Saturday, March 19, 2016

3/16 Desert View Trail & Cactus in Bloom

Many of the trees and shrubs in the Sonoran Desert, and a very few of the cactus, are beginning to bloom.  In my posting on 3/7 at the Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson Mountain park, I showed you pictures of mesquite trees with bright yellow flowers and the ocotillo beginning to show pinkish red flowers.  

After the tour to the Quitobaquito spring, I decided to take a hike on the Desert View Trail because I had been told there were some cactus in bloom, so off I went.

This is a buckhorn cholla with red flowers.

And another variety with deep gold flowers. 

I think this is a claret cup cactus.  I was surprised to see it in bloom because almost none of this type of cactus blooms this early.

Not sure what this cactus is, but the pink flowers are very pretty.

The Arizona state tree is the Palo Verde, and nearly all of them have tons of bright yellow flowers right now. 

This may not seem like an interesting photo, but it shows how saguaro cactus use "nurse" plants to get a start in life.  Growing at the base of another shrub or tree gives them a little shade and a slightly cooler environment that helps them as very young plants.  This saguaro is about 2 feet high and is probably at least 35 years old

Both this saguaro and an ocotillo are getting a start in the middle of this same desert shrub.

Somehow, this beehive cactus got its start in a crack in a rock!
 Organ pipe cactus like warm weather without chilly periods, so they are concentrated on the south sides of rocky hills.  You can see how they predominate here.  I could not get close to this cave, but it looks like it might be an old mine.

Some more photos of the trail.

This is a wash that crosses the hiking trail.

OK, confession time.  I got lost on the trail.  Or rather the trail got smaller and branched out, so apparently I took the wrong branch.  For about 45 minutes, I ended up walking cross country, trying to find where the trail was.  I could still see the campground in the distance and the roof of the restroom building near the start of the trail--just couldn't figure out how to get there. Luckily, not everything in the desert has spikes, so I managed to get to the trail again without getting more than a couple small scratches. 

This is the campground in the distance.

Finally found a couple walking on the trail, so I yelled at them and asked them to help me get back on track.  It was a really hot day, and I should have taken my cell phone and walking stick, but I made it back safely.  No snakes, either!


1 comment:

  1. the desert is always beautiful, just more so in the spring.