When we moved from New Jersey to Arizona almost twenty-eight years ago, my biggest surprise was that it’s not sandy, brown, or dead. The desert is alive, with vibrant greens and pops of vivid color in the spring.
When my brother visited from New Jersey in March, I wanted him to experience the desert in all its glory. What better way to see it than from a boat?
Wait–a boat in the desert?
The Salt River (Rio Salado) runs right through Phoenix. You’d never know it, though, because there’s rarely any water in it. Why?
Because in the mountains way east of Phoenix, dams were built to create four reservoirs: Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro Lakes. These reservoirs keep the greater Phoenix area well supplied with H2O. They are also recreational meccas for kayaking, camping, and fishing enthusiasts.
We hopped aboard the Desert Belle, a double deck cruise boat, for a 90-minute guided tour of the lake. Rimmed with breathtaking rock formations, the lake coaxed more than 150 shots from my camera. Here are some of the best.
How is it possible for cacti and bushes to grow straight from the rock?
See the vertical gray line? When it rains, there’s a waterfall there.
Can you find Elephant Rock?
The saguaro cactus grows only in Arizona.
You don’t often see cactus and marsh plants in the same picture.
See the two big horn sheep above? Near top center.
Four Peaks in the distance.
This formation is called Teenager Cliff, because of the wildlife that congregates and jumps off from there.
My brother Bill aboard the Desert Belle.
Photographs ©by Andrea R Huelsenbeck.