I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


Thank you for stopping by. Just to let you know, I'm still blogging but have moved to Geogypsytraveler. Hope you'll follow my adventures. Just click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What the...

...did I find in the desert?

Maybe this will help.

80-100+ year old Saguaros in front of Joshua-tree
The Saguaro, pronounced sah-wah’-ro, is the state flower of Arizona (sorry it’s not in bloom, yet) and is protected by law. It grows up to 50 feet tall, but very slowly, and the oldest plants could be 150-200 years old.

Joshua-tree, the largest of the yuccas at 15-30 feet tall, is iconic to the national park bearing its name in southern California. It also grows in abundance in Joshua Forest Parkway in western Arizona, not far from where I live. Mormon pioneers during the late 1800s named this species Joshua because its shape mimics a person with uplifted arms gesturing wildly as if to pray.

Here’s another interesting discovery.

Ocotillo, pronounced o-ko-tee’-yo, grows multi-stems up to 30 feet tall. Leaves appear only after rain then withers as the soil dries. The tip of each stem displays a vibrant red cluster of flowers. This cycle repeats several times during the year.

OK, now you know we’re in the desert, so steer clear of these.

Prickly Pear Cactus is one of the most common cacti found in the desert.

Highway 89 winds 2500 feet up Table Top Mountain in four miles
Note the prickly pear cactus in center foreground
I live at the top of this Yarnell Hill
I’ve admired this particular cluster of Saguaro many times on the drive to Wickenburg on Highway 89 at the bottom of the Yarnell Hill. Yesterday I finally stopped to take pictures. The close up idea was inspired by Joan at SAP


Amanda said...

When the Saguaro gets that blackened crustinness at the bottom like in the first photo, does that mean it is going to die or is sick?

Diane C. said...

This was a fun post with the close ups and farther away photos. Handsome group of saguaros, I can see why you wanted a picture. I get kind of attached to some cacti and like to check them out whenever I go by.

Gaelyn said...

Amanda, the "black crustyness" is like a scab where the plant has sealed an area that birds or bugs may have drilled into. I think all of these saguaros have many more years to live.

Anonymous said...

Hallo Gaelyn, I have come over to thank you for visiting me and have found your very interesting blog.
What a great life you have, and I love the way your 'interests' on your profile perfectly match your life style. Your pictures are awesome, and when I think that you can just open the door of your RV and click, wonderful.

When we lived in Mexico my favourite salad was Prickly Pear...delish...glad I didn't have to prepare it though.

I'll will be back.

Anonymous said...

Gaelyn, Your photos are getting me excited about our trip and the wonderful plants of nature we will be witnessing. We will be taking a train to Tuscon next week and will make our way to the Mexican border to start the Arizona Trail then.

E. Michelle said...

Saguaros are so awesome. I have read they can hold up to 200 gallons of water. Something disturbing I saw on a TV show was how landscapers drive into the desert and dig them up and then sell them to people to plant in their front yards. Thank you for the great pictures!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Oh no!! It has happened again. I left a comment for you on this but I do not see it!! I wonder why this happens sometimes. It is MOST frustrating!!

What I wrote was to the effect that I love cacti and the Saguorous always remind me of the film which came out many years ago called "The living desert" where you see a bobcat standing on top of one.

I love your close-ups Gaelyn. Thanks for saying I was the inspiration to them. One of these days I will have you taking bug pics too. LOL!!

Quiet Paths said...

When I was a child we went to my brother's wedding in so. CA and went through quite a bit of desert country. I remember the Joshua trees and many things here you photographed. I felt the magic of the place even then. Thanks for reminding me - what an abundance of life.

Susie of Arabia said...

Great photos, Gaelyn - you're making me homesick!

RuthieJ said...

Did you see any good birds on those cacti? I always think it's interesting that a woodpecker can peck a nest in those saguaro to live in and then other birds like wrens can use this cavities for nesting in too.

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