Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easy hiking in Tucson

I headed for Saguaro National Park (West) to do a little hiking. I stopped in at the office to flash my pass and to ask about the elusive crested (cristate) saguaro; did you know a perfect specimen died in September? I never even saw the obituary. Monsoon season made the ground very wet, then they had a 70 m.p.h. wind that caught that non-aerodynamic crest and...crestfallen.

I asked if I could hike to one. He gave me a discreet once-over and suggested it might be a long hike. He did point me to some easy hikes, though, so I waddled off toward Wild Dog Trail.*

*I intended to walk the shorter Valley View Trail, but I got lost. Let's not make a big deal over it.†
†I got to the road and flagged someone down for a map. It was embarrassing. Let's drop it.

The trail goes that way.  Saguaro, you are fired.

















I met up with two guys hiking, and one asked Are you the New Yorker? We compared notes (his axle broke in Ithaca), and we laughed about how "unfriendly" New Yorkers are. After about ten minutes of chatting, it occurred to him that I wasn't hiking with anyone, and he got startled.

Are you alone? Be careful!
Will do! And you have fun!

Since I didn't want to risk two days in a row of reckless behavior like walking unassisted, Annie joined me today on a Robles Pass hike. We meant to do the easy, quick Creosote Loop Trail, but we missed the turn and took the charming Rocky 13 path. It's not a loop, and so we ended up someplace unexpected. There was no one to flag down for a map.



Tee hee! Nice "arm."


Pam from Oh, the Places They Go! told me where to find a nice crested saguaro, and so I shall. What can go wrong?



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46 comments:

longdog2 said...

Wow, that first cactus is a doozy. Maybe you need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs....oh, no, that won't work.

Brenda A. said...

I love how every saguaro has it's own personality. That one is totally wack-a-doodle, and therefore my favorite kind.

I've seen some of the crested ones. Hmmm....where though??? I think maybe one at Tohono Chul. Can't remember where else. Didn't ever seem to me like they were that elusive? Hmmmm........

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

Saguaro ya goin' next?

The Good Luck Duck said...

LD, maybe rocks? Cactus spines?

A friend mentioned one at the Sonora Desert Museum. The ranger referred to it as "in captivity." I suppose they show themselves all over the place until you go looking.

Haha Chinle! Don't know.

Karen Snyder said...

Left a little piece of my heart in Tucson 30+ years ago; always thought I'd go back but no such luck so far. Tonight, with our temp at 12 degrees, I am particularly sorry. :)

Your photos, as always, are great! Love the cactus that looks like a whirligig.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Karen. I can see why a body would return here. Annie has recently said that Tucson is her favorite city, so far.

Grace said...

It's been some beautiful weather for hiking, eh! Glad you're getting out there and taking those saguaro photos. Your captions are the best! The Tucson Botanical Gardens at Grant and Alvernon have a crested saguaro. It might just be worth the trip.
Grace (in Tucson)

Janie and John said...

I found it was easy to get lost when hiking in the Tucson area. Besides the real trail there were alway a half dozen more coming off it.

Russ Krecklow said...

What a guide you had there! Good that you can never get lost...Ducks never do, do they?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Russ, we have magnets in our heads, or something.

Exactly, Janie! This is what I've been saying. A few blazes for the Easterners, please?

Another crested in captivity! I may have to go there yet, Grace. The weather has been great for hiking.

TravelBug-Susan said...

I love reading your blog*
*Especially the asterisks

Donna K said...

Russ lies!!! We once got lost walking the bike trails in Sun River (a housing development/resort area in Central Oregon). Walked right by the back of our rental house twice and never knew it. We were MILES AND MILES (well maybe 1/2 mile) away when we found a map box and were able to find our way home. Don't tell me they don't put up map boxes in the desert!! We'd never make it out alive, especially when they use cacti like the one pictured to provide directions. SHEESH!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Haha Donna! You needed to tie a bright balloon to your back door, but you didn't know it. Lucky you were in Oregon, where you can't dehydrate even if you need to.

I'm glad! *
*It's true.

Allison said...

Go to the University of Arizona, on the northeast side of Old Main. There is an excellent example of a crested saguaro there.

The Good Luck Duck said...

I am completely intimidated by parking there, so I'm self-banned from the University.

JO said...

Great pictures. Maybe you should drop bread crumbs as you go. OH wait not a good idea. I give up.

Gaelyn said...

YOU shouldn't hike alone, without a map. And maybe a better sense of direction. ;)

Great photos and thanks for making me laugh. Hugs

The Good Luck Duck said...

I'm getting those from Amazon tomorrow. Thanks! Bon voyage!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Me, too, Jo. Maybe a ball of twine.

klbexplores said...

No hiking....maybe flying..... what can go wrong?

Nancy said...

We are generally directionally challenged and therefore never leave home without water and a stash of nuts and berries. They come in handy
I'm not saying that because I know this by personal experience that's for sure. Hee!
Nancy

Lisa said...

Great pics! I never get tired of looking at and taking pics of saguaro! They are amazing!

