Straddling both sides of Tucson are both halves of Saguaro National Park. Named after the unique and beautiful saguaro cactus, which are found in very few places in the United States. Saguaro are the cactus most people think of when hearing the word cactus. We discovered that virtually none of these armed cacti look as perfect as represented in things like the Taco Time sign.
We were struck by how beautiful and downright hostile this desert is. Everywhere you look there’s something waiting to poison, poke, bite, sting, or scrape you. It was fun to recall the names of the various plants and cacti that we learned about during our last visit to the southwest.
Since the park is too fragile/dangerous to hike through, we visited the nearby Desert Museum, a great place to get up close with the creatures and plants that call the desert home. We saw mountain lions, javelinas (think wild pigs), and many kinds of spiders & snakes. We were also able to see a raptor free-flight demonstration featuring a family of Harris Hawks who uniquely hunt in packs. This was a very nice, zoo-like, museum, that we highly recommend if you are in the Tucson area.
During our evening drive in the East section of the park, we enjoyed one of Arizona’s legendary sunsets. The drive also gave us our first three rattlesnake sightings, quickly reducing Lisa’s excitement to see a wild one close-up after it coiled and rattled at her.