Spruce Mountain, Arizona, USA by Jonathan Cook

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I am continually impressed by the diversity of landscapes in Arizona and how much more there is to the state than the desert and saguaros for which it is most famous. An excellent example is the small city of Prescott nestled into a national forest of the same name in the mountains of central Arizona. Not quite high enough for skiing, hiking is the predominant outdoor activity residents and visitors have embraced wholeheartedly.

The network of trails is vast with some starting directly from town and many others easily accessible via a 10-15 minute drive in pretty much any direction. The forest is dominated by pines and firs, which really come alive in the winter when storms bring snow to the higher elevations. This shot is from the summit of Spruce Mountain off the Groom Creek Loop looking out across the pristine forest to the dry desert mountains and basins beyond.

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