Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Desert Trip (2): Saguaro National Park

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

A barrel

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.


Marilyn & Jeff said...

Thanks, i have loved seeing this part of your world, so completely different to any area in NZ. My husband has a great love of cacti so he would enjoy visiting this park. Great photos as always.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Wonderful have such a great eye for taking wonderful pictures.(-:

JoZart Designs said...

Fabulous photos ... an excellent travelogue and even the poo, (oops should I say droppings?) is a work of art! You certainly know how to select your image.
JoZarty x
PS the superlambananas derived from a Japanese artist to show the dangers of genetic engineering. He selected lambs and bananas as they were main trade items of the Port of Liverpool. The original was so popular that they made hundreds as a community art project for Capital of Culture year.

Cynthia Schelzig said...

Great shots....I love cacti!!!

Sheila Dalgleish said...

Ah, I loved this place when we visited a few years ago. We were there in September, and ti was so hot that we could only bear to visit one of the two parks. I have always regretted not going to the other one. I shall just need to return....winter is obviously easier! I love all your wonderful photos.

Darla said...

Wonderful photos. Do I spy the beginning of next years calendar?


windrock studio said...

Hey Carola, once again we have some common loves. Tucson and the beautiful landscape have held a place in our hearts for many years, we have two little grandgirls growing up there. It has always seemed like such a peaceful place which makes the sad events that have happened there a couple of days ago such a shock.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos.

soraya nulliah said...

Dear Carola-beautiful sombre pics...I wanted to let you know that I am still thinking of Katie...her story has touched me...and things like this really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? In light of the senseless violence in Tuscon this weekend...i just have to count my blessings that my loved ones are safe. love to you and

gma said...

Fantastic photographs. isn't the desert alive with beauty? Enjoy!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Die Fotos sind wirklich beeindruckend.