Thursday, December 20, 2007

12/20/07 A Different Kind of Forest

Bobby and Shelly arrived at our place around 10:45 this morning and we made short order of climbing into the truck for the hour ride to today's destination.

Today we will explore Saguaro National Park also known as Saguaro Forest. First stop was, of course, the visitor's center.

After checking out the gift shop offerings we made our way to the theatre for a short 15 minute film about the park. We took notice of this "Christmas Cactus".

When that was done we went outside for our first real look at the outdoor surroundings. This was view on the backside of the visitor's center.

We were surprised to learn that there is a skeletal wood frame inside of a Saguaro cactus. This one was in a garden on the grounds of the visitor's center. I guess they left it there when it died so that visitors could see what its like.

The saguaro cactus is the state symbol of Arizona, it appears on all vehicle license plates, and provides a universally recognized image of the Southwest. We saw THOUSANDS of them today in all shapes and sizes!

We decided to take the six mile driving tour that had places to pull over so we could walk through the cactus forest.

The first trail we walked was nice and paved and a little less than a mile long. This is MY kind of hiking!

Giant saguaro cacti, unique to the Sonoran Desert, sometimes reach a height of 50 feet in this cactus forest. Did you know that the cactus is about seventy five years old when it starts growing its arms?

Bob walking the trail.

Cacti in all shapes and sizes.

For some reason Bobby just couldn't stop touching the cactus.

It didn't take long before one touched him back!

To give you an idea of how sharp the thorns are on a cactus here are some close up shots.

Now you think he would have learned, huh?

I call this one.....Dead Tree.

Here's one that is just growing its arms or branches.

To give you an idea of just how big these cactus are, here is a picture of Bob and me standing next to one.

We had to laugh when we saw this giant cactus. We figured it must be "depressed" because it certainly looks down in the dumps doesn't it?

We finished this trail and made our way back to the truck to find another one. Some scenes from the truck.

We walked another trail that wasn't paved and hiked up to the rocks where petroglyphics were drawn hundreds of years ago. Personally, I'm very happy we have email nowadays!

After leaving this park we headed towards home and decided on Chinese for dinner. Bob found us a restaurant for us using our GPS and we headed for Lucky Chinese Restaurant. Shelly was very glad to see they served bait,,,oh, excuse me, sushi. I wanted no parts of that but Bob did try some. Oh what an adventurous eater he is! I had my old standby Beef and Broccoli.

After dinner Bobby and Shelly dropped us off and we made plans to get together when they reached their winter destination about an hour away in Mesa.

It was so nice to have this time with them, we enjoy them so much.

1 comment:

Geraldine Young said...

amazing how large the cactus are, never seen anything like it.