A Travellerspoint blog

Oct 8, 9 Tucson/Saguaro National Park

Auston Matthews Aunt, Saguaro National Park, Brewery for Lunch, Tucson Walkabout

sunny 29 °C

Our drive from Payson to Tucson was uneventful and we arrived early afternoon at the Prince of Tucson RV Park. 180 sites close to downtown, with good services and only $35 a night.

It was right around 100 F when we arrived so we decided it was a good time to get me a new pair of shorts, so off to the Tucson Mall we went. This mall seems to be thriving, and it might just be that the air conditioning brings people in on hot days. Anyway, found the shorts at Macy's and the clerk, when she learned we were Canadian, asked if we liked hockey. Well, it turns out her nephew just happens to be Auston Matthews, who might just be the one to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup, after an absence of 50 years. Huh, neat little experience!

It cooled off as soon as the sun went down, at least back into the 60's F so sleeping was pretty good. Tucson has exploded in population, and now almost 1 million people call this place home. Urban spread is really apparent here as the town stretches all the way to the Saguaro National Park to the east, more than 15 miles from the centre of town.

Saguaro National Park was our destination for the morning. We visited the Eastern portion of the park. A second portion of the park is located the west of the city.

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The Saguaro is a magnificent beast, which grows almost exclusively in Arizona. The one beside me in this picture is about 60 years old. You should note that I got a new hat while here at the park. My old hat, purchased in Quebec City in 2012 is ready to move on to a new owner. The hat and some clothes I have now replaced will go to a charity bin. Jenny and I have a strict policy of not taking home more than we brought with us on this trip. Buy something, and something has to go.

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Very slow growing, they don't even begin to grow arms