A black-tailed rattlesnake in Arizona, seconds after it tried to bite my leg!
Perhaps my absolute favorite destination within the borders of the United States has been the desert southwest. Any excuse at all and you will see me heading to the deserts! If you totaled all of the days I have spent exploring this part of North America, I would put money that it would add up to nearly a year!
For over seven years I designed and led field classes down to the deserts of California. Generally we would spend a week in Joshua Tree National Monument (it had yet to become a national park when I was teaching there), Mojave Desert Reserve (it had yet to become a national monument…) and Anza Borrego State Park. I loved leading these trips filled with two to three vanloads of interested bio majors! And on the way from northern California, we had at least two full days to explore the California section of the Great Basin Desert as well!
While I did spend many trips exploring these areas with my students, I did have opportunities to experience the parks with my family as well. Som and my first US trip involved camping out in the deserts of the state. I guess I can say Cokie was on these trips too as he was inside her pregnant belly! We had to make a lot of pee-stops on that trip!
I am also including my explorations of Organ Pipes and Saguaro National Parks as well. Although they are a very different desert than the Colorado/Mojave deserts of the California, the Sonoran desert ecosystem of Organ Pipes and Saguaro is absolutely outstanding. I spent one week camping in the wilderness of Organ Pipe in 1999. The rangers would not allow us to camp where I initially wanted due to the extreme presence of drug runners and illegal alien coyotes. But the location they suggested was outstanding as well and allowed for spectacular views of the desert and the drug runners streaming in the US all night long!
Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!
Desert Southwest Landscapes Image Gallery
The below images give a glimpse of some of the flora, fauna and habitats of these wonderful deserts. Enjoy!