Phoenix, Saguaro NP (NP #4), Chiricahua NM – Catch Up (2 of 2)

“February 3rd 2015

 

Last Saturday (1/31/15) I went to the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale. My good buddy Mike encouraged me to go, and when we made it to the grandstands surrounding the 16th hole, I understood why.

 

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Would have been a 3 hour wait in line without some smooth rope limbo negotiations. Don’t worry. We bought the pivot group a round of beer – I’m not a barbarian.

 

On Sunday Mike had a ticket to the Super Bowl. Lucky for me another buddy, this one from Oregon, was in town. Myself, Keegan, and his other friends went to downtown Scottsdale to watch the game. Very exciting finish. The bar we were at went from 75% Seahawks fans to 100% Pats fans in 15 minutes.


 

 

Yesterday I buzzed south to Tuscon and visited Saguaro National Park (map / wiki).

 

It’s funny – I went there expecting a lot of saguaros, but when I crested the first hill that gave me a view down into one of the park’s valleys it was still shocking. The quantity, the density, the color, and the size of some of the individual cacti is something else.

 

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After I had time to explore on foot and examine the variety of plants and cacti it became apparent that just about everything that grows is looking to poke, prick, stick, or stab.

 

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I understand why that park isn’t on the top of everyone’s list, but I encourage you to underestimate it – just so long as you still decide to go because it will only make the unveiling that much more exciting.

 

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The wooden skeletons of the Saguaro (and other cacti) were cool to look at. The living saguaro look soft and squishy all the way through, but in reality they have these woody reeds that are durable, even in death. When the wind blew through them it made a clacking sound.

 

I even got to see both Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner making their rounds.

 

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..and a sunset for good measure.

 

Today I am in Chiricahua National Monument (map / wiki) which is an area dominated by pinnacles of ash sand stone.

 

The rock is splotched with lime green lichen which defines the color palette of the area. It’s nice in the sun and chilly in the shade. The shadows cast by the stone pillars highlight the details in the rock and show how textured everything is.”

 

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The trail I hiked (exiting house right) is about 4 feet wide to give you some sense of scale.

 

I met a fellow traveler out there named Dace (pronounced “Da-Sey”). Latvian by heritage and Chicago resident from 16, she explained that a $29 plane flight into Phoenix prompted her week long tour around the state.

 

We hiked a 4 mile loop together and had some easy conversation before wishing each other well and heading off in opposite directions. She was on a mission to get as many “cancelation stamps” from National Parks, Monuments, Landmarks, etc. We had a good amount in common in that regard.

 

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2-3-15 (1)

 

2-3-15 (2)

 

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I apologize for the washed out picture, but this is the area I tried to sketch in my notebook (above).

2 Comments on “Phoenix, Saguaro NP (NP #4), Chiricahua NM – Catch Up (2 of 2)

  1. It is so weird how I came across your site and the first thing I clicked was this, because I am from Chicago. But also because my birthday is feb. 3rd! Odd indeed! But this is such a cool experience.

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