Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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USA map showing location of Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona
The two RV Gypsies went to
Saguaro National Park and
Sabino Canyon - A Desert Oasis

July 21, 2012
the road leading to Saguaro National Park & lots of cacti
divider bar
sign: Saguaro National Park
sign: Saguaro National Pakr and cacti

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.

Both districts conserve fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert, including ranges of significant hills, the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east. The park gets its name from the saguaro, a large cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear, are abundant in the park.

sign about the Sonoran Desert
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.
the two RV Gypsies by a big Saguaro Cactus
Lee Duquette and a broken arm of a Saguaro Cactus
Karen Duquette b a big Saguaro Cactus
Karen Duquette b a big 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.
sign telling about Saguaro Skeleton cactus
Saguaro Skeleton cactus
Karen Duquette among many Saguaro Cacti
Saguaro cacti may soak up as much as 200 gallons of water; enough to last a saguaro for a year.
Saguaro cacti
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.
Saguaro cacti on The Sonoran Desert
a Saquaro cactus with many arms
Below: A Saguaro cactus looking very brown and a close-up of the Saguaro shown in the photo to the left.
a Saquaro cactus looking very brown
close-up of a Saquaro cactus
a Saguaro and a weed cactus
field of cacti
field of cacti
close-up of a cactus
a field of cacti
a field of cacti and a mountain in the background

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.

prickly pear with pink fruit
prickly pear with pink fruit
prickly pear with pink 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.
prickly pear with dark red fruit
prickly pear with dark red fruit

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.

prickly pear with dark red fruit
sign about Chainfruit Cholla cactus
Chainfruit Cholla cactus
Cactus Weed
Cactus Weed
Cactus Weed and more
sign about Buckhorn Cholla cactus
Buckhorn Cholla cactus
The Saguaro cactus below looks like it is crossing 3 fingers - actually, they are called arms.
Saguaro cactus crossing arms
cacti field
A close-up of prickly pear cactus with a bug in it.
close-up of prickly pear cactus with a bug in it.
cacti field
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.
sign about the Signal Hill Trail
Lee Duquette on the Signal Hill Trail
the easy Signal Hill Trail
desert and cacti
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)
sign: stay off the rocks and on the trail
sign: Prehistoric Rock Art
sign: Rattelsnake area
a barrel cactus that died
a barrel cactus that died
view of teh Sonoran Desert with mountains in the background
view of teh Sonoran Desert with mountains in the background
cactus and rocks
rocks, desert, mountain
rocks, cactus and more
cacti field
cacti field
Karen Duquette
mountain and cacti
More prickly pear cactus with fruit
prickly pear cactus with fruit
prickly pear cactus with fruit
prickly pear cactus with fruit
cactus close-up
barrel cactus
look below
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.
Willcox, Arizona
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
Fry's London Bridge
Parker Dam Lake Havasu Island
look below
continue on to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have viewed all of the sections above, please continue on to the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in California.