Last year when we were in the area we visited Saquaro National Park - West. The only national park divided in two sections, this time we head out to the East park.
In the 1920's grazing threatened the giant Saquaros found in only a small region of the United States. Efforts to save these beautiful forests, led by Homer Shantz, resulted in President Hoover designating this area of the Rincon Mountains as a National Monument in 1933. President Kennedy added the Tucson Mountains in 1961, and in 1977 Congress designated over 71K acres as wilderness. The current two sections were established as the Saquaro National Park in 1997.
This area is lovely, but there are a lot fewer saquaros compared to what we've seen. There is however, a lovely variety of chollas, barrel, ocotillo and prickly pear cactus, along with Greasewood bushes and Palo Verde trees. Although we hear birds throughout the park, a single rabbit sighting is our only critter.
|Variations in green.|
|Purple Staghorn Cholla, wispy Palo Verde, majestic Saquaro, spiky Prickly Pear|
|The golden crown of a Fishhook Barrel|
|This Jack Rabbit is huge!|
|One small trail takes us under the wavy rock.|
|What's up there??|
|Multi-layered views from the top.|
|Teddy Bear Cholla tucked among the rocks.|
|The lone "crested" saquaro in this section of the park.|
I figure I'll just look, since we were here a couple days ago, when I took a lot of photos. But the lighting is different, and I can't help but snap several more :-) It is also 20 degrees colder. We turn around when we find the gate to Lake Rose closed. I knew we'd be back, just didn't think it would be so soon!
If you've seen enough rocks, you should bail now.....
|Massive fins wrap around the highway.|
|Line of robots.....|
|Jumbled formation with arch side-car.|
|Hodge Podge of rock|
|Clouds drop into the trees.|
|From the small rock wall across the river bed I can hear and smell the water at Seven Cataracts. I forget to take a pic from a distance, but I find three of the seven with the zoom.|
Tuesday is our last day in Tucson, and it's time to get the Jeeps out in the dirt. The others have appointments in town, but Dave and Sue are with us as we head up Redington Pass. The dirt road is well maintained for the first few miles, then rocks and ruts make it more interesting. The mountains are beautiful so going slow is a pleasure. We make several stops to enjoy the views and take photos.
|Is that a crested saquaro......no :-(|
|The initial climb gives us expansive views of the valley below.|
|Dave takes in the view from an outcropping. The feathery skies add another layer.|
|Sue looks for the water we can hear but not see.|
|More rocks! Sorry :-)|
Crawling over large rocks, through mud and small pools of water, and over deep crevices get us to a creek bed where we stop for lunch. Although I'm hesitant at first, it's so much fun!
|How 'bout here?|
|View with a lunch :-)|
|Comfy waterside seating. (thanks Sue)|
|Race Track Tank|
|The girls walk along the tank.|
|Discussing the return route while the humans wander around on foot.|
|The final puddle jump.|
It's a wonderful Jeep day with fun friends, and the perfect end to our time in Tucson.
John and Pam and Dave and Sue and Lewis all stop by for quick good-bye-for-now's as the sun is going down. We know we'll see all of them down the road - love it!
We have an oil-change appointment first thing Wednesday morning, then on to one of our favorite Arizona stops.