Danger in the Desert

With the temperatures rising and starting to surpass 100 degrees, it was time for us to raise the jacks and get the wheels rolling in a northerly direction.  Our two month stay in Phoenix, Arizona, was filled with lots of socializing, some home maintenance projects, and plenty of hiking surrounded by beautiful scenery, vegetation and interesting critters.

I don’t know about you, but I never tire of fantastic scenery dotted with wildflowers. During our first week back in the valley of the sun, we hiked at the Superstition Mountains as much as possible, which wasn’t nearly enough.  It never is.  If I haven’t already told you, well even if I have ….. I love, love, love hiking here .

We were first introduced to this area about five years ago during our six-week road trip with our brand new 5th Wheel.  It was also during this trip back in 2012 when we were enlightened on the concept of full-time RVing.  My how time flies ….  fond memories!

I truly enjoy my time in the desert southwest, but it’s not for everyone and there are dangers to be aware of.

As the temperatures soar, the snakes come out making me a very cautious hiker.  Last spring I had a rather close call that rattled me.

And then of course, the extreme temperatures are not to be taken lightly.  Folks seem to underestimate how dangerous the sun and heat can be and hiking trail rescues become a regular occurrence during spring and summer.

I love it when the saguaro cactus bloom

I love my dear friend, but he can be a prick  😆

The desert feels so alive during spring time!

Watch where you step – the desert can be a dangerous place!

Our time in Phoenix may have come to a temporary end, but our time in Arizona has not. We’re now comfortably parked in Prescott Valley, a mere one hour plus drive north of Phoenix and are settled into a nice campsite for the next couple of months.  I have some favorite places around here that I’m looking forward to revisiting.

More of this to come!




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Oh, and one final thought……
Happy Cinco de Mayo – what’s for dinner? I made these delicious hatch chili hamburgers and they were so yummy especially paired with grilled asparagus and a tall margarita. If anyone’s interested, I’ll share the recipe in an upcoming post.  All you have to do is ask 😉


99 thoughts on “Danger in the Desert

  1. Beautiful photos, and yes I would love to visit that area. Cacti prickly jokes aside, ano excellent post and chili hamburger recipe has me intrigued, you tested it?

    • Thanks … I’ve come to enjoy our time in the desert . But of course, the chili hamburger was tested and tasted on more than one occasion. It’s become a fave with my Midwestern/Norwegian descent husband. Quite a shocker 😄

  2. I really enjoyed this visit to the desert, Ingrid, especially your celebration of the various cacti. My favorite photo is the exquisite capture of the cactus wren with the cactus fluff in bill. Wonderful post.

    • The desert during the spring is very special … love it. Now we’re at a higher elevation and I’m looking forward to things blooming around here 🙂

  3. I love some of the shots in this post, and oddly I just noticed we appear to have the same hiking shoes 😀
    For some reason I couldn’t reply to the 2nd comment on my page, but yes, there is the possibility we may be passing through the Prescott area in the next couple of weeks so I will let you know in case you feel like a new visitor…

    • Love these hiking shoes and even bought a second pair. Do give me a shout out if you’re near Prescott. We can meet and I can share a favorite photography spot with you.
      You might want to check your settings in WordPress regarding comments. There’s a number where you set how many responses you allow.

  4. Hi, Ingrid, we hiked with your neighbor Sandy today while John rode his bike and they told us about meeting you. Would really like to meet you while we are here, but we’re leaving on Sunday. Please let us know if there is a time or place we could get together.

  5. You’ve helped in getting our desert fix, thanks. So glad we got to see the Saguaro’s bloom before we left Cave Creek, hope they do again next winter. We’ll have to make plans to hike with you in the Superstitions this winter, only hiked there once. Enjoy Prescott, see you in the fall.

    • I think I’ve turned into a reptile. I can’t get warm here in Prescott. Thank goodness we’re heading back to the valley for the day on Sunday so I can warm up and celebrate Mother’s Day. Look forward to hiking with you!

  6. I enjoy my visits to the in laws in Arizona – they use to live closer to the Superstition Mountains then moved more into the city limits of Phoenix to enjoy the amenities of Senior living. That Cholla is nasty though! Beautiful – thanks for bringing back some great memories for me 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

    • I’ve been having a ton of fun exploring the valley but once those temps started soaring, we moved an hour north. Phoenix is a great place to visit and explore. Be sure and let me know the next time you visit.

