Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park covers 91,327 acres on the east and west sides of Tucson.We have taken two great hikes in the park this week.
First we hiked four and one-half miles round trip on the King Canyon trail in the western part of the park. We left our car in the parking lot of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, located in the Tucson Mountain County Park, just outside of Saguaro. It was a pretty hike with some uphill sections. We got a good work out on our first hike of the season. We were on the trail by 9 am and by 10 there were many hikers out. The landscape is open desert with only some cacti.

Yesterday we hiked three miles on the Loma VerdePink Hill-Squeeze Pen trail through the Cactus Forest in the eastern section of Saguaro. We truly felt we were in a forest--though not like any we have been in before. Saguaro, Prickly Pear and Cholla cactus plants were everywhere. The trees and shrubs are beginning to turn green, but the cactus and other wildflowers have not begun to bloom. We are so glad we are here at this time of year to see spring come.

I tried to take pictures of the biggest Saguaro with the most arms.
I finally decided showing lots of them would be better.

We realized that the skeleton of the Saguaro is made up of thin ribs. Here is a dead cactus that looks like it is wearing a shawl--really it is some of the covering that has not rotted away yet. The dead ones kind of reminded us of Kansas scarecrows without clothes.

This photos gives you an idea of what the forest looks like.

The ability to come live in places like this for a while, places that are so different from where we have lived for years, is one of the real benefits of our life style.

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1 comment:

  1. It is very interesting looking. I have never been to a desert. Forests I am used to are boreal.