Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saguaro National Park

Before I get to todays activities, first I should mention
that I'm back in business computer wise.

Some repair work by the good folks at Simutek in Tucson..
they were able to get most of my data off the old mac..
(what a great outfit Simutek is)
a trip to the Apple Store for a new MacBook with retina display..
Some data transfer and voila...
Easy peasy - Japaneesey.

Another reason why I love the Mac.
This would have been windows hell and taken days to get
everything reinstalled.
Instead - I was getting caught up on work an hour after getting home last night.

While I'm busy during the day working, Kate has been busy
with Kristi (I got the "I")
getting some excellent instruction in the ancient arts.

Kristi is an excellent and patient teacher and Kate has been having t
the time of her life learning Gourd making and now jewelry.

Its detailed work...

But the time spent shows in the results.
Kate shows off her Mother-of-Pearl necklace.

So that brings me back to today - it's Sunday and after a morning of
getting caught up with work, Kate and I headed off for the afternoon
for a quick trip to Saguaro National Park which is only a mile or two
from where we are camped here in Gilbert Ray.

We headed off on a dirt road for some scenic backcountry touring

We stopped at the Signal Mountain Picnic Area for a short hike.
The Picnic area is another great legacy left by the CCC
(Civilian Conservation Corps)
Kate is siting on a picnic ramada from that era.

The CCC was created by President Roosevelt during the depression to provide
work for young men 18-25 yrs old.  A dollar a day was the motto!
They worked on projects all over the country but especially here in the west.
All the projects were conservation related on government lands.
The men earned $30 per month and were required to send $25 home to
their families.
In our travels we come across, and enjoy, their great 
and enduring works time and time again.
What a great Legacy!

Beyond the picnic area we stopped for todays self portrait.

Further down the trail...  just past the rattlesnake warnings..
We came upon the Petroglyphs

This area has been inhabited for over 10,000 years
and those before have left their mark

One might wonder at first why or how people could live here in
the desert - but it really is a vibrant eco-system.
The Sonoran desert is home to over 200 species of animals
and 600 plant species.

Does the photo below look like desert?

The secret is adaptation.

Below - the Palo Verde tree has green bark.
The bark is green so that even during times of drought - when the leaves
would shrivel up and fall off - the plant will still conduct photosynthesis
and produce food.

The Barrel Cactus leans toward the south.
Who needs a compass when you have Barrel Cactus to guide you?

There are several different varieties of the Cholla Cactus.
(Pronounced Choy-ya) 
Their thorns have microscopic barbs that go into you with ease..
but then like a fish hook - they don't come out easy.
This one is a Teddy Bear Cholla.

The Ocotillo is another common desert plant.
It is interesting in that is usually looks like it is dead.
During the dry season it is grey and weathered.
(the following 2 photos borrowed from Wikipedia)

Then as soon as it rains - in a matter of a couple of days
it blooms and becomes covered with green leaves that last for a short period
of time depending on the weather.

The first time I saw one turn green I had to do a double take...
"Wasn't that plant dead yesterday?"

Now as spring approaches we are soon to be treated
with the blooming of the desert wild flowers.
Each year is different due to weather but I think this will be a good
one because of the modest rains we've had since Christmas.

As you can see in some of the previous photos - there are patches of
green grass everywhere there is some shade...  There is moisture in
the ground....   The flowers are getting ready to pop!

We'll it's time to run...
The sun is getting lower on the Western horizon and it looks like its
going to be another stellar sunset.
I sure don't want to miss it...   do you?


  1. So interesting and so beautiful. The photos are great as always Greg. Kate is a serious artist with here line of jewelry. Nice work Kate..

  2. i'm so amazed that such a "barren" place can be so beautiful! Tell Kate i cant wait until we can make some necklaces!! Love you all & see you soon!

  3. When you understand what you are looking at, the desert is a wonderful place! It is definitely a great place for exploring and learning! Thanks Greg and Kate for sharing your adventures! Mina

  4. Great info and love the necklace! I think all that crafting must be lots of fun! T

  5. thanks for the comments...

    Glad that you all are enjoying the blog!

  6. Isn't it amazing how the desert life adapts to the extremes of heat & aridity! Looks like you two are also! J

  7. So glad you are having such an awesome trip! I look forward to seeing your collection of crafts and jewelry when you return Kate. Greg - I think you should publish a book called "Sunsets". Your photography is beautiful. Miss ya'll!

  8. Wow I didn't realize Teddy's recruits were so far reaching. Love the necklace Kate- you're quite the artiste. Hoping Chicago is like the desert in the spring... So glad you're enjoying out beautiful country! Miss you both


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