Bev & Jerry 2018 Summer Travel travel blog

Tucson from Sky Island Parkway, Coronado Nat'l Forest

Saguaro Cactus

Nuts Climbing Rock Pile

View - Sky Island Parkway

Saguaro Forest?

Saguaro (100 yrs old before arms form)

View - Coronado Nat'l Forest

View - Sky Island Parkway

View - Sky Island Parway

Snow Ski area near Mout Lemmon

Mount Lemmon

Coronado National Forest

Sky Island Parkway

Tucson, Arizona

May 25th

On our first day in Tucson, we decided to take a trip up into the mountains to a village named Mount Lemmon. It was a 29 mile drive on the Sky Island Parkway which took us to an altitude of over 8,000 feet giving us a temperature of about 70 degrees compared to the 97 degrees in Tucson. The drive reminded us of the drive on the “Going to the Sun” road in Glacier National Park, except, this is in the desert. On the drive up, you first see the mountainside covered with Saguaro Cacti and then it goes to scrub brush and finally pine tress at the higher elevations. It was a great drive and we have included some pictures. Even a picture of two nuts who were climbing a vertical rock formation.

The Saguaro (pronounced “sa waro”) cactus, the symbol of the American Southwest, is found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. It is a cactus that grows to 40 feet high and lives between and 150 and 200 years. In the spring, it produces a beautiful white flower which is the state flower of Arizona. In late June, a red fruit seed pod is harvested off of the top of the cacti by the Tohono O'odham (desert people) Indians. The fruit is processed to produce a syrup which is fermented for making a wine. The seeds are used for feed and making candy or they may be mixed with the syrup to make a jam. They have used the cacti and it's parts for centuries and are legally permitted to harvest it's fruit on federal lands. The parts that they use are the ribs of dead cacti in the construction of the walls of their homes. Other parts were used for carrying water, etc. The Tohono O'dham Indians believe that the Saguaro cacti are their ancestors.

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