Still hunting for Those Warm Days - Ascaping Covid and Winter in Arizona - CycleBlaze

December 14, 2020

Still hunting for Those Warm Days

This is our scenic campsite at the base of the Superstition Mountains. You can see our Xmas cactus by the chair!
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I love saguaro cactus and I must have taken hundreds of shots while we were in Arizona. Their stately stance with all of their different looking arms was so eye catching. I found out that saguaro grow very slowly and many can live for 200 years. They grow their first arms after 75-100 years and it may take 20-50 years to reach just 3 feet. Many arms may be grown or none at all. I wondered about some of the strange shapes of the arms. Some may curve downwards or in a spiral shape. Apparently that's due to the plant being exposed to severe frost or an extended period of freezing temperature. The Saguaro's soft tissues turn to mush or can liquefy. The damaged tissue rots and weakens, causing the stem to shrivel and arms to droop downward toward the ground or curve in unusual shapes. I would love to see one in bloom.
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Bill ShaneyfeltSaguaro blooms are beautiful! You would not see them until around April or so... if it rains enough.
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6 months ago
Just another desert vista, this time showing cholla cactus.
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Bill ShaneyfeltIt is amazing how large and how thickly spaced those chain fruit (aka jumping) cholla are in that area. I think it is because the air blows in and hits the really steep mountains (cliffs), rising something near 3000 feet vertically so it cools rapidly, dropping lots more moisture than surrounding areas.
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6 months ago
marilyn swettTo Bill ShaneyfeltYour comment makes sense Bill. We saw lots of that type of cholla right in the campground. I think I took a close up view of them which I'll post. Cacti are so interesting! We bought an identification book when we got home which was quite helpful. I'll be bringing it with me on future trips to this area!
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6 months ago
Just another spectacular sunset at Lost Dutchman.
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A night time view of our Xmas cactus. Very festive, don't you think?!
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It had been windy all night and was quite cold this morning. So we decided to tackle one chore we had been dreading - doing laundry in a public laundromat. But we had no choice since we were running out of clothes and the state park had no laundry in the park as many do in Colorado.

There was one near us in Apache Junction, so we headed over after breakfast. Well, it was just as stressful as we had imagined it would be! It was very busy and many of the customers, and also the employees wore no masks or even bothered to social distance.  

We just threw our clothes in the washer and went next door to ACE Hardware. They had a 5 ft. metal saguaro cactus out front that caught my eye. We ended up buying it along with some strings of red Xmas lights. It will serve as our Arizona "Xmas tree"! We plan to set it out at camp.

After our laundry was done, we went back to camp for lunch then got the bike out for a short ride north on Highway 88 - the historic Apache Trail. 

It was a still chilly out and I was happy to have my layers, full fingered gloves and balaclava on. Sheesh.....this should be warm Phoenix but they were having a cold snap. Just our luck!

We enjoyed the nice scenery of stately saguaros, cholla, ocotillo, prickly pear, palo verde and mesquite trees situated beneath the Superstition Mountains. The desert here is very green and lush compared with the dull brown/grey desert in the Lake Havasu area. We like it!

The road had a little shoulder with moderate traffic. It's the new Southern Tier route that the Adventure Cycling Association created to detour around the dangerous tunnel going to Globe on Highway 60.

This road would have taken us 2 long, hard days to complete with plenty of climbing. We only went a few miles before turning around and returning to camp where some hot tea and a warm trailer helped take off the chill in my body.

We had a spectacular sunset tonight and I got some great pictures. The red lights on our saguaro look very festive!

Today's ride: 9 miles (14 km)
Total: 92 miles (148 km)

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