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, March 5, 2011

Saguaro National Park West – Tucson Mountain District

01 Saguaro NP AZ (1024x534)

I thought I’d seen a lot of saguaros in the Sonoran Desert, but Saguaro National Park is a forest of giant cactus people.

02 View from Gilbert Ray camp Tucson Mt Park AZ (1024x474)

Sunset from camp

I arrived in the late afternoon so stopped first at the visitor center where I watched the orientation film and picked up my Junior Ranger book. Then I went to the recommended Gilbert Ray campground in Tucson Mountain Park for the night.

03 Truckcamper Gilbert Ray campground Tucson Mt Park AZ (1024x768)

Great place with lots of private sites in the middle of the desert all with electricity for $20.

04 Hohokam Rd Saguaro NP AZ (1024x558)

Hohokam Road

In the morning I returned to the visitor center to get my Junior Ranger badge and some information.

05 Ocotillo & picnic table overlooking Avra Valley from Sus Picnic area Hohokam Rd Saguaro NP AZ (768x1024)

Ocotillo and Avra Valley from Sus picnic area 

President Franklin D Rosevelt first established Saguaro National Monument in 1933. Then in 1961 President Kennedy expanded the monument to include Tucson Mountain Park. In 1994 congress established Saguaro National Park.

06 Birds nest in saguaro Saguaro NP AZ (768x1024)

Birds nest

Saguaro National Park is composed of two distinct districts, the Ricon Mountain District east of Tucson and the Tucson Mountain District to the west.

07 Wash along Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

To many these giants symbolize the American West yet saguaros only grown in southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

08 Saguaro NP AZ (493x1024)

Saguaros can grow to 50 feet tall and are the largest member of the cactus family in the US. They normally live for 150-200 years.

09 Young saguaro by nurse prickly pear cactus Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

For a saguaro seedling to survive, it needs the protection of a nurse plant which provides protection from the sun and freezing temperatures.

10 Fishhook barrel cactus Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

Fishhook barrel cactus

I saw many of the parks 25 species of cactus along the .5 mile Signal Hill Trail.

11 Petroglyphs Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

Which took me to a rock pile with various petroglyphs left behind by the Hohokam people.

12 Petroglyphs Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

Imagine pecking away at the desert varnish to leave a message behind.

13 Petroglyphs Signal Hill trail Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

Looks like some modern folks decided to leave their messages as well.

14 Saguaro NP AZ (1024x768)

There’s some very crazy cactus out there, but that’s for another post.

15 Susie & Gaelyn El Molinito Resturant Tucson AZ (958x1024)

In the mean time, I had a Very important lunch date with fellow blogger Susie of Arabia at El Molonito in Tucson. We talked for at least three hours just like old friends. What a treat to meet this amazing woman who moved with her husband to his so culturally different homeland.


RoeH said...

There's something about meeting fellow bloggers. Like we've always known them. I was in Saguaro National a long time ago. Sounds like it's time for another trip down there. LOVE how you travel and camp everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I enjoyed seeing all of the cactus.

Small City Scenes said...

First of all--what fun to meet a fellow blogger. Good for you and Susie.

I love all the different type of cacti. So neat. And the petroglyphs--wonderful. We should keep them sacred and people should not deface them. Grrrrr. MB

Diane said...

Great meeting another blogger, it is such fun catching up with people we have never met but feel like we know.

Those prickly beasts have some very interesting shape. Love the rocks with the petroglyphs on. A bit more of your local history. Diane

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Saguaros are my favorites! Love the Saguaro National Forest. Petroglyphs are fun to find and experience. Gotta get back there!

Barb said...

Hi Gaelyn, You're having one adventure after another on your trip to TX and taking me along, too. When we were in Tucson last spring, Bob rode his bike through Saguaro Nat'l Park. That sunset from your campsite was awesome. Glad you got to visit with a Blog Friend.

Sondra said...

love the saguaro I have the park on my bucket hopefully soon--I was in s.AZ last spring and saw these in bloom, that was so cool...Great petroglyphs--
SO are you working at Saguaro NP this summer?

Martha Z said...

Some day I'd like to see these in bloom, I wasn't there at the right time when I visited my niece.
It's great that you were able to visit with Susie.

Pat said...

I don't know which excited me more...the cacti or Susie, whom I visit on occasion (in cyberland). I must definitely come down your way.

eileeninmd said...

Gaelyn, what a neat place to hike. I enjoyed the photos and all the cactus. It is wonderful you got to meet Susie, what a great visit.

swan said...

I love your photos - never miss a post. But the last few months they have been so dark. What changed? . . . swan . . .

Elaine said...

Another great place to stop and so nice that you got to meet up with a fellow blogger! It's good that you are taking your time on your trip to Texas and enjoying the journey.

Janie said...

The saguaro is a fascinating plant. Cool petroglyphs, too. And how fun to meet up with Susie of Arabia.

Kathie Brown said...

Gaelyn, you have been all over my stomping grounds! I have never seen those petroglyphs, however! Sure wish I could have been there to meet you. Perhaps next year!

p.s. yes, these photos are dark.

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