Amanda said...

Ha! This is exactly how we hike- always missing the turn and going the wrong way. It doesn't matter though when the scenery is that gorgeous all around. We're making our way to Tucson next week and I can't wait to check out the national park. Great photos!

John and Pam Wright said...

Sorry you got lost but the maps and trails don't always match up. Hopefully, you found the hike I wrote to you about on the Tucson Mountain Park map. I so hope you locate that double saguaro because it is amazing and right on the trail.

The crest at the Desert Museum was outside the main entrance where you pay. It is perfect and beautiful.

You did get some super pictures. Love Mr. Arms!

Kimbopolo said...

I think I saw that same Saguaro. But I didn't laugh at him - that would only encourage him.

Peter + Beatrix said...

Was this hike in the eastern or the western part of the park. You know there are two parts on either side of the city.

The Good Luck Duck said...

P+B, this was on the western side. Another blogger told me that there was one ON A TRAIL I HIKED on the eastern side. I wasn't looking then, apparently.

Good point, Kim. I never learned that with my son.

Pam, I printed out a map, located the loop, and I've got it in my sights! What could go wrong? I may have to go back to the museum just to see that guy. The ranger referred to it as "in captivity," and I've been laughing inside my head ever since. I didn't want to laugh out loud, because that would only encourage him.

Thanks, Amanda! I'm glad to be reading that other people do this. In the hikes I'm acquainted with, there are serious blazes with important messages, like "you're doing fine," or "you'lll want to turn left here," and "LOOK OUT! THE TRAIL IS ABOUT TO FORK, BUT YOU GO STRAIGHT."

Lisa, they feel friendly to me, but not the kind of friend you hug 'hello.' I love them.

Nancy, when I took the Freeman Homestead trail (eastern), I hadn't eaten, and I couldn't find a single nut anywhere in the car, but I figured it's a mile! what can go wrong? Five minutes later I was completely not seeing the beautiful crested saguaro right along the trail, whose pictures I have since looked at. Where am I? Which way do I turn? Have I wandered into the desert? That car looks just like mine!

FLYING! ARG!

Danielle said...

Great pictures. Love the hazy cactus picture. And how the birds dare to perch on the cactus.

I love to hike alone, and have never had any problems, but then again I am always cautious when I hike alone, have maps etcetera, am conscious about my surroundings, and look around a lot so I don't get lost! :)

I want to see a pic of the crested saguaro.

The Good Luck Duck said...

I hear you saying be cautious, carry a map, look around, stay conscious.

If I have anything to do with it, you will see one here.

wheelingit said...

I'm totally directionally challenged so I feel you! Once I was hiking (with my sis) on a v.small trail in a rather deep canyon when I saw 2 people hiking ~1/2 mile away. I called to them to try and understand where the hell they were going. Turns out they were on the hike while Mrs. Sacagawea here was on a random wilderness wonder. Just a typical day for me really...
Nina

The Good Luck Duck said...

HAHAHA! That's excellent. Yep, this is the situation.

Peter + Beatrix said...

Stupid me! You said it. It was the west side. Alzheimer light, I guess.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Please. I walked RIGHT PAST a crested saguaro, so I won't be cracking wise about this.

Sherry said...

Those trail markers are much better than some I've seen here in the swamp. Ducks must really BEWARE here. Nearly everything around is out to get you.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Ducks are delicious, feathery morsels.

Melissa West said...

Sorry you got lost...it happens :) I look forward to getting out in new places and hiking a bit one me and the hubby are finally able to exit the American dream lie. Living the rat race I never have the energy. I think you are living the life! Both of you always look happy and at peace in your pictures and is expressed by your words and writing.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

That's a loaded question: "What can go wrong?".

Knowing with your talent and ability, you'll find some way to make it happen and then have us all laugh when you tell about it. :c)

dirtyduck said...

"He gave me a discreet once-over and suggested it might be a long hike. He did point me to some easy hikes, though, so I waddled off .."

every one of your posts makes me laugh out loud. cactus are stupid and they hurt.

The Good Luck Duck said...

DD, it makes me very happy to hear from you! Plus, I laugh. Stupid cactus.

Well, Marti, I can at least make something go wrong. It's a proven talent I have.

Hurray Melissa! Dump the rat race!

The Bright's said...

Oh how I am missing the desert and the cactus.

Jill said...

Awesome cacti photos. Thanks!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Sheryl, I've heard California has a thing or two to offer, though.

Thanks, Jill! My pleasure.

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele said...

Hi, I nominated The Good Luck Duck for the Liebster award. Please visit
http://www.theaccidentalenvironmentalist.com

Russ Krecklow said...

Donna tried fastening a balloon to my back door so I wouldn't get lost, but I couldn't see it so I got lost anyway. We did see a coyote while we were wandering around, but we looked real scary at it and it left.

The Good Luck Duck said...

I imagine that balloon was so Donna didn't lose you. And, to put a spring in your step. If you ever need to know, urine can keep coyotes at bay, or attract them. I forget which.

Thanks, Michele!

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