Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arizona - Saguaro National Park

With our camper in the repair shop, we had a few hours to spend around Tucson.

The first thing we did was go out for a big breakfast.  We rarely eat breakfast away from home, so the kids really enjoyed it.

Then, we headed over to Saguaro National Park.  The city of Tucson actually splits this park into two sections, east and west.  We went to the west side.

There were so many different species of cacti to see...of course the saguaro were the most spectacular.  They really are huge.  The full grown ones are around 50 feet tall and weigh over 6 tons.  It takes many years for them to get that big though, over 100.

I didn't realize that the saguaro have a wooden inside.  For each pleat that you see on the outside, there is a wooden "rib" on the inside.  All of the ribs join together and provide the supporting structure for the cactus.  The native people used to collect these wooden ribs to use as the framework when building the walls of their homes.

We learned a lot in the visitor center.  Both from the Rangers and from the informative displays.  The Ranger that went over the Jr Ranger books with the kids was great.  He led them to an area they have for kids with couches and tables to talk to them about what they had learned and add to it with his own experiences in the park.  Very interesting :).

I just have to show you this picture...

Only in the desert will you find a sunblock dispenser in the restroom!  The girls and I nearly mistook it for the soap!  Haha...that would have been funny :)

We left the visitor center and drove all through the park.  The roads are dirt and in some places a bit rough.  High clearance vehicles are advised...we did just fine in my Expedition.  It is nice to have 4-wheel drive sometimes ;).  (No, we didn't need it, just reassuring to know we had it.)

The hike we chose was the Signal Hill Trail.  We chose this trail because it leads to some great petroglyphs.  The sign at the trail head warns to watch out for Gila monsters.  That was a new one!

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Saguaro National Park, you should go.  It was truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.  So unique :).

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