When you think of the stereotypical plant found in deserts, the saguaro cactus probably comes to mind. This fascinating sentinel of the desert is easy to anthropomorphize with its arms reaching toward the sky. Locals dress them up like angels at Christmas time. Actually the area where this plant grows is rather small and here in Tucson where we are surrounded by them, we are near the northern end of their territory. A particularly lush gathering of these plants is set aside as national park
here in two sections on the eastern and western side of Tucson.
We enjoyed some ranger led hikes in the park last time we were here and stopped by today to see if any were available this year. We had especially fond memories of a moonlight hike, something we probably wouldn't try by ourselves in unfamiliar territory, but the menu of available hikes was shorter than we remembered. Funds for the national parks have been cut repeatedly and it's hard to keep up with all the demands the public puts on these special places.
So we wandered on our own, enjoying these special plants and their knotted limbs. We wondered what caused them to grow in such different directions. For some questions rangers are far better than google. It would be fun to see the saguaro blooming and their seed filled fruits that indigenous people harvested for their sweet taste. Bu to do so we would have to stay here until late Mary/early June when the temperature gets unbearable and the monsoon rains come.