Desert Hiking – Tucson in January
Tucson in January. Below is a desert pony. This saguaro skeleton really was like a prancing pony. To the right is a healthy young saguaro in front of a Palo Verde (AZ state tree and very green 🙂
Saguaros can grow to 60” tall (although the tallest we saw was probably 20′ and, according to the Sabino guide, the largest was 75′, they can go 3 years without water, they don’t flower until 35 years of age and it takes 75 years for the first arm to grow so they get to be very old.
Rain in the desert is magical and it poured while I was there. Below: The tannins from oaks on Mt. Lemmon cause the water in Sabino canyon to be brown. Next to the water are saguaro reflections in a small lake. Click on any photo (especially the reflections one below and the pony above) to enlarge and click the back button to return to post.
After a hard early-morning hike, I relaxed on a tram ride up Sabino Canyon: canyon waterfall (note the brown water and striated rocks), a VERY little cactus – see the pole tip to the L of it and how the spines look like little fishhooks? I was enchanted by the color of the rocks very near the waterfall.
At the Desert Museum, we were honored to see my cousin’s photographic exhibit. After enjoying Howard’s amazing photographs of Arizona nature, I explored the museum and saw some wonderful creatures including Bighorn sheep, Grosbeak, walking like a duck and a female cardinal.
When hiking in the desert, the locals go early. The morning we blasted up Blackett’s ridge, we hit the trail promptly at 7 a.m. In the summer they start at 5 or 5:30 to beat the heat. The terrain is rocky and steep. I use my poles in the desert and love the long foam grips for when I’m on frequently changing and rocky terrain.
Above is my on-the-go morning shot and a picture Cousin Howard took of me. Morteros – grinding holes – are part of ancient cultures’ kitchens. Finding one in the desert (usually near a stream) is special!