Jen’s Journal – November 15, 2019

Day 139: Lost Dutchman State Campground, Apache Junction, AZ

Sunny and warm.

The Saguaro National Park is pretty cool, if you like different types of plants. We arrived just in time for a ranger walk around the plants in front of the Visitor Center.

I learned many neat facts, like:

  • Saguaro is pronounced sa WAR o. They suck up water after a rain. Lots of desert creatures live in them.
  • Jojoba is pronounced ho HO ba and the oil from the plant replaced the whale oil that people used to use
  • All 50 states have prickly pear plants
  • The Sonoran desert has 17 species of hummingbirds. I know in Michigan we only have one
  • How to tell a Cholla (pronounced CHOY ya) from a prickly pear and a barrel cactus from a saguaro
  • Although the javelina has a pig snout and looks like a pig, it is not a pig. It is a peccary
  • And much more, including what animals live here in the Sonoran desert, which is the most diverse desert in the world

I’m glad I did not come here in the summer.

I’ve only seen the Sahara desert from the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” and nature programs, but it’s nothing like this desert. This desert is full of plants and life. I don’t know how coyotes and horses run in this stuff. It is full of prickly cactus spines. You will easily get caught by the barbs of a cholla if you wander just a little off the road. Everything in this picture has a sharp pointed thing that can hurt you.

Arizona has mountains, but they seem to be off in the distance and not super tall, although we’ve seen some that are more than a mile high. The mountains here delay the sunrise and bring on the sunset early. It seems though that we are in a flat open area most of the time.

This is a field of Pima cotton we passed on our way to the park.

We grabbed a campsite early and relaxed and did some walking. I practiced knitting and Tom read his Clive Cussler book. We sat outside until 10 pm or so, wearing fleece jackets.

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