Meeting the Desert in Arizona

Before moving to Arizona in 2009, I had only briefly been in desert conditions, a few winter days in the Negev that included the view from Masada towards the Dead Sea, all dunes and crags and distance. Driving south from Phoenix for the first time, I was confused – I looked for sand but saw scrub. From the highway, I was looking at a landscape full of plants. The trip could be made in two hours and I was told that crossing points in Nogales were only an hour further. The temperature dropped as we rose in elevation.