  7. I am thoroughly enjoying your evolution as a photographer! If I didn’t have so many dang things going on, I am sure I’d put more effort into ding more photo work…some pictures are worth more than a thousand words.

    Rattlesnakes..ugh! Several encounters when camping/hiking with a class of thirty 3rd graders. Between the boys jumping towards and the girls being paralyzed in fear…kept you on your toes. Fortunately, I always had plenty of good experienced helpers.

    Margaritas were a must…I had to die for quesadillas…shrimp, crab and scallops…and did I say margaritas? 😀

    • That was mean of you to mention all that seafood LOL. We try to get our fill during our stay along the Texas Gulf Coast. Lot’s of chicken and burger around here these days, but a good margarita takes any dish to the next level 😉
      Thanks for the kind words regarding my photography. I’ve been working at it and glad my efforts are showing improvement. Although most of the time, I’m a snap shot taker…. wanna keep it fun!

      • I want to do more with practicing photography…but on another note…I found an outstanding Mexican restaurant and I had to get some more of those seafood quesadillas. Too bad my order wasn’t ready when I went in…I had to wait for it and sip a margarita while I waited. 😀 😀

  8. Beautiful images Ingrid! Terry had a close encounter in a teddy bear cholla forest some years ago in the Superstitions. It was ugly!

    • Ouch! During our first stay at Cave Creek Reg Park years ago, our dog tripped and fell into a teddy bear cholla. I had to use cooking tongs to pull out the thorns one by one. It was as if he’d had acupuncture. What an ordeal, as you well know!

      • Terry looked like a porcupine. Luckily none landed in his face but his shoulders, abs, knees and calves took a hit. His hands looked like he grabbed fistfuls of cacti…yikes! He had secondary needles surfacing on his hands for weeks after. 😦

        • I can’t imagine what an ordeal that was. All the more reason for me to keep a safe distance from cactus. Hope you have a great time this summer in Yellowstone. I look forward to your photos!

  9. We had a friend who went “behind a bush” when we were 4 wheeling and came back with “Cholla slippers” both his feet were totally covered!

    • ‘Cholla slippers?’ LOL. Those cactus are nasty. Our old dog received acupuncture compliments of a teddy bear cholla. Don’t recommend ☺

  10. Hi Ingrid – good to see your fantastic photos and wonderful commentary again! That first shot with the bee and wildflowers is exquisite! Great caption about your friend who can be a prick! haha!
    I need to return and take some time to read all the comments from your fans.

    • Thanks Michael. We had a busy April and I barely had time or inclination to get out with the camera. Hope to remedy that this month with a few fun adventures.

  11. Glad to hear you rolled again and are settled in where it’s cooler and more comfortable. Looking forward to your photos around your area, happy shooting, Ingrid!

    • We snagged a lovely site in Prescott Valley and it’s a great jumping off point to a lot of fun and scenic places. Now to write up my list 😉

  12. Love your photos!
    We closed up the Arizona house on April 30. Before we left, I got to see my Saguaro and giant Argentine cactus bloom. I found another live scorpion in my broom closet, and we found the shed skin of a bull snake in the back yard! With the temperatures approaching 100, we were ready to leave!

    • It is nice to see the cactus bloom … so unique and beautiful, but once those critters get active – I’m outta there. Bull snakes are good. We had a huge one that hung around our yard in southern Colorado. I named him Buddy knowing as long as he was around, we wouldn’t have any rattle snakes – bulls trump rattlers.

  13. Send some of that sunshine and blue sky to Ohio. It has rained for the past four days, and we have two more to go. Keep enjoying the good life.

    • It’s overcast and windy today here in Prescott Valley. I don’t think I’ve seen rain or encountered a heavy overcast day in well over a month. I do love me that sunshine ☺

  14. Oh thank goodness, you finally posted. ☺️ I have been missing those beautiful photos, Ingrid. Would love to have your recipe.

    • Awe, thank you. I’m hoping to post a bit more this month considering the RV Park here offers free WiFi at the main building. I so hate dealing with data issues. I’ll post that recipe soon!

