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Tucson – December 2011

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by

I spent a few days in Tucson in December 2011. I saw a lot of cacti – it was pretty outstanding.

This saguaro is trying *so hard*

Well, golly gosh. I had kept saying I would go visit Rax in Arizona, and I finally hoofed (well, flew) out there and we got to spend some time together. Anyway, on the morning of the 8th (December 2011) I headed out to the airport. I took the opportunity to take the the dash to the red line to union station to the flyaway to the airport…good times. fairly smooth, given all those transfers, honestly. I made it safely to Tucson (quick, easy flight) and Rax picked me up at the airport and we went back to the house.

Rax has…a really lovely house. It has a great, shady, open yard, full of wonderful desert things. The interior of the house is nice and cool, with both a great view and an awesome stained glass window in the room up where I was staying. That evening I think we mostly just sat around and hung out, but…various things we did over the course of the weekend that I can’t quite place on a timeline : went to a pokemon CG evening, went to Trader Joe’s (at least twice!), made some food, ate some food, watched some My Little Pony, and just spent a lot of time generally talking.

View from the upstairs bedroom

Stained glass sea creatures

The next morning we had to swing by campus briefly, but then found ourselves wandering through a street fair in Tucson. Lots of things for sale, hand made, mass produced, food, this, that, and other. Some amusing art prints (“Now that food has replaced sex in my life, even I can’t get into my own pants”), etc. We walked the long way down one side, and then the long way back up the other side of the fair, and eventually ended up at Revolutionary Grounds, having coffee and snack.

I took very few photos around Tucson itself

Doubly emblematic of America, or Murica, whichever you prefer

The next day we headed out to Saguaro National Park, to the eastern part. It was really awesome. We did a bit of the drive through the park, and walked along some nature trails. It was really super awesome. The plants out there are amazing. The saguaro and ocotillo, prickly pear and palo verde plants are just awesome, and such desert vistas, over the desert, with the mountains looming behind. It made me really happy to walk out there. Someone had a huge issue on one of the nature trails with the word “monsoon” on the signs…I really can’t tell why. The palo verde trees and mesquite bushes provide cover for the growing saguaros, which eventually take over the habitat, but they then provide habitat for many other animals. So awesome. The desert there is so very full of life.

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)

Someone really hated the word “monsoon” in context here

Cactus growing out of the shade of the bush

We also stopped in at the visitor center, and attended a talk about the various life in the desert, and some information about the small wolf population of the Sonoran desert that they are studying. We were basically the only ones there, so we got our own naturalist talk, which was pretty great 🙂

Yet more cacti!

Desert creature

The next day we headed out of town to the west, which was also a good direction to drive 🙂 The western outskirts of town have lots of nice, large houses, but they also somehow tend to blend into the landscape. Lower profiles and muted color palettes will do that. I was impressed. Also, as you head west, the saguaro trees just start to be *everywhere*. Super dense growth , about as close as I think they can reasonably be, they dot the hillsides up and down, profusely. Continuing to drive west, the road goes up and over a pass ( < a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gates_Pass>Gates Pass, apparently) , giving you an amazing vista as you crawl down the side of the mountain on the other side. From this point, we kept driving until we got do the Arizona-Sonora desert museum, which is a kind of a zoo-qua-natural history type of place. Lots of animals, lots of outdoor exhibits, lots of walking around, and lots of explanation of how many of the desert habitats work. It was pretty great to see all the animals, and just quite pleasant to walk around and enjoy the exhibits. There is even the possibility that we learned something. Maybe.

Other than that, there was sitting around, and eating, and just spending some time together, which was greatly enjoyable, and then, alas, too soon, it was time to go home.

So very many saguaro

Mountain lion

some prairie dogs

a whole family there!

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