Tucson & the Saguaro National Park...
Apr 25, 2007
|We awoke to a beautiful, sunny morning. It took us about an hour to break camp & get on the road. I hate driving on the interstate too much, but it seemed the easiest for the short distance we are traveling today. We arrived in Tucson about 1pm & located the park we were looking for after a quick stop at the RV parts house. We broke the lock on our door while we were in Casa Grande yesterday & want to fix it ASAP! Larry can only boost me up through the window just so many times!!!
We chose one of the Passport America parks in the area because of $$. It cost us $32 a night in Casa Grande, a bit over what we like to pay. This park is $9.97 first night, $12.97 each night thereafter, unlimited days here. We love it! We got set up, had a bite to eat, & went to bed earlier than normal. We plan to visit the Saguaro National Park tomorrow.
After a good nights sleep, we are headed to the SNP.
The Giant Saguaro has been described as the most fascinating plant of the Sonoran Desert. Since 1933 this giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park. It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes.
The trunk and arms are pleated like an accordion and can expand or contract with the amount of water taken in. In the place of leaves the Saguaro has thousands of spines to shade and protect itself. It's skin is tough and waxy and its woody skeleton is concealed inside the plant.
Saguaro roots extend to a diameter of 100 feet ( for a 50-foot-high Saguaro) at a depth of only inches. In a single rainfall, these shallow roots, along with tiny hairs, absorb even concentrated drizzle or mist, as much as 200 gallons of water. Enough to last the saguaro a year! The green, waxy outer covering replaces leaves for its food production. The Accordion pleating allows the truck to expand and contract and is 80 to 90 percent water when filled. Sixty percent of the saguaro's water content can be lost without damage.
Saguaro flowers bloom & color the desert in late April, May & June. Each blossom opens in the cool of the night a few hours after sunset. The spectacle repeats itself night after night for about 4 weeks until as many as one hundred flowers have appeared on each saguaro!
In June & July the fruit of the saguaro ripens. The sugary pulp of each fruit contains as many as 2,000 seeds. This is a feast for the javelinas, coyotes, foxes, squirrels & other rodents, harvester ants & many birds.
One saguaro produces as many as 40 million seeds in a lifetime of 175 to 200 years! A saguaro's growth is extremely slow. After 15 years, it may be only a foot tall. At about 30 years they begin to flower & produce fruit. By 50 years the saguaro can be as tall as 7 feet. After about 75 years it may sprout its FIRST branches, or "arms." The branches begin as prickly balls, then extend out & upward.
By 100 years the saguaro may have reached 25 feet. Saguaros that live 150 years or more attain the grandest sizes, towering as high as 50 feet & weighing 8 tons! Wow...
As you look through the pics you will see a couple of bike riders. There were actually many more riders in the park, zipping past us as we meandered along. Boy, do I respect them & their commitment! Those tiny little seats, the hills, the heat, need I say more?
It was a very enjoyable 8 mile loop. We are also going on down the road to see the caves, so we'll see you there, okay?