For most of my hike up North Mountain the sky was overcast. I appreciated that more and more as I huffed and puffed up the trail, and wondered what it would be like to do so with the sun beating down relentlessly. As I descended with the aid of gravity and passed this solitary cactus sentinel, however, a patch of blue sky appeared on the western horizon.
All around is the vastness of Phoenix, which stretches out into infinity until its contours are lost in a kind of smudgy haze. North Mountain is a welcome respite from the urban and suburban sprawl.