Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More easy Tucson hikes. "Easy."

I've been following some folks who are tearing up the trails here in Tucson. By "follow," I mean I sit here and read about them tearing up the trails here in Tucson. They've been teasing me with their fancy-schmancy crested saguaros until I couldn't bear it any more.

You seen on saguaro, you seen 'em...hey, you seen my nest?

I headed for Tucson Mountain Park and a nearly-sure bet to see one. Crested (cristate) saguaros are a special kind of weirdo, but I'm pretty fond of all these desert oddballs.

This cactus is not named Russ

WHAT THE...nevermind. I don't want to know, and you don't, either.

I'm not a long-distance hiker (yet), but Pam estimated 1.6 miles one way to the crested. Three point two miles - I can still do that, right? Right? There was a lot of self pep-talk going on inside my bonnet.

The first part of the hike is in sight of civilization, although not much of civilization was hiking the trail that day. I don't mind being alone on a trail. I prefer it, except when I want someone there to carry me the rest of the way.

Once around the bend, the trail becomes pure wilderness beauty. A jet overhead will remind you that you're not all that far from the 21st century, but the jet passes and you're alone again. An hour later, a helicopter passes directly overhead, reminding you that he's not there to rescue you, keep walking slacker.

I pass a cardio-hiker and I make him stop. Did you see a crested saguaro back there? Indeed he had, and he told me where to look for it.

It's funny how a lazy mind works. If Pam had told me the Great Crested was two miles into a trail (it is), I would have gone to see the one in the Sonora Desert Museum parking lot. But, 1.6 miles? No problem!  This is the power of always forgetting to take a map because you're pretty sure you've memorized the way.

I may or may not have been on the ground here. I don't like to say.

At last!

Now it was time to head back, and there's never a choice there.

It's all been worth it, though, because I captured the elusive Crested Saguaro. Sure, I had to walk for hours to see one, but that's okay because


 Parking lot

I decided to walk into the labyrinth. It's a symbolic thing. I kicked down the walls to leave. It's an exhaustion thing.

THIS JUST IN: Lisa from Metamorphosis Road says: 
It's funny how almost every hike we've done in the Tucson area has turned out to be longer than the posted mileage...don't believe everything you read!   

ARG! There is no way to know how far I really walked. I estimate 22 miles.


Pin It


TravelBug-Susan said...

Toooooo funny. I'm so happy to hear you made it to the crested saguaro. Never be afraid of longer can do it! There, I said it. It must be true.

Soaring Sun said...

Holy cereus giganteus cristate! Nice mutant cacti pics ya got there.

The Odd Essay said...

I really think a lot of those cacti are flipping you off or making some other obscene gesture.... you don't hear anything giving you a raspberry while you're walking along, do you?

Anonymous said...

Love the mutant saguaro with a prickly pear growing out of it!

Brenda A. said...

See I knew I was right....they really aren't all that elusive. You just have to get that first one under your belt. Then they start popping out at you when you least expect 'em! :)

Russ Krecklow said...

I am really happy to hear that those weird cactus things don't have common names like mine! Donna will be thrilled to know that, too. Since she is easily entertained by photos of desert plants, I am glad for your clarification so she won't fall down laughing when she sees your post. You should have stayed with the cactus in the parking was lots closer...besides, you would not need to resole your boots if you had done that. Don't Ducks usually walk barefoot in the sand?

ain't for city gals said...

At least 22 miles!! ha! Like the sign says when you start down the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch...going down is optional...coming up is not!...I have seen several people turn around at that point!...

DeeBev said...

I follow your blog and love your posts. I think the last pic said "I 'heart' you" because I saw a "heart".

Judy and Emma said...

Too funny, Wonder Woman. :)

Kimbopolo said...

LOL! Hike on, girl. Hey - you make that Saguaro look good!

Lisa said...

;-) All for the love of the crested (and pretty much any unique saguaro!)!!!! I am addicted, Pam is addicted; I think you've fallen under their mesmerizing spell too! Must be something in the air around here...

Where are you staying now?

Donna K said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA...sorry, I fell down laughing anyway. Someday we've got to stop picking on Russ...someday...not just yet....someday...

154275 said...

Those giant plant things BELONG in a desert somewhere, far from polite society; they are disturbing.

Remind us how that Amazon deal works-the website, not the river- should we want to buy books.

Soaring Sun said...

There are many disturbing things to be found in Arizona...where even the cacti are armed!

longdog2 said...

I think we would make great hiking partners. Don't let travelbug-Susan fool you. She can go for miles and miles. It's scary. lol

Allison said...

I have been all over the Tucson Mountain park for years and have never seen a crested cactus out there. Of course, we're out there walking as fast as we can watching where we put our feet. Perhaps if we were to look up once in awhile....

Teri said...

