A Desert in Bloom
As seen in cinematic epics like Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars and Sahara, deserts are great washes of sand - barren, desolate and breathtakingly beige. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North situates itself in the Sonoran Desert, a life-filled setting that could never stand in as a double for any other desert outside the Southwest - or off this planet. It’s unfortunate for filmmaking crews seeking 4-star accommodations in bleak locales, but wonderful for you.
Within the Sonoran, you know you’re in a place like no other. Vivid green, multi-trunk Palo Verde trees are not alone in punctuating the desert with colour. Accompanying them are towering saguaro cacti that scrape the sky with myriad arms. Their creamy white blossoms are the Arizona state flower - time your visit well, for they only bloom in May, and they only open at night.
Replete with coyotes, roadrunners, cottontail bunnies, precariously perched boulders that defy gravity and the aforementioned saguaro, this is the landscape that inspired hours and hours of Bugs Bunny cartoons. Gorgeous scenery stretches out in all directions, including up. The Resort itself nestles in the cooling foothills of boulder-strewn Pinnacle Peak, which soars 1,300 feet (396.2 metres) above the desert floor. Considered a moderate trail by the Sierra Club, Pinnacle Peak presents a two-hour-long full hike. While far-reaching, glorious views are to be enjoyed, savour up-close the luscious, yet surreal landscape of the Sonoran.
Look for leaning towers of cacti, some of which reach over four feet tall. They are called Compass Barrels for they all lean towards the southwest - welcome news for hikers who’ve lost their bearings. But watch out for the Teddy Bear Cholla. Despite their cuddly moniker, they attack. Well, not really. The joints of these cacti break easily, and it does look like they’re jumping on you.
Adding pop to the landscape are the red tubular-shaped flowers of the Chuparosa, and other wildflowers in assorted hues (between mid-February to mid-April). Fairy Duster spikes with red, while Filaree adds blossoms of purple. Fields of Mexican Gold Poppy widen the spectrum of colours further.
Near the resort, Desert Ironwood trees - which showcase beautiful lavender flowers in the spring - live up to several hundred years. Outliving all desert flora, however, are Creosote shrubs, which can live for several thousands years. Evidence shows that creosote have been around for millions of years. Did these fragrant shrubs provide sustenance for the 25-foot (7.6-metre) tall herbivorous Sonorasurus, which roamed these parts 100 million years ago?
Speaking of sustenance, listen to the Concierge staff when they insist you take an extra bottle of water with you on your desert exploration - even on cool, sunrise-morning hikes. The air can be dehydrating. Be sure to ask for a complimentary map, too. Then return and celebrate with drinks at Onyx Bar & Lounge, which delights with a bar top custom-made from a Sonoran Desert mesquite tree. It'll be a welcome return to pampering and luxury, after a day in the rugged - but unforgettable - Sonoran.