One of the unifying features of the different deserts in Arizona - the high desert around the Canyon, or the valleys where the iconic Saguaro grow - everything is sharp.   In the high country, volcanic basalt, fragmented into a coarse gravel, can lay your feet open after a few steps. No water flows here to round the edges. Every plant has sharp spines, these mesquite bushes? Thorns three inches long. Stepped on one once; it went straight through the sole of my hiking boot. Yeah, keep up to date on your tetanus shots.   In the valley, the rocks do get smoothed down by the wind. But again the vegetation is vicious. Don't even want to think about what it would be like to fall down a steep hill into a patch of prickly pear and cholla cactus.


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