Maybe you need a fancy-dancy electronic pedometer, but then maybe you would turn around sooner and not find such cool things.

Danielle said...

It looks like a sea plant!

Sounds and looks like an awesome hike, even if it was long.

Me and My Dog said...

I've never seen a crested saguaro - they are weird, aren't they? I'll have to look for one as I travel. I'd love to get a photo. :)

JO said...

Way to go Roxanne! That was a good one too. Never saw one like before only the once with the crowns.
Off to Tubac Art Festival tomorrow. Are you heading up there this week anytime?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Jo, I hadn't heard about the festival until now - thanks for the heads-up. I may just toodle on down there.

Barbara, they are the oddest of the oddballs. I'm told that one in 250,000 is crested like that.

Danielle, it was a good hike. I enjoyed it, and was pretty proud of myself that I didn't lay in the path and wait for someone to trip over me.

Both good points, Teri. How can a pedometer tell if I'm climbing or flailing? Might I be kicking my legs in the air like a dying cockroach and racking up miles?

Allison, if you were walking as fast as I can, you'd have plenty of time to look up. I actually stop while I'm looking up, because of wanting to see where my feet go like you do.

LD2, if four miles sounds like a grueling test of endurance to you, then we would be perfect hiking partners. When Susan says to you "you can do it!" does it really become true?

Sue, it got hot enough that I exercised my right to bare arms, too.

Rodney, that must be why they keep them out here. *looks right, then left*No polite society that I can see.

Amazon: Anytime you use that particular link to shop, anything you buy that trip will be credited to me, and I'll get a commission. You don't pay anything extra - Amazon picks up the tab for my cut. If you want to make it easy, so you don't have to start from this page, make my link your computer's Amazon shortcut. Thanks for asking!

Donna, I don't want to stop picking on Russ prematurely. You let me know when it's really time - I won't listen to his objections until then.

Lisa, I think it's cactus pollen in the air.

Kim, it doesn't bear thinking about whether that's a compliment, so I think it sounds like one. A fine, old specimen, and then there's the cactus.

Lol, Judy! The outfit is tight, but it's part of the job.

Thanks for reading, DeeBev. You're right; that does look like a heart. Aw. It's a Valenspine!

AFCG, it just requires SO MUCH self-knowledge to make those decisions. Luckily, I have enough to not go into the Canyon.

Russ, Ducks have delicate little webbed paddles that prefer beach sand. Otherwise, it's extra-wide hiking boots for us. You know, I was sure Donna wouldn't laugh since I made it clear it WASN'T you.

Brenda, you're saying they're everywhere. I've got my eyes peeled now.

Bleen, I'm sure there's a logical, perhaps bird-related, explanation. I prefer to imagine a tryst between starcrossed lovers.

Sharon, I assumed it was the Razzberry Rattler. You're saying I was being heckled?

Susan, you travelbug, I'm not afraid of the hikes. I'm afraid of unexpectedly stopping the hike before the end. I'm afraid of creating a travel hazard along the trail. I'm afraid of being the warmest place in the night desert when I can't walk another step.

John and Pam Wright said...

SO excited that you saw one!!! Glad you didn't get lost. We have started using a GPS while hiking. Every hike is longer than they say. But look at all the exercise you got!!!

Just loved reading your rendition of the hike. Laugh out loud funny. Great job!

Pat said...

very nice. I liked the paddle cactus growing out of the one and the other one with the hole in the center. I hear there's some sights to see at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I think you're ready for it.

Janie and John said...

Reading your blog always makes me smile! :)

Sherry said...

I know, I'm late to the party AGAIN but this time I've been held hostage in nocellnointernetville aka Flamingo. I've escaped but only temporarily to say that you have to quit this stuff about not being in good shape. I can see you look great so cut it out. Love that labyrinth. How far do I have to go to walk it??

The Good Luck Duck said...

Well, you're very kind, Sherry. Will you come get me when I get over-confident and run into the Grand Canyon, as Pat is suggesting? I will come rescue you from the Land of Not.

:D Thanks, Janie - I'm glad!

Pat, I'll bet there are Crazy Cresteds in Phoenix, right? And, I'll head into the canyon if you'll send a burro for me.

Thanks for the directions, Pam! When I spotted it, I was as happy as if I were the first hiker to ever see it. The GPS makes good sense. I did pull out my phone to use its map, and all it would tell me was "you seem to be somewhere."

Margaret Perrottet said...

You gotta watch out for these "easy hikes" - they'll kill you. My marine son has taken me on some "easy" hikes, and I'm lucky to still be here to be able to post this. As usual, great post - love your writing!

The Good Luck Duck said...

I hear ya! But, man, if you can't believe the Marines... Oh, the oblivion of youth and fitness.

And, thank you! I'm glad.