Even two days ago I did not know I would be amongst these amazing “people”…the Saguaros of Southern Arizona. I was planning on taking my friend, Rene to the Sonoran desert so he can take photos of the flowering desert, alas, but once we arrived here we found out from the Visitor’s Center that the cactus flowers did not bloom as profusely this mid-March because the area had a warm spell back in February. So instead, since we were in the area, we visited the Saguaro National Park. Being amongst these “people” was a happy experience. It’s only obvious these “people” welcome us with open (upward swing) arms! Like what does that say to us: “Welcome to our land…!”
The saguaro has been called monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and a plant with personality. It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes—shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings. Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park. Preserved within it are other members of the Sonoran Desert community: other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals. In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts. And yet it is one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent.
Summer midday temperatures commonly climb above 100 degrees, although our visit was a mild 75 degrees in late March. Less than 12 inches of rain falls in a typical year. Between the summer and wintery seasons it’s not unusual for months to pass without a drop of rain. Plants and animals able to survive in this environment, with adaptations specially designed for desert survival, make up one of the most interesting and unusual ecosystems in the United States.
This world awaits you in the desert plains, mountains and foothills of Saguaro National Park. So what are you waiting for!?!?! After 24 years of living in the Four Corners area of the U.S., how come it has taken me that long to finally visit these people and their land!? Readers, if you are in the Phoenix/Tuscon area, please take a day and get your boost of happiness and peace! Forget paying a shrink for your emotional problems; just get out on the land and run, sit, relax, have a picnic, play music, take photos and hymn with the silence. It is here you can bury any sorrows or unpleasant memories. The Saguaro are a happy and people; allow them to be your compassionate hosts!
There are two parts to the Saguaro National Park: Saguaro East–Rincon Mountain District and Saguaro West–Tucson Mountain District. We visited the latter with the background of the Tucson Mountains. The park is open daily except Christmas Day. It’s a normal park with its Visitor Center, self-guiding trails, picnic tables, pit toilets, campground and even back-country campsites (only in the East Rincon District). If you are a star gazer such as I, hanging out here during the full moon would be exquisite, however, the park closes their gates directly after sunset (no matter what time of year). Other than your camera(s), make sure you bring plenty of water (for you, your pet, your vehicle, etc.), first aid kit, food, flashlight and a blanket (just in case you break park rules and spend the night under the stars!).
Rene and I spent the day here. I took a few photos upon arrival, but I was compelled to play my flute, sing chants and then run amongst the rock, variety of cactus and the sun to my west, leaving Rene to several hours to himself and his camera. All photos posted are by Rene Sioui LaBelle and myself. Let these images inspire you to visit the famous Saguaro soon; they live no where else on this planet!