The two RV Gypsies went to
Saguaro National Park and
Sabino Canyon - A Desert Oasis
July 21, 2012
The park is divided into two sections, called districts, lying approximately 20 miles east and 15 miles west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. The total area in 2011 was 91,442 acres of which 70,905 acres is designated wilderness. There is a visitor center in each of the two districts. Both are easily reached by car from Tucson, but there is no public transport into the park.
|The two RV Gypsies near the Saguaro cactus at Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. Lee took a close-up look at the broken arm on a Saguaro cactus.|
|Below: The strong woody ribs at the top of Saguaro Skeleton cacti were used by the Tohono O'odham Indians to build fences and shelters.|
|Saguaro cacti may soak up as much as 200 gallons of water; enough to last a saguaro for a year.|
|The Saguaro has been called Monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and a plant with personality. It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes. The Sonoran Desert is one of the hottest and driest regions on this continent. Fewer than 12 inches of rain falls in a typical year.|
|Below: A Saguaro cactus looking very brown and a close-up of the Saguaro shown in the photo to the left.|
Prickly pears typically grow with flat, rounded cladodes (also called platyclades) that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures. Below are three photos of prickly pear with pink fruit and three photos of prickly pear with dark red fruit.
|Like all true cactus species, prickly pears are native only to the Western hemisphere; however, they have been introduced to other parts of the globe; Mexico, Western United States, parts of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and the desert Southwest - to name a few places.|
The fruit of prickly pears, commonly called cactus fruit, cactus fig, Indian fig or tuna in Spanish, is edible, although it has to be peeled carefully to remove the small spines on the outer skin before consumption. If the outer layer is not properly removed, glochids can be ingested, causing discomfort of the throat, lips, and tongue, as the small spines are easily lodged in the skin. Native Americans, like the Tequesta, would roll the fruit around in a suitable medium to "sand" off the glochids. Alternatively, rotating the fruit in the flame of a campfire or torch has been used to remove the glochids. Today, parthenocarpic (seedless) cultivars are also available. The two RV Gypsies do NOT recommend for anyone to try to do this.
|The Saguaro cactus below looks like it is crossing 3 fingers - actually, they are called arms.|
|a close-up of prickly pear cactus with a bug in it.|
|The two RV Gypsies took a 1/2 mile round-trip walk on the Signal Hill Trail to explore this desert oasis of cacti and rocks. The trail did NOT include climbing up the hill shown below.|
|Petroglyphs (Petroglyphs were explained on this website while the two RV Gypsies were in Albuquerque, New Mexico just a short time ago - if you missed this page, please check it out - site 32 found on the USA button above & the 2012 map)|
|a barrel cactus that died|
|More prickly pear cactus with fruit|
Below is the sub-menu for Arizona
You may view these twelve (12) choices in any order you wish. There is also a link to California at the bottom of this page.
and the BBQ Restaurant
|Fort Willcox RV Park
and the roadrunner
|Chiricahua National Monument||The double rainbow
and the deer encounter
|Saguaro National Park (this page)||Sabino Canyon|
|Travel and Casa Grande Ruins||Amazing scenery|
|Parker Dam||Lake Havasu Island|
|AFTER you have viewed all of the sections above, please continue on to the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in California.|