  15. Love the photo of the Arizona woodpecker on the saguaro. I also become a very cautious desert hiker when I know the snakes are active. We had an unexpected encounter with a rattlesnake on the trail at Palo Duro (TX) a few weeks ago. It really gets the blood pounding!

    Hope you are enjoying being in cooler climes. A bit of the hundred degree stuff goes a long way, doesn’t it?

    • I’ve never thought of myself as snake squeamish but after that VERY close call, I am definitely a more concerned hiker. Yep, that 100 degree range is the tipping point for me. But I think my blood has thinned and at 70 degrees I’m wearing a sweatshirt …. brrr, cold 😄

  16. We could sure use some of those beautiful blue skies you are experiencing! It has been raining here for days & the forecast is not looking all that promising until the later part of next week. Stay safe & watch out for those rattling beasts!

    • I feel for all you folks dealing with the torrential rains and flooding. I know parts of Canada and the U.S. are experiencing some very severe weather. Hope clear blue skies are in your future soon!

      • Yes, there are many areas impacted by all of the rain we have had. Sun is out today So we shall keep our fingers crossed it visits a little more often this week!

  17. I think I would have pointed north when the temps started hitting in the 80’s. Looking forward to seeing where you go.

    • I’m actually good to about 90 and then it starts getting a tad warm even for me. Remember, it’s a dry heat 😆 We’ll be hanging in Prescott most of the summer with occasional side trips.

  18. It’s been HOT! We are about to head East……… way East. Enjoy Prescott and HUGS to YOU BOTH!
    See you in the Fall perhaps! Check out all the Lakes in Prescott.

    • Yep, once it hits 100 it’s time to head for the hills. I have lots of exploring planned this summer. We’ll see how much I can accomplish. Of course, we’ll see you in the fall. Oct 1 we have a reservation just down the road from you – Pioneer. Watch out, we keep moving closer 😆

  19. We’ve wintered over in the Casa Grande, AZ now for our 4th winter. We are both originally from the East Coast and love the desert.
    We finally saw our first rattlesnake in the desert since we’ve been out here. It was near Horseshoe Bend Overlook near Page, AZ. Not a fan of snakes, but it was very interesting to see.

    • I’m not a fan of snakes but also not squeamish. It’s more than a little disconcerting to have a close encounter with a rattle snake. Love that Horseshoe Bend overlook. On my next visit, I’ll be sure to keep my eyes on the ground. Life in the desert can be addictive!

  20. I really, really want to hang out in Arizona next winter (and not spring, because: tarantulas…), but my first attempt at finding available campgrounds was an exercise in frustration. Based on yours and others suggestions, I looked at Lost Dutchman and Catalina, and both seemed to be fairly well booked up already – at least for lengthier (10 day to 2 week) stays. I know I need to spend some more time looking, but it was awfully discouraging the first time I looked at it. Seems like as many people head to southern Arizona as Florida…. Boo. I want 70 degrees!!!!!

    • Tarantulas? I’ve never seen one in Arizona. We did have the occasional encounter in our yard back in southern Colorado and we had one at our campsite last September at the Lake Pueblo State Park, CO. She was fascinating to watch.
      If you don’t mind dry camping, Lost Dutchman has a lovely overflow loop. The regional parks also have overflow dry parking. Feel free to email me with questions. I’ve noticed an increase in RVing over the last four years and the need for reservations. Unfortunately, it’s taken the spontaneity out of the lifestyle.

  21. Glad you were able to stay long enough to see the saguaro bloom. You have some lovely photos of the blossoms. Thanks for sharing since I still haven’t seen the saguaro bloom yet…one day!! We love Prescott. Can’t wait to see all you find. Where are you staying?

    • Because of the kids, we usually stay in Phoenix long enough to enjoy the blooming cacti 😉 but once those temps hit 100, it’s time to move on. We’re at the Fairgrounds RV Park in Prescott Valley. We really like our site this time (much better than last years). It’s not necessarily the greatest park, but we’re able to stay all summer and get a real feel for the area.

      • I was wondering if you were there again. We’ll have to try that next time. Point of Rocks is such a dust bowl. We’ve never stayed anywhere with the amount of dust we had there. Take some photos and include them in one of your posts if you would. Have a great time!!

