Our state nickname is the Grand Canyon State. That makes sense and is sure to attract people. In fact 4.4 million people will tour the Canyon this year. But, there’s plenty of room. The Canyon is immense and no one can do it justice in a day. You can say you “went” but you can’t really say you “saw it.” How big is it? About 2,000 square miles and home to 277 miles of rivers. At some overlooks it’s more than a mile deep. Be there at sunset!
The state flower, the Saguaro (saw-where-oh) Cactus Blossom is attractive, and although it’s attached to a really prickly stalk, it’s often six to fifteen feet above the ground; so few people get cactus needles trying to pick one.
The cactus wren, Arizona’s state bird is chirpy and brave. They’ll happily come into your home if you leave a patio door ajar. They are cute, but for our money, nothing beats a roadrunner.
The state’s tourism folks seem to have taken leave of their senses when they chose the Arizona Ridgenose Rattlesnake as the state’s reptile. We would have voted for the thousands of tiny geckos that flitter around and bother no one.
Lots of famous people are or were Arizonans. Cochise, Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, Stuart Udall, Cesar Chavez, Sandra Day O’Connor, Linda Ronstadt, Zane Grey and Steven Spielberg are just a few. And lots of other people who just came to visit Cave Creek have stayed on permanently.
You can plan on fabulous weather for just about any activity. But, let’s start with some old, bad news: The hottest temperature ever recorded in Arizona was 128 degrees, in Lake Havasu where the elevation is about 1500 feet. That record was set on June 29, 1994.
Now, if you travel to Hawley Lake where the elevation is 8200 feet, it can be another story. On January 7, 1941 you can bet people stayed indoors as the temperature dropped to minus 40 degrees. That’s a 168-degree spread.
Here’s the great news: The average May temperature is 73 degrees and it might rain about 2/10ths of an inch. In May, the average is 82 degrees and about 1/10th of an inch of rain might fall over 30 days.
Bring short sleeves, sandals and sun screen because April and May are beautiful months to visit Full Circle Ranch.
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of America’s most influential architects, and the Cave Creek/Scottsdale area is rich with his designs and the designs of many students who came to this area to apprentice under him. Most guests at the Full Circle Ranch make time to visit Taliesin West.
Taliesin (tally-ee-es-sun) West, in Scottsdale, is certainly Wright’s most visited work. In fact, its construction operated as a school for his acolytes, most of whom acted as unpaid laborers in exchange for access to Wright’s mind. But Taliesin West is just one of many area buildings designed or influenced by him. The Biltmore Fashion Park, the Phoenix Ritz-Carlton Hotel and scores of private area homes were born in Wright’s mind and executed by him or his students.
If Taliesin West is his most famous structure, why is it called Taliesin West? Because it was not the first Taliesin. Indeed the Original Taliesin was constructed in Green Springs, WI in 1911. It came to a horrific end. To learn more about this fascinating, unorthodox man and his unconventional life, we highly recommend Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders, William R. Drennan, Terrace Books. It’s a riveting read that will help you understand the man long before you see his work.