Wright lived in the house until their deaths (David in 1997 at the age of 102, and Gladys in 2008 at the age of 104), after which the residence fell into disrepair. My visit was in the spring of 2016 after the property was was brought back to life and was possibly going to be a museum. Unfortunately the deal fell through and the property, vulnerable yet again, went back on the market in September 2018. I checked back in and found this unique property sold in August of 2020 to an owner who plans to protect and preserve it. We enjoyed our small group tour on a beautiful sunny Arizona spring day which gave us all A Lasting Impression.


Making our way north, we pass through beautiful Sedona. (Just a pause for now…I will share more in a later post.)

Grand Canyon – South Rim

Our destination was Flagstaff in order to relax and take in some time along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. With its breathtaking views, stunning sunsets and rich cultural history, Grand Canyon National Park must be seen to be appreciated. And my photos are only a brief peek at how amazing our views were. A great way to take it all in is by going for a hike, which we enjoyed. A Lasting Impression!

The “Trail of Time” is a 4.56 km (2.83 mile) long geologic timeline along the south rim of the Grand Canyon. This special section of the rim trail (between Yavapai Geology Museum and Verkamps Visitor Center) was a great way to start our day. Each meter walked on the timeline trail signifies one million years of Grand Canyon’s geologic history. Walking the trail gave us an appreciation for the magnitude of geologic time. Then plan some time for a fun hike. Rim Trail, Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail are great places to start if you’re looking for a one-day hike. Hermit Trail and Grandview Trail offer more challenging hikes. 

2 thoughts on “Cactus and Canyons

  1. Love your Arizona impressions. We were fortunate to experience the Chihuly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens several years ago…..I will always remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

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