Our Visit to the Desert Southwest
Hanhan and her first saguaro cactus.
Organ pipe cactus are only found in this area of the US.
Visitors center and the namesake cactus.
Prickly pear cactus are aptly named as Gary found.
A saguaro skeleton. They are trees after all. They just store water differently.
Humanoid cacti. Looks like something in Bugs Bunny.
In the cactus forest.
Gary & Hanhan in the desert.
Cactus grow right up to the solid rock of the mountain.
Ocotillo only get green and flower after the rain.
Prickly pear in the wild.
Note the crested cholla cactus.
Crested cacti are very rare.
Our favorite picture of the southwest, an arch and saguaro.
After a yucca flowers, it dies.
A giant of the desert. Saguaro cactus don't even start to grow 'arms' until 75 years old.
The park has all types of cacti, not just the organ pipe. This is a good example of the scenery.
Organ pipe marching up the hillside.
A palo verde tree. A nurse tree to the saguaro who are not able to handle the sun when they are young.
Teddy bear cholla. They look huggable, but you'd find yourself full of needles if you did.
The view from our hotel room patio.
Hanhan in the grapefruit tree outside our room.
Success! Part of breakfast in hand.
The Gates overlook outside Tucson.
Petroglyphs on the rocks.
This barrel cactus has fishhook needles. Of course, it's called a fishhook cactus.
These lean to point the top at the sun. That eventually causes it to uproot itself.
The west Saguaro National Park.
Every cactus found in the park is here.
Senita cactus, and crested saguaro at the desert museum.
Senita are not organ pipe cactus though similar.
Arizona is famous for copper and this is a huge chunk of copper ore.
We found a crested saguaro in the wild.
After our success in climbing for citrus, we found an easier way.
Look at the bounty of our harvest!
Tree to table in 30 seconds.
Red car, red shirt, red rock.
Hanhan greeting a tumbleweed.
Entering White Sands Missile Range.
This is a Nike anti-aircraft missile from the 60s.
This is the transition area where the desert gives way to the white sand.
There is life in the white sand, so many plants are able to grow here.
Which way to the water?
The desert reveals its secret.
Sumac puts roots down deep and the moisture from the roots turn the sand into something like plaster holding the plant firm in the shifting sands.
There are numerous tracks all around providing evidence of lizards, birds, kangaroo rats, and rattlesnakes.
Picnic anyone? The shelter is needed to keep the wind and therefore the sand out of your picnic.
In the heart of the dunes, Hanhan celebrates sundown.
Just looking, you'd think this was after a blizzard.
Hanhan feeling how fine the sand is. The texture is just amazing.
The bat amphitheater at Carlsbad Cavern.
Pop quiz. Are cave and cavern the same?
The natural entrance to the cavern. This is unique to this park, we have never see it at any other cave.
This marks the divide between the twilight and dark zone of the cavern.
The last light we'll see for hours.
The lions tail stalactites.
We've been in many caves and these are the first we've seen.
The ladder used by the discoverer of the cavern, Jim White.
He made this ladder from fence wire and sticks.
This is unique as the entire range is a fossiled ocean reef.
This part of the desert is golden. Not because of sand, but the dry grass.
Sycamore tree with an adaptation, white bark to refect the desert sun.
Montezuma Castle, but Aztecs never lived here.
This creek makes a great place to live, Verde valley indeed.
They really want you to drink water.
This chart is in every restroom we entered.
This is in a 110 room dwelling on the mountain.
The supports were sycamore while the roof beams were cottonwood and straw.
The land in the foreground has copper mining tailings under it.
These rooms were under tons of rock until discovered and excavated over years.
In the Arizona Capitol Museum.
More people should be like McFarland was.
Bookends of World War 2.
On the left is a gun from the USS Arizona, sunk 7 December 1941 to start the war.
On the right is a gun from the USS Missouri where the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay.
A very cool 9-11 memorial where the sun reveals different memories from those days as it transits the sky.
A Desert Storm veteran and memorial.
Navajo Code Talker monument.
The only unbreakable code in WW II.
Celebrate the Bill of Rights.
Papago Park complete with Pyramid.
At Hole in the Rock.
View of the fishing ponds at Papago.
In the hole.
You can see evidence of smoke on the roof of the cave.
Natives used this for shelter in the past.