Red Rock Country

Opuntia engelmannii

The southwestern part of the United States is abundant with the Prickly Pear Cactus. This particular image was taken just outside Sedona, Arizona. They grow just about anywhere in the desert and if your not looking you may just trip over them. In Arizona they are used for landscaping, erosion control, in food, syrup, medicinal purposes, you name it just about anything. So in other words folks here in the USA just love this cactus. I hope you do!
Not so in Australia where they despise them and want to eradicate them. They consider them to be a very invasive weed and really do not have anything good to say about the Prickly Pear. What I find extremely interesting is that this hatred goes back to around 1870! In fact the Prickly Pear Destruction Act was passed. Just goes to show you how hardy they are. if you ever do go to Australia I highly recommend you keep your love for the Prickly pear to yourself.

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Arizona Heron

Alligator

Alligator

I walked by this rock formation and it was a second take for me when I first saw it. It looked too much like the back side of an alligator. Fascinating what millions of years of erosion can do to a piece of rock! Below is Wikipedia’s definition of what erosion is and what takes place to make formations like the image below.
“Erosion is the removal of solids (sediment, soil, rock and other particles) in the natural environment. It usually occurs due to transport by wind, water, or ice; by down-slope creep of soil and other material under the force of gravity; or by living organisms, such as burrowing animals, in the case of bioerosion.”

Red Rock

Red Rock

If anyone visiting my blog has been to Arizona you will know where I am referring to and why it’s called Red Rock Country. The environment is awe inspiring and extremely harsh at the same time. If you travel to Arizona pick up info and maps from the US Forest Service, http://www.redrockcountry.org/ so you know where your going and how long you plan on being in a national forest or park. The temperatures are very extreme so hydration is important and finding shade is crucial if needed. Bugs are virtually non existent in Arizona but reptiles are abundant and very interesting if you come across any. Don’t worry about coming face to face with the native inhabitants of the Arizona desert-they usually see you before you even have a chance of spotting them. As far as photo gear is concerned a wide angle is important, good tripod, photo back pack, extra batteries for your DSLR, and more than one memory card. Polarizer, neutral density filters, and graduated filters would also be a good idea but not a necessity. When it comes to clothing the 2 most important items are a hat to protect your head from the sun and good hiking boots. I mentioned the sun-wear sun screen if your just arriving from the Midwest and look like your ancestors came from Norway. You will get burned without even realizing it. Oh one more item-H20! Don’t leave home without any water! You won’t find much in the desert, and if you find any water you will need a portable purification unit which is easily obtainable from http://www.rei.com/, or any other quality camping store.

Hanging On

Hanging On

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