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Saguaro National Park

 

The Saguaro is a very unique looking cactus that only exists in the Sonoran Desert of the American southwest and northwest Mexico.  Two large sections of land, one east and one west of Tucson have been established as a National Park to protect the Saguaro.  Saguaro live to be 175 to 200 years of age.  During the first 75 years the cactus grows straight to a height of approximately 7 feet.  At around that age some of the plants begin to develop arms and some plants produce small flowers and fruit near the top.  The oldest plants grow to 50 feet tall and weigh as much as 8 tons.  These are the largest cacti in the United States.

As the Saguaro grows and ages it takes on a life-like or human form and they are generally spaced from each other so that they begin to appear as an "army" of beings standing in formation across the desert and up the rocky hill sides.  As with many things in nature, every Saguaro is unique, so the different shapes and sizes provide endless enjoyment for visitors.

We went on several hikes into the desert to get close to the Saguaro and experience the environment.  Also our Jeep came in handy on a one-way back-country dirt road that took us out into the middle of the desert.

Click on this Saguaro National Park Photographs link to view several pictures of our day in the park.