23 February 2014

In Our Own Backyard!

23 Feb 2014--I think stated when we 1st got here that our RV Park backs up right into the Tuscon State Park and the Saguaro National Park.  Cathy and I spent 4 days or so of our 2 weeks here just hiking and biking this area, so this is a compilation of those days.

After working out one day, we hopped on our bikes and rode around a while checking out the trails. It can be tricky out there; as you bike through the different cactus they can hurt you.  haha  I would rather fall on  the rocks than into any of these plants.  A guy we met in the National Park said, "everything in the desert will either stick you or you kill you"...haha.

The ultimate goal of this 5 mile hike was to find the multi-armed Saguaro seen in pic #2 here.

Can't remember if I said it before, so I will say it here.  The Saguaro can live as long as 200 years and grow as tall as a 4 story building.  It generally doesn't sprout any flowers until it is about 8 ft tall and 40 years old, and only after about 75 yrs of existence might it sprout some arms.  Cool, huh?

My favorite cactus, the Chain Fruit Cholla, is here in abundance.  Who would have thought cactus could be so pretty?

Here is a dying Saguaro.  Looks like some type of totem pole to me.  And 2 graves...on the map it said some guy's name and "shep"...I assume his dog?

These are pics of Saguaro National Park.

Pictures of some cactus in bloom in a glass-enclosed case.

Pictures of some blooming I took out on the trail.  In the 2nd pic you can see I caught a bee in mid-flight.

So we are in the Sonoran Desert, one of  four in North America.  I didn't know it till I saw the map, but by the end of this trip Cathy and I will have spent some time in all four.  When we were in Big Bend National Park last year we were in the Chihuahuan Desert; when we go to Death Valley National Park in about a month we will be in the Great Basin Desert;  I am pretty sure that Joshua Tree National Park that we will be going to after that is in the Mojave Desert.


Yesterday we took our final bike ride out back, on a trail we hadn't taken before, and got a little lost.  I thought we would be going maybe 7 miles round trip...ended up 11 miles, and some of it was tricky. haha

As I said before, you have to be careful on the trails that you don't get stuck by the cactus, but even worse than that are the spots where you have to traverse a washed out area, where the sand/pebbles are thick and cause you to "fishtail" out of control.  There were lots of spots I just got off the bike and walked (reminded me of my mother when she, Brian and I biked to Quincy when I was about 12 yrs old.  She rode almost the whole way on the sidewalk and got off to cross the streets...too funny.)

We ended up cutting though a county RV park and passed these people from Colorado making a little music.  Old hippies, maybe?  lol

These cactus look like they are trying to bloom.

The biggest surprise of the trip!  Cathy and I were just riding along, trying to find our way back to the trail to take us home, when lo and behold, about 60 yards away...a coyote!!!  Coming right toward us! He stopped as we stopped, stared at us a moment, and then slowly started walking toward us again. Immediately going through my mind was the fact that it was the middle of the day...you don't usually expect to see them any time before dusk.  I also wondered why he didn't immediately run into the brush?  Was he rabid?  Lastly, I wondered if I could turn around and get of out there before Cathy realized it, putting her between me and the rabid coyote!!!  hahaha  Fortunately, before I had to make a run for it, he turned into the brush and disappeared!!!

Checking the almost useless map to see where we are.

These "dust devils" are constantly popping up in the distance, on what seems like very "unwindy" days. They cause a lot of "smog-like" matter in the air, sometimes almost obliterating the mountains in the distance, but also lead to incredible sundowns, as you can see in the video.

So that's it...we have thoroughly enjoyed being here.  Have even talked about spending a future winter here we liked it so much.  On to Phoenix tomorrow!


  1. Coyotes while you are on bikes, Yikes !! What kind of animal is in the 5th pic at the top??? Biking on those trails? They don't look any easier than the ones you hiked down?? You guys have done a LOT of hiking up and down on tough trails. How do you do it??? Aren't you sore at the end of the day? I admire your sense of adventure and your love of all the beauty this country has to offer.

  2. That was a little chipmunk Marie. Smaller than we would be used to seeing back in New England, and cute as a button!

  3. ok, lots to go over on this one.
    first, the working out, then doing a 5 mile bike ride....
    That multi armed Sauaro was cool looking.
    What is up with the walking sticks?????? I thought you were riding bikes???
    The dying cactus, that looks like a totem pole was really cool looking.
    Who buried the guy and shep out there in the dessert, how long have they been there?
    Can you eat the fruit from the cactus? And when and why would you be riding a bike with Ma to Quincy????
    Some of these pictures are so beautiful, really wish I could see them in person. Great job!!!

    1. 1. This blog was 3 different excursions Ellen, so one day we were walking and 2 days we were riding.
      2. I don't know who buried the guy and dog...no sign telling us and I forgot to ask the RV Park owner.
      3. Yes you can eat the fruit...didn't I post something about the Indians eating it sand make wine, etc.? Thought I did.
      4. When we were young, probably about 12-13 or so, Brian and I used to ride our bikes out there all the time, just to do something. And one time Ma came with us...wouldn't ride in the street so she had to keep getting off the bike to cross the street. And going up over that big bridge really thru her for a loop...too funny! I can't remember whose bike she had, but think it was one of those banana seat ones--haha--would have to ask Brian.