Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Drive and Walk among the Saguaro in the Sonoran Desert

Location: Pima County Fairgrounds (El. 3,100 ft); Tucson, Arizona

(click pictures to enlarge)

I toured the Saguaro National Park today. Saguaro is pronounced (sa-WAH-row) and they mainly grow only in this area of Arizona. For some reason this cactus has come to represent the west, specifically, the old west.
One of the main symbols of the old west? 
Sanguaro's can live to be over 150 years of age. The one in the picture above is close to that age because it has many arms. The arms first appear between 60 and 75 years of age. The park is full of all sorts of other desert plants. There is an 8 mile driving tour with several places where you can stop and walk into the desert. I took one of those walks to an old homestead place. I can not understand why someone would homestead such a barren place unless they were looking for solitude. 

The jury is still out whether I like the desert or not. It is said you either love or hate the desert. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being "love the desert" and 1 being "hate the desert", I guess I'm about a 3 or 4. This is one of the things I was curious about finding out about myself when I was thinking about visiting the desert several years ago. I guess I'll know soon if I will be spending more time in the desert or passing through quickly. 

The Saguaro National Park Visitors Center. I toured a little museum inside and bought a couple post cards.

A few Saguaro standing proud

This one had the most arms of any that I saw. It was on the right side of the road and I wasn't able to stop so I snapped this quickly

Notice the holes in the Saguaro near the top. Those are bird nests.

A field of Saguaro

When the Saguaro die, they lose their "skin" and what is left is their wood-like ribs. It will take a few years but eventually, it will fall over and deteriorate.

Entrance to the Homestead "walk". It was about a mile walk, round trip.

The typical desert landscape along the walking trail.

This the mountains to the south of the campground. The setting sun wasn't too pretty, but the reflections on the southern mountains made them appear almost artificial. It was as those they were painted on a giant canvas. It was pretty and interesting. I'll be looking for more of this in the future, not only here but elsewhere as I pass through this desert terrain.
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

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