February 1, 2012
We traveled what was once a 53 mile drive, now closed except for 5 miles. Drug traffickers and desperados escaping Mexico’s poverty made it too dangerous for the public. In this section I found the biggest saguaro I’ve ever seen. In open places it is tough to estimate it’s size, but I’m guessing 60 feet tall.
In general, the saguaro in this section of the park were fatter and bigger. Many washes, indicating more water might be the reason. Our hike goal today was to visit tinaja, a spanish word for well.
We came across a covered mine shaft on our way to tinaja.
And a horse watering trough, grown over roads, and other signs of ranching here are evident. The grasses more verdant.
Some ocotillo in the area are in full bloom. And a bigger variety of flowers noticeable. Some so tiny you can’t get a picture of them.
Saguaros still dominate the landscape.
When I found this cactus formation of a W, it reminded me that I’m always hunting for the perfect saguaro, the one you see in all of the artists drawings of a tubular center and two perfectly shaped arms one on each side. The arms grow straight out from the body before turning straight up. I did in fact see a saguaro shaped like that as we were driving down the highway in 2009. We were going too fast to stop for the picture, but I won’t let that happen again if I ever find another.
We reached tinaja. Red base rock that holds water.
Tiny pools of brackish water. Survival here is devilish for humans and animals.
It was very obvious how much bigger and plentiful the desert grasses are in this section.
A pretty poppy.
A dead saguaro arm resembled the snout of an alligator.
It was a short 1.5 mile hike in. I rode my bike after dinner and then, as usual, we enjoyed another beautiful sunset.