08 September 2010

Saguaro National Park

Life in the desert is intense, you feel it the moment you step out of your air conditioned vehicle. It feels like someone has a hair dryer continually blowing in your face. I am certain the combination of sun deprivation this summer and knowing we can retreat to our cooler climate in just a few days makes it not only bearable, but desirable. As everyone stay hidden in their climate controlled homes, we braved the 107 degree weather for a five mile hike/walk. The elevation gain was negligible, but the vistas were breathtaking nonetheless.

The barrel cactus with its beautiful orange flowers.

The heat, the red rock, the cacti and not a sole in sight.....I was in heaven.

These look like two squabbling siblings, shoving each other.

Each cacti exudes a certain personality depending on the positioning of its "arms" as I like to call them. Cacti are fascinating specimens and after just a few tidbits I learned, I like them even more. Did you know........
1. Cacti have very shallow roots, most only three inches deep, but during a heavy rainstorm can soak up 200 gallons of water, enough to last an entire year.
2. Cacti have a wood rib structure encased in a fleshy skin and then a waxy surface.
3. Cacti are fairly resistant and are able to self heal.
4. It takes approximately 75 years or more before cacti acquire their "arms" which start out as little balls.
5. The Saguaro cactus in particular are known to be gigantic cacti, most living around 200 years.
6. The Saguaro National Park is the largest grouping of saguaros anywhere in the world.

Hiking up dry river beds seems to be a trend lately.

Cacti are fanciful, delightful creatures.

Cacti can reach mammoth sizes of several hundred feet and weighing in at 16,000 lbs.

The puffy white clouds were magnified by the brilliant blue sky. We get a lot of great clouds in the Northwest, but these clouds appeared painted in the sky.

This was our very first time seeing a Jack Rabbit in person. Surprisingly they were not phased as I crept closer and closer for a great shot. Their ears are enormous and are what allow them to keep cool in this climate.

The wood ribs of a dead cactus.

If you like to escape crowds, don't mind the heat and prefer to be alone head to Saguaro National Park and prepare yourself to be in awe of your surroundings.

No comments: