Wandering the trails of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Someone please please please tell me why I decided to go hiking in black sweatpants and a black shirt during an Arizona summer! What was I thinking?


This particular trip was weeks in the making, but never quite got off the ground due to weather, travel, and sleeping schedule issues. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Musuem is mostly outside, and during the height of summer the temperatures can quickly rise to 90F degrees before 10 am. In terms of travel the museum easily qualifies for a half day trip, and I knew I would want to be up and out of the door by 6 am to get to the museum by opening hours, and avoid as much of the relentless summer sun as possible.

I said all this just to say, I didn’t follow my original plan at all. At first the day started off well. I woke up at 5 am, dressed, ate breakfast, and everything was great until I stepped outside my front door. I looked up and the sky was covered in large gray puffy clouds that looked like they would burst any second. Monsoon season was just around the corner and I didn’t want to get stuck driving in heavy rain. So I decided to stay home and spent the rest of the morning painting and working on design projects.



By early afternoon I began to hear birds singing outside my window. That’s when I knew that the rain wouldn’t come. After a short burst of anger for being tricked by the cloudy skies (I know getting angry at the weather is ridiculous) I grabbed my camera, backpack, phone, and wallet and set off for the museum (about a 1 hour 45 minute drive from my home). After navigating the state highway and winding one lane roads I finally made it to my destination. I paid my fee, grabbed a free map, and began walking around.

The Desert musuem is gorgeous and in addition to the walking trails, there’s a tiny aquarium, a humming bird, and bird sanctuary, gift shop, and a sort of zoo setup that features local Arizona animals. ( I didn’t see very many animals, they were hidden away in the shaded areas of their homes.) I really enjoyed all the shades of the green cacti contrasted against the blue skies, and learning about different plants native to Arizona.



The black sweats and t-shirt I wore were comfortable at home, but on the walking trails… not. so. much. (the temperature was at least 95 F) Within minutes of leaving my air conditioned car I began to sweat. It wasn’t a cute sweat where your skin glistens. Nope, there was nothing cute about it. It was the kind of sweat where it dries to salt, leaving a white residue that makes your skin look ashy and your shirt sticks to your back. Going indoors to the aquarium and gift shop provided some relief, but they weren’t places I could stay for long. I had to suck it up and venture outside. So I kept going, and kept snapping pictures of the cacti, and anything interesting on the trails. I smiled at wild lizards, and wearily watched the rain clouds begin to pour and flash lighting miles away. For a moment I panicked and thought the rain would head in my direction, but it never did. Never the less I tried to make my way towards the museum entrance, but I kept getting lost on trails. The free map I had with me wasn’t much help. A lot of the trails were closed off, and I had a difficult time reading the small type and figuring out where to go. After hours of wandering around I finally made it back to the entrance. I found my car, turned the AC on full blast and began to drive the winding roads back to home.

It was too hot to fully explore everything the museum had to offer, so I would love to visit again during the fall or winter. Besides the heat it was a relaxing trip.


There are so many different types of cacti


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