Cactus of the Week: Saguaro

Carnegiea gigantea

The saguaro is a tall tree height cactus found throughout southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The saguaro can grow to 70′ tall but on average, a mature saguaro will reach 30′.

Saguaros flower in April through June and produce ruby colored fruits. Saguaros eventually grow arms (those without arms are called spears) and can be as old as 150 years old!

El Camino Del Diablo

Last week we had a really nice rain in the desert so Forrest and I decided that it was a perfect time to go out and drive El Camino Del Diablo since the dust wouldn’t be an issue. I’m so so glad we did: it definitely wasn’t dusty and we even saw a ton of wildflowers out on a hike.

El Camino Del Diablo traverses the desert between Ajo and Wellton (Yuma) passing through Organ Pipe National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range. To drive the Camino, you need to obtain a free permit (available at several locations) but fortunately the agencies work together so you only need one.

We left before the sun was up and were treated to some beautiful silhouette skylines and awesome views of the Bates Mountains as the sun rose.

As we were driving along through the Pinal Sands, F asked me how close we were to Mexico. I took a guess based on the map and said “Four.” As it turned out, he was able to see the border fence. After the morning in the car we were all ready for a hike so off we went. The hike was awesome! The border was only about a mile away and the flowers were beautiful.

As we left the Refuge and entered the Goldwater Range, we stopped to do some exploring at the Tinjas Altas. There’s some beautiful rock with pools in it there. Definitely worth the detour off the main Camino.

Happy 3rd Birthday Sprocket!

Sprocket is a slightly spoiled dog. Last Monday, we had a BBQ to celebrate his 3rd birthday. He even had three doggie guests there to help him eat his dog birthday cake. I wasn’t super successful in taking pictures with all the action going on but here’s the birthday boy before his guests arrived:

Here’s what was happening once they showed up:

A Walk Up An Arroyo

Sometimes we don’t set off with a destination in mind. We get in the Jeep with the dog, some water, the camera and go. Somewhere along the line we’re bound to see a cool old car, a mine shaft, a new road, or a mountain. On a beautiful desert January day, we spotted an arroyo that needed some exploring, so we went.

Sprocket loved having his Ruffwear boots to protect him from the cacti spines! He’s a trooper when we have to help him but it’s nice to have a little bit of protection.

Sprocket’s Grip Trex boots were provided by Ruffwear.

Desert Car

One of the things I find really amazing about the desert having grown up in the wet Pacific Northwest is how long things are preserved out here. When you stumble upon something in the wet woods, there’s often nothing much left. Here, there’s often enough left for some awesome pictures.

On one of our latest adventures, we found this old car parked off of a BLM road. The interior had been burnt out but I still found plenty to take pictures of.

Childs Mountain

A couple weekends ago, we joined in on a sunset tour of Childs Mountain. The road to the top is usually gated but Cabeza Prieta opens the gate once a month for the public. The views were incredible and made us want to get out and explore, explore, explore!


One of our morning coffee buddies, “Boozer,” asked if we would take him out in the Jeep so that he could show us some of the cool things to be seen in the desert around Ajo. We happily agreed and last week, Forrest, Boozer, Kathy, and I set off on a little adventure—Boozer promised to show us some morteros (holes in rocks where the Papago indians used to grind mesquite pods into meal).

Tour guide Boozer

Coke Ovens Ride: Superior, AZ

The morning after our Picketpost hike, we went on an adventure with a group of dirt bike riders Forrest found via ADV Rider. I don’t ride motorcycles but Forrest arranged for me to have a seat in one of the side-by-sides along for the ride.

Forrest really enjoyed being back on the bike and we both really liked seeing more of the area. It looked like there was tons of exploring to be done out there!

I was way more relaxed than I look here…

Thanks so much to everyone for being so welcoming! We both had a really great time.

Sonoran desert scenery
Someone buy this guy some gear already