        • We really like our site this time. The last two days were crazy windy. I would not have wanted to be at that Granite Dells location even though it’s much more picturesque. It isn’t that inconvenient to get to the trails from the fairgrounds. I will definitely share photos of our site.

  22. You have certainly captured the beauty of this area with your lens!!! We have never been to the southwest….don’t laugh, but we plan to visit very soon.
    Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!

    • Arizona is a wealth of diversity. In the fall, you can expect beautiful 80 degree weather in Phoenix while places like Show Low and the Grand Canyon will be as much as 30 degrees cooler. It’s all about elevation. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. And since we travel regularly between Corpus Christi TX and Phoenix AZ, I can certainly make some recommendations regarding TX, NM and AZ.

  23. Beautiful photos! I can see why you love hiking there…what gorgeous scenery. And yes, I would definitely like to see a post on your chili hamburger. Looks perfect and just in time for Cinco de Mayo! 🙂

    • Thank you. I do enjoy my time in the desert even when it gets a tad warm. Looks like I’ll be working on a post to share that burger recipe. It’s become a fave with my husband.

  24. Happy Cinco de Mayo – I would love your green chili burger recipe. I love the desert pricklies and all and you captured it beautifully. Enjoy Prescott, we are spending the next few days at Bob Scott near Austin, NV. There is still snow on the mountain across from us.

    • I do love hanging in the valley long enough to see all the cactus blooming. They produce the most amazing flowers – worth the possible snake encounter. I’ll email you the recipe. Enjoy your travels north.

    • We went to the Grand Canyon yesterday to scope out the national forest. Lots of free camping off Forest Road 688 and 302 in tall pines. Absolutely beautiful. The only way I’d enjoy 105 is with a boat/wave runner. We used to live in Pueblo West, CO which was also developed by McCulloch and the street names are very similar to LHC as is the weather. We lived on Lake Pueblo when the temps soared.

  25. Happy Cinco de Mayo! We didn’t do anything Mexican here, since the in-laws are not fond of spicy food or margaritas, preferring their martinis, but we had a nice shrimp and pasta dinner nevertheless. I can’t believe it is that hot already where you are. Very jealous. We seem to follow the rain and chilly temps wherever we go, these days. Anyway, beautiful photos and incredible hiking opportunities. I remember once picking up a cactus piece like the one near your shoe. It was in Venzuela and the needles attached themselves to my thigh. Not much fun!

    • Oh yes, the cactus needles do know how to attach themselves. Years ago my poor dog looked like he had acupuncture. It was quite the ordeal removing each needle with kitchen tongs.
      I’m hoping one day you guys find a house sit in the Phoenix Valley. I would think Scottsdale or Cave Creek would have plenty of need for dog or horse sitters. I think you guys would really enjoy the weather, hiking, and abundance of activities. Hope you stay warm and dry!

    • We’ll be spending the summer here to get a real feel for the area. What’s nice is we’re only a one hour and 15 minute drive into the valley to visit with the kids. Plus if there’s a medical issue, we’re not too far away from our dr’s. Even though I need to watch out for snakes, I enjoy staying in the desert long enough to see all the unique cactus blooming. Cactus produce the most elegant blooms.

  26. We’ve seen two rattlers on our way across Arizona…and one of them slithered across the paved path at the Desert Museum. Yikes! As Midwestern natives, we never fully understood the beauty of the desert…until we saw it firsthand. The Sonoran desert beats them all, in my opinion…but they definitely are all beautiful, Ingrid. Great post!

    • You really should try and revisit a little earlier in the year like in March when the desert is in full bloom. It’s stunning and so unexpected. As much as I love the lushness of the Midwest, I have a respect and admiration for the vegetation that thrives in such harsh desert conditions. So glad you finely made it west and got to experience the beauty first hand.

  27. Trade-offs! A friend has a winter place in Arizona and says it’s a trade off in terms of putting up with snakes, tarantulas and Javelinas (think those are pigs?) for the wonder of the place. They usually leave for Missouri about the time the snakes come out. He told me the fines are hefty for even disturbing the snakes or killing one. The worst he found was a 7′ rattler that had an attitude. I’m not sure what temperature those suckers come out but whatever temp that is will be warm enough for me to move out.

