Saguaro National Park

Hello hello, since our last post was focused on caves, we’re going to keep this one above ground and take it back to the week we spent in and around Tucson for a quick look at our visit to Saguaro National Park. The park is split into two sections, one on either side of Tucson. Our visit consisted of a single hike in the west section. We’d love to go back again sometime to hit up the east section and maybe do some backpacking, but on this trip our free time was already packed. 

For our hike we chose a quick 7.5 mile loop up to Wasson Peak, with a windy snack break on top, of course. Matt had given me a running pack/hydration vest for my birthday, which in hindsight we should have tested out here. The trails were so smooth, the switchbacks made the climb a breeze (compared to the nearly straight climbs we’re adjusted to in New England and the Adirondacks), and the loop was short enough we didn’t need to carry much. Oh well, trail running here is just another thing we’re looking forward to on our next visit.

Despite being such an easy loop, this is one of my favorite routes we’ve hiked recently simply because of the cacti. Somewhere along the trail back down to the parking lot we started seeking out the saguaros that seemed to have the most personality. Yes, voices and everything.

We arrived back at the van just in time for a sunset drive on a scenic route out of the park. Vehicles over 35 feet are prohibited on this particular winding, mountain road, and even though we’re well under that I was still thankful Matt was the one driving.

Nissan cargo vans were clearly not designed with a 5’4″ driver in mind, most utility vehicles aren’t. Unfortunately for Matt this means he does most of the driving, especially on roads like this. I didn’t get any pictures farther up the mountain, but shortly after these pictures were taken the road started climbing, circling around the side of a mountain with a sharp drop on one side. Not my cup of tea when I feel child-sized behind the wheel.

Going back to the saguaros, I have two more to show you. Although these ones weren’t in the park, these were two of the more impressive cacti we saw in the area. The one on the left was on a short hike we did after work earlier in the week. That one was the biggest one along any of the trails we hiked. On the right is one I came across while wandering around near our campsite one evening while Matt was still working. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find it again, so I dropped a pin in Google maps and brought Matt to see it later that night. There’s nothing quite like wandering around cacti in the dark with only headlamps and a semi-accurate point on a map.

I wish one of us had stood next to this one for scale
Sometimes aimless wandering pays off

There are only so many pictures to show and stories to tell when we only explored a fraction of the park, so we’ll wrap it up here for now. We have a few national monument visits to show you another time, and I’ll try to get more of a general update post up soon as well.

One thought on “Saguaro National Park

  1. Love the last shot–it’s like one part of the cactus just decided, “I think I’ll look completely different from the rest of the parts of this plant. I’m thinking a kind of floral-y thing…” Maybe someone showed it a Schumacher wallpaper book, and it just kind of went on a little acid trip…
    Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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