Saturday, June 14, 2008

Globe trotting

If you're craving a bit of western and Americana kitch, a quick day trip to Globe, AZ should cure that craving.

Globe is full of historic buildings.

From central Phoenix, it is about an hour and a half drive (east on Hwy 60) to Globe. As you approach Superior and continue to Miami and Globe, the scenery is beautiful - with interesting rock formations.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tucson Mountain Park

Tucson Mountain Park is found on the west side of Tucson, just outside of Saguaro National Park. This picture shows a wash (dry river bed). These areas flood and become very dangerous following a rain (even a small rain of 1 cm!)
There is a lot of plant diversity in this area of the Sonoran Desert. Some of the plants you can see in this picture are cholla, palo verde, mesquite, prickley pear cactus, creosote, and saguaros.

Hiking trails run throughout Tucson Mountain Park.
Watch out for the Teddy Bear Cholla. It isn't as cute and fuzzy as it looks.
It is full of very spiny sections that attach to you or other animals like giant burrs. I found this out the hard way when I first moved to Arizona. I took my dog out hiking, and within 5 minutes of hitting the tail, he bumped into one of these chollas. Several 5-inch-long segments stuck into his flank. He tried to pull it off with his mouth, but instead ended up with the spines on his face and in his mouth. As I tried to help him, he panicked and transfered the remaining pieces of cactus to my arm.

Neither of us enjoyed the subsequent removing of the spines. The tip is slightly barbed, so even when you pull the main spine out, a tiny bit is left behind.
To this day, I still have scars on my arm from that incident - and it's been 17 years!
As you drive northwest through the park, you enter Saguaro National Park.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Saguaro National Park - West

Saguaro National Park is split into two sections: West and East. The east side is a bit more developed, while the west side blends into nearby attractions of Tucson Mountain Park, Old Tucson Studios, and the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.
I recently visited the west side of the park.

May and early June are a wonderful time to visit. The weather is still reasonably cool (90s to low 100s), and the saguaros are in bloom.

Here you can see the beautiful saguaro flowers.