On a crested saguaro hunt - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 20, 2021

On a crested saguaro hunt

Some days just seem more momentous than others, don’t they?  Whatever was happening in our small lives today feels insignificant in this historical context.   This isn’t really the forum for discussing our reactions to or opinions about the Biden/Harris inauguration, but  I do want to recognize Amanda Gorman’s poetry reading, for me the most inspiring and hopeful presentation of the event.  It reminded me immediately of one of my earliest political memories, of Robert Frost’s poetry reading at the Kennedy inauguration 60 years ago.  I’m including it here as a reminder of this day, and as something I can come back to and re-experience when I need a spiritual lift.

So there was that.  We stayed around the house until the completion of the inauguration ceremony, and then drove over to the National Park for an afternoon hike.  Rachael had done some research and found the general location of another crested saguaro - the one we saw on a hike last winter but had forgotten the location of - so we planned out about an eight mile hike that would take us past the cactus and up to Douglas Springs. 

Plans changed by necessity though when a half hour later we pulled in to the parking lot at the trailhead and I realized I had forgotten my hiking shoes.  I prefer driving in my sandals, so I was planning to change footwear at the start of the hike.  Sandals are a pretty poor choice for walking in the desert.  I have enough trouble hiking as it is, and an 8 or 9 mile hike over rocky terrain in sandals was really out of the question.

The crested saguaro though was still within reach - only two miles away, on a basically flat, sandy trail.  Not much of a hike, but you really don’t have to go far in this place to have a memorable experience.

Looking across the cactus forest to the Santa Catalina Range.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Here it is!
Heart 8 Comment 1
Gregory GarceauI don't care how bad I feel,
I don't care how much I'm down,
I just know I'll quickly heal,
When I see a saguaro crown.

In a brown desert she reigns green,
A mighty crown upon her head,
As regal as a tribal queen,
Saguaros stand guard until she's dead.

Establishing
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1 month ago
These are really fantastic. We feel lucky enough to have seen these two, but I’d love to see still others.
Heart 11 Comment 2
marilyn swettLove your photo Scott! We didn't make it out to the park when we were in Tucson, but definately will put it on the list for the next trip.
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1 month ago
Just another dry wash/cactus shot.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Always a favorite subject.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Bill asked me to watch out for some of the smaller cacti, so this is for him. A fishhook cactus?
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltYes! It has such wonderful blooms in late summer after monsoon rains!

https://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/cacti/mammillaria-grahamii.html
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1 month ago
Some desert hedgehogs. Cute little critters.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I don’t remember seeing a multi-headed barrel cactus before. Is this another deformity, similar to crested saguaros?
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltI'd suspect so. I've not seen one like that myself.
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1 month ago
Enough of those smaller cacti. There’s a reason they don’t call this place Hedgehog National Park, after all.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Saguaro shadows.
Heart 1 Comment 0
And one more. It looks like he’s imploring for assistance.
Heart 2 Comment 0
This dead appendage is just hanging on, and sways in the breeze.
Heart 2 Comment 0
So what is the stump on the right - a mesquite trunk?
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltThe grain leads me to say palo verde.
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1 month ago
There are scenes like this everywhere. This place is so parched. I hope we can come back and see it again after a decent rainstorm.
Heart 0 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltPitiful, but from a Biologist point of view, only the toughest will survive to maintain a healthy gene pool.
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1 month ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 7
Jen GrumbyThanks for the worthy mention of Amanda Gorman's poem .. it really felt like walking out of a dark tunnel into vibrant and healing light.

What an inspiration she is!!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt really is so amazing. I’ve watched it three times now, and each time it’s brought tears to my eyes.
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Jen GrumbyI've got to admit, I had never heard of Amanda Gorman until she walked up to that microphone in front of our nation's capitol. I was so impressed with her poise, her confidence, and especially her words, that I had to look up more information about her. She's got a pretty amazing backstory, and after overcoming so much, she became a Grand Slam winner at a Moth event. I listen to the Moth Radio Hour every Sunday night on our local PBS station and hear a lot of great stories, but her story of auditioning for the role of Nala in a stage production of "The Lion King," was truly special.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanAmanda Gorman! Not only did she write a brilliant poem, her time/its time in history couldn't have been more perfect. Plus, her delivery was mesmerizing as well. From occasional staccato to perfect pause placement it was a sheer delight to watch - an inspired work of art. Her beautiful hand gestures and scrunched facial expressions were also perfect emphasis. I loved it so much. In fact I think it is the most inspiring presentation I've seen/heard since MLK's I Have a Dream speech. And humble!! Afterwards she said she was really nervous and, "I'm just happy it's over."
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Bruce LellmanHey Bruce, if there was a "thumbs up" icon for agreeing with what you just wrote, I'd have clicked on it immediately. Instead, I'll just spell it out: "I AGREE wholeheartedly."
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Gregory GarceauThank you Gregory. I, also, had never heard of Amanda Gorman and still know little so your information has me wanting to know more. I will check out her Moth Radio Hour talk. I know she had some pretty significant speech problems and to have overcome them and be on such a major stage speaking! is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyTo Gregory GarceauThanks for telling us about Amanda's performance at the Moth Grand Slam. We watched on YouTube last night.

Incredible!!
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1 month ago