After having left Palm Desert our next destination was Tucson, AZ and the Saguaro National Park - our third visit to this area. Those saguaros are kind of a landmark for deserts, but you actually only find them in the Sonoran Desert. They are very impressive plants and give home to a variety of birds and little critters.
The National Park has two parts - one in the Tucson Mountains to the west, and one in the Rincon Mountains to the east of Tucson. I never can decide which one I like better - the Rincon one has a beautiful scenic loop with gorgeous views whereas the Western part is rougher with dust roads. In the Tucson Mountains you also find the fabulous Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum which is such a jewel (that will be a separate post though).
We visited both parts, one in the afternoon and one in the morning of the following day. The light was difficult on both days and quite a challenge for taking photos. However, I hope you enjoy this peek into this special desert.
Mesquite trees protect and shelter young saguaros
A mesquite tree up close
I love to take pictures while lying flat on my belly or at least kneeling down to get a different perspective. However, that doesn't work in the Sonoran Desert - I only knelled down once, ouch!!! Stupid me! So I just held the camera down to the ground and shot away "blind" - not too bad, eh?
A dead saguaro
Some prickly pears look like they have teeth
There are several kinds of cholla in the park. This one is a teddybear cholla.
This one houses a bird's nest.
Chollas in all kinds of colors...
A dying cholla...
... and the remains of one.
And another cholla!
Now what is this? After we consulted the Track and Scat Guide we knew it wasn't coyote but javelinas. They are found all over the area.
This photo and the top one were taken in the Rincon Mountains part (the other ones all over the place). The overcast sky gave the mountains this purple color and it almost looks as if a thunderstorm was coming up. However, there was no storm, but I like the somber mood of this picture.