Thursday and Friday, January 2-3, 2020—A New Year; Saguaro National Park

Thank goodness for a new year. The last couple have proved quite challenging.

Golf was on the agenda for New Year’s Eve, played on Palm Creek’s 18 hole executive course (we only played 9 holes). The evening was spent visiting with Steve and Mary Seitz, also of Hot Springs Village. Internet was installed on New Year Day, allowing us to be fully “connected”. I have been spending most waking hours “cleaning” up Lightroom (photo editing software) and the thousands of photos stored on the computer’s hard drive and 3 external drives—what a mess! Today, January 2, Kay and I played golf (Kay played 9 holes and I played 18) after which Kay had a group pickle ball lesson.  Palm Creek is widely recognized as a pickle ball haven; the 32 courts have a constant waiting list. If I can ever get sleep patterns organized, desert sunrises and sunsets want to be photographed. More to come.

High on our list of things to do this winter was a visit to Saguaro NP near Tucson. The national park, 92,000 acres, consists of two separate areas: the Tucson Mountain District about 10 miles west of Tucson and the Rincon Mountain District about 10 miles east of Tucson. Its purpose is to preserve Sonoran Desert landscapes, fauna, and flora, including the giant saguaro cactus which only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert.

Upon entering the Tucson Mountain District area of the park, one’s breath is almost taken away upon seeing the giant saguaros everywhere, even stretching to the horizon, surrounded by other varieties of cacti and desert vegetation. Virtually every color was represented.

Driving east, the Rincon Mountains loomed on the horizon. The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro NP was the initial protected area, designated as such by President Herbert Hoover. Here, the cacti are larger, i.e.  more rotund, because of more rainfall in the area. Again, saguaro and other cacti grew as far as the eye could see, even up the mountain side. Occasionally a bird would dart among the tops of the tall cacti—our target bird was the Gila Woodpecker, and one posed briefly along one of the trails.

A brief visit to a very crowded Costco in Tucson preceded the hour drive back to Palm Creek.

Entrance to the East Unit
Short, but captivating trail in West Unit
A variety of cacti were represented
Cacti had just begun blooming

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