    Still find it amazing how you fulltimers become accustomed to the snakes and alligators. Also, do you have to have your dog trained to avoid the rattlers? Wonder what the chances are one would climb up a trailer wheels or jack?

    Nice Meral shoes by the way! That’s a fantastic shoe. Not being critical, but there is a better way to lace them at the top that holds your heal back in the shoe. Hard to explain but here is a link:


    Go down the page to the technique called “Heal Slipping”. A school gym teacher, working in the summer selling shoes, showed me it. Basically it has to do with threading the lace through a loop at the top of the shoe.

    • There is some dog training to teach dogs to stay away from rattle snakes but it’s no guarantee plus the dog may not even see the snake. When we lived in Colorado, we parked the RV on the side of the house and we did have a snake more than once wrap itself around our slide rails. The little snakes always have more attitude than the big long ones. Critters are all part of the adventure and should be treated as a neighbor. I may not want to cuddle a javalina or tarantula, but I do enjoy watching them. Our biggest problem when boondocking has been mice. As long as the critters remain outside of the RV, we get along. Once they enter ….. well let’s just say, “Colorado Castle Doctrine” 😄
      Thanks for the info on the laces – interesting. Love my Merrells and couldn’t hike without them.

          • We follow the Castle Doctrine here in Missouri as well. I’ve worked four cases myself as a detective. Some refer to it as the “Make my Day Law”. One of the four cases was a fatality. All homeowners were quickly cleared of charges. I went ahead a Googled Colorado’s which looks about the same as Missouri. In one case I worked the elderly homeowner shot one of two burglaries in the butt. The crooks were dressed in Zoot suits (like the 1920’s) with masks. The old guy was ordered to go to his bedroom and get his money. He came back with a handgun and shot one of them. They ran outside and across the yard of the farm home with the old guy firing more shots. The crooks were not looking where they were running and ran into his septic pond. They went in the pond so far that they had to swim to the other side, climb out and keep running. We found their stained clothing piled next to a nearby road. Tracked them down by watching local Walmart video for idiots buying Zoot suit Halloween costumes, mask and gloves. Was surprised the one that had been shot did not develop an infection.

            • Ah, I figured you’d be well versed in the doctrine. I did not know Missouri also adapted the ‘make my day’ law. Funny story – thanks for sharing.

      • Oh poor baby! I saw on the internet some poor coyote pup covered in chollas. Mama coyote watched while a good Samaritan helped the poor creature. It was fine afterward – nice happy ending!

  28. Saw the jumping Chollo spikey ball photo. Those things are nasty! Enjoy northern Arizona. The spring flowers there are so gorgeous. Here in Colorado we finally can have dinner on the deck and wear summery clothes. At least this week. Yay Bingo Burger!! Love those green chili burgers. Especially with a margarita. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    • Those teddy bear chollas are anything but cuddly lol. Love those mountain wildflowers. This will be my first summer in over twenty years that I won’t spend any time in Colorado ☹ I’m not sure how I feel about that. Hopefully I’ll enjoy northern AZ, if not, I may yet find myself back in CO.

    • Because of my children, I doubt we’ll RV to the east coast and because of those adorable grand boys, it might be difficult for you to travel to the west. Thus, I’ll try and provide you with plenty of photos for your southwest enjoyment 😉

      • Thanks!!!! We were so excited when our daughter and son in law considered job transfers to Dallas.We were so there with them! But it fell through. we will get out there one day….even if just for six months, we’re gonna make it! Between you and Oh The Places They Go, our appetites are wetted!!!

    • I’m hoping to finally hike totally around Watson Lake this year. Past attempts were always curtailed by either time or weather. Love that place!

  29. Yep….One must never take that desert for granted…danger looms when you least expect it! Happy Cinco De Mayo to you too…Yes, I would love that recipe..I am having myself a Margarita myself right now! Safe travels!

    • Respect for the elements is always foremost, huh! Between the cactus, snakes, scorpions, heat, and rugged terrain there’s always something to think about. That’s why some days it best to stay around camp enjoying a great meal, tasty beverage, and lovely sunset 😉

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