A couple of weeks ago, I received an email:
Hi Andrea,It’s me, Textile Ranger! I am going to be in Phoenix the first part of next week, April 8 and 9, staying by North Mountain State Park. I have stayed there before a few years ago, so you when you wrote about hiking at South Mountain, that registered with me. It may be very far from your part of Phoenix to where I will be, but I just wanted to check with you about possibly meeting for lunch or an art museum visit or something on one of those days. If you can’t make it, that is fine, but I didn’t want to come to Phoenix without mentioning it to you.
If you don’t know, Textile Ranger is the blogger behind Deep in the Heart of Textiles. I can’t remember how I stumbled across it, but I love it for the quilts Textile Ranger creates. She’s interested in (and writes about) everything textile, from fibers and dyes to antique clothing. She’s been weaving for decades. (She also has a nature blog, Little Wild Streak.) So, she’s something of a celebrity to me, and I jumped at the chance to meet her in person. And since I’ve been meaning to check out North Mountain Park, I suggested we hike there together before going out to lunch.
We met last Tuesday at the Visitor Center. She gifted me with a nifty water bottle holder that clips on nicely to the shoulder bag I usually carry when I’m hiking. Now I have a free hand!
And off we went. Ranger (she spent two summers as a park ranger at Big Bend) suggested a 2 1/2 mile trail that didn’t have any steep elevations. Perfect for walking and talking.
The huge park has breathtaking desert and mountain views. We had some good rains a few weeks ago, and we’ve been rewarded with lovely wildflowers.
I want to call these buttercups, but I’m not sure that’s what they are:
These flowers remind me of how little children draw flowers, just circles on a stem; I don’t know what they are–
But there was an area that was literally blanketed with them:
And the palo verde trees are just beginning to bloom:
Closeup of a pale verde blossom:
And the cholla cactus has these beautiful magenta blooms:
Back at the visitor’s center, there is a water fountain that dispenses chilled water. Heavenly! And there are beautiful plantings by the building. Don’t know what this bush is:
I think this is a pink globemallow:
Which are the perfect backdrop for another picture of the Textile Ranger:
I am so thrilled that Textile Ranger is not just a virtual friend any more, but a real friend whom I know face to face. We have lots in common. She’s also a former elementary school teacher, and she loves to read. I’m so touched that she reached out to me. Be sure to check out her blogs, Deep in the Heart of Textiles and Little Wild Streak. She’s going to post her take on North Mountain Park on Little Wild Streak today.
North Mountain Park is a place I will explore in more detail in the future.