Phoenix Rising in the Winter
As winter falls over the Valley of the Sun the mountains, having been burnt and rendered lifeless over the summer, awake from their ashes and blossom with plants and animals small and large, truly earning the namesake of the Phoenix. The softness of life creeps out from between glassy boulders and death-dry dirt to bask in the mild embrace of rains and a benevolent sun, carpeting the harsh stone in a cry of triumph to the desert, a cry for the tenacity of life.
With the winter also comes one of my favorite hikes, a long winding loop which climbs near hills and far mountains, visiting areas both popular and secretive while the park is at its most beautiful. This is the third year I’ve taken the hike, and unfortunately the third time I’ve had to turn back from its ultimate summit, not for lack of trying, but for sheer danger of the trail. The rock of the mountains is fickle; some prominences are strong and old as the earth while some slopes are in a continuous state of tumbling decay. The trail I follow leads up one such slope, and until such time as it settles again it may yet keep me away from the summit. Despite this there is plenty to be seen and tried along the path, places to explore, hidden vistas to enjoy, hints of pathways to follow, making it a contender for my most colorful, varied hike of the year.
The number of images is not especially large, and so widely-spaced that I’ve foregone the usual piece-by-piece commentary, but I feel that they work together to tell their own story. Browse through, check the linked gallery for the couple not in this post, and most of all, enjoy this small look into wintertime Phoenix!