Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2/8 Desert Hike at Usery Mountain Park

I took advantage of a short ranger walk today.  The path was a mile long, but very flat, so doable for me.  Unfortunately, the ranger had done a lot of hiking so walked faster than I and a few others could handle, especially since we kept stopping to take photos.  

Who says the desert is empty?  This one looks pretty full.  

This is what happens to a barrell cactus when it looses it top bud--it splits in two and produces an attached twin

It has been extraordinarily dry in this part of Arizona, so I was really surprised to see this rock covered with green lichen.  

Here is a closeup.  Will have to try to find out the name of this lichen. 

And this is a packrat's burrow.  Notice that he or she has carefully brought in and arranged a fence of cholla buds to protect his home from snakes and other predators.  Pack rats are a serious problem for campers in the desert because they like to get under vehicle hoods and chew wiring.  I have not had any problems, but many people put strings of lights underneath their vehicles to dissuade them.

Best friends. 

I found out that this is a buckhorn cactus.  I posted one a few days ago and called it a staghorn, but that is not correct. 

As the sun gets low just before it sets, it lights up Slash Mountain in oranges and yellows. I took this photo from my campsite.

Sun has set behind my rig. 

As you can see, the campsites in this place are really spread out, so you end up feeling as if you have a whole chunk of desert to yourself.  There is no one across the street from me and the next camper is quite a ways away.

I'm headed to Tucson, but will be back here for another ten days in March.


  1. Thanks as always for beautiful pictures. Some day I hope to see a saguaro cactus in person!

    1. Then, you just need to make it so. By RV, or by car, makes no difference. Figure out a way and do it!