Sunset over the desert

There are few things on Earth that are more stunning than a colorful sunset view of the Sonoran Desert. This image was taken west of Tucson, Arizona.

 

Dominating the desert

The awesome and iconic Saguaro cactus is truly the dominant feature of the Sonoran Desert in the Southwest. The Saguaro has become the symbol of all things desert. The towering cacti live to be 250 years old and older. They don’t start to grow their “arms” until they are at least 75 years old!

 

 

 

 

 

The Saguaro National Park has two sections on either side of Tucson, Arizona.¬† Both sections offer unbelievable opportunities to enjoy the magnificent and thriving desert environments. Walking trails and scenic roads give ample opportunities to get up close and personal with the Saguaro and countless other species of desert plants. A trip to the Saguaro National Park should be on everyone’s travel itinerary. We’ll be back to Tucson and the desert once our travel is possible.

Saguaro National Park in Arizona

Sher and I are not traveling now due to coronavirus, so we thought we’d share some of our BC pictures with you. (BC = before COVID-19)

One of my favorite places on Earth is the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. This photo was taken in the Western Mountain District a few minutes before sunset. The stunning landscape is dotted with the magnificent saguaro cacti.

Sunset over the Sonoran desert

We took a drive to the Tucson Mountain District of the Saguaro National Park one evening. It was a visual delight to watch the desert turn from the bright sunlight of the day into the subdued lighting of dusk followed by yet another night.

One by one the cacti lose the sun's warmth

One by one the cacti lose the sun’s warmth

Shadows begin to lengthen

Shadows begin to lengthen

A beautiful blaze of the day's last light

A beautiful blaze of the day’s last light

Dusk arrives

Dusk arrives

The magnificent Saguaro cactus of the Sonoran Desert

IMG_3777The Saguaro National Park is unique in that it is actually in two different parts: The Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District. One section is west of Tucson, the other is east of town. First designated as a National Monument in 1933, the monument was officially made a National Park in 1994.

Sher and I went to the Rincon Mountain District one afternoon when we were checking out some antique and art stores on the far est side of Tucson. We stopped at the Visitor Center to pick up some information brochures and a map of the park. We did not have to pay the entrance fee because we have the America the Beautiful Senior Pass.

Fish hook barrel cactus

Fish hook barrel cactus

The beauty of the desert

The beauty of the desert

The scenic loop drive is an 8 mile one way paved road that winds through a portion of the huge park. This will give you an up close view of the amazing cacti and other plants that populate the remarkable desert environment. You cant help but feel a connection to the marvels of the desert as you take this drive. There are many pulloffs and some “scenic” views. Get out, smell the air and take a little walk.

One thing that stood out to us was the individuality of each of the Saguaro catcti. The younger ones had a simple stalk. The Saguaro doesn’t start to grow the iconic “arms” until it is over 6 feet tall and at least 60 to 75 years old. Those old timers with several arms are in the 150 + age group!

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