Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Saguaro National Park - East

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
February 2017


It all started in 1920 when members of the Natural History Society of the University of Arizona first expressed an interest in preserving a stand of the West's most iconic plant species...the saguaro.  The saguaro had  become quite famous from silent western movies.  But it wasn't until March 1,1933 that Herbert Hoover signed a proclamation establishing Saguaro National Monument in the nearly empty desert 15 miles from Tucson. 












Finally in the 1950s the Visitor Center opened and important research brought a fuller understanding of the saguaro life cycle by 1970.  Most importantly, at the urging of the people

of Tucson and the Secretary of the Interior, President Kennedy added 25 square miles of splendid cactus forrest in the Tucson Mountains to the Monument.  Congress elevated Saguaro to a National Park status in 1994.  




Progress was slow in those early days.  Early rangers had to haul water from the center of town,  "cactus rustling" was rampart, and cattle continued to trample young cacti for decades.  Aging of the cactus forrest and lack of regeneration led to a widespread belief that the saguaro were a dying breed...just like the frontier life it symbolized.  Aren't we glad that the steady hard work of early rangers and locals resulted in what is now the Saguaro NP we love and enjoy today ?  We first arrived in Tucson in January of 2013 and shortly drove the loop road in SNP...our first ride through the Cactus Forrest was love at first sight !


We decided last week we would revisit SNP - East.  Its been several years since we did the loop drive and we have not done any exploring on foot.  Why ?  I don't know...maybe because the SNP - West is so much closer.  Anyhow, we fixed that.  We did two hikes...Freeman Homestead and Cactus Forrest to Lime Falls.  The other hike we wanted to do was Loma Verde Loop.  But when we got to the trailhead, the parking lot was full.  



Freeman Homestead Trail is a short walk that takes you to the sight of the old Freeman adobe house with several outbuildings. 



I was really looking for birds and much to my delight,  we saw a pair of Gila Woodpeckers having an intense conversation as they fluttered from branch to branch.
Daddy has the red crown patch and was a bit camera shy.


 But not mama...she was all over the place ! 






















The Cactus Forrest Trail to Lime Falls was an awesome hike.  The entire hike is just under 4 miles, but thanks to the varied terrain and solitude (YES!), it was a "feel good" workout.  


Even though it's still winter, we did see little signs that spring is on it's way.  Buds on the hedgehog...


...a bee "doing his job" on a Jojoba ( ho-ho-bah)... 




























Lime Falls was dry, but still worth the trip.  The silvery colored limestone adds a bit of interest to the desert. The falls...  




and the wash we walked through to get to the trail.    






Joe spotted a roadrunner.  He is really good at that !  







Mostly we just enjoyed the day and the quiet ! 





So until next time...

HAPPY TRAILS! 

(Information of the history of Saguaro National Park was found an a webpage The Beginning of Saguaro National Park - nps.gov.)

20 comments:

  1. That is a wonderful area to explore we did the drive through back in 2007 and loved it !

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  2. I will miss the saguaros--they are rare down here in southeast Arizona.

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    1. Me too...we will be heading north the middle of March.

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  3. The desert really comes alive with the spring rains, the flowers can be quite vibrant. And a Roadrunner - sure makes the day!

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    1. Joe has spotted a roadrunner on all the trails we have done Jeff. It's a great feeling to capture one with the camera! Yep, the desert is so green...can't wait for some cactus to bloom.

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  4. I really enjoy the solitude in many areas of SNP East. It is amazing how many trails there to explore. Looks like a beautiful hike. Great job capturing those roadrunners:)

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    1. Thanks Pam. I guess the distance keeps us from going there more often...it is very quiet on the trails!

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  5. We were surprised at the full parking lots when we were there, only the ones on the upper loop had openings. And those areas were so wonderfully quiet - the best! I always love "taking a hit" of Creosote, they smell like rain in the desert :-)))) Darling pic of you on the trail!

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    1. Awwww! Thanks Jodee...I am always camera shy!

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  6. Awesome road runners shots! And I love the little fuzz balls on the creosote!

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  7. yep we leave Tucson today and will miss these thorny friends...

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    1. We are right behind you...we leave on the 18th. Looks like this year we won't see any Saguaro blooms😔.

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  8. Very interesting photos & post. I'm grateful someone had the foresight to protect such an iconic western plant for future generations.

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    1. Thank you Gayle. I so agree! FYI...I have tried three times to post a comment on your recent post, but none of them published.

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    2. Hmm, I have no idea why. I did find a comment from you yesterday morning. Knock on wood, I've never had any problems with the blog in the past, Ive considered myself lucky. I know of a few other bloggers that have had issues with Live Writer.

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    3. We won't jinx it Gayle...maybe just a fluke!

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  9. That is a handsome roadrunner with its blue plumage! SNP East is still on the list. Like you said its a drive to go there so for now I will enjoy a hike through your lens.
    True we are thankful for those who were here before us to preserve and protect the green sentinels so we can enjoy them today. Great post, Gay.
    Sounds like we will be missing you again on Monday :(

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    1. It was great seeing you and Steve last night...so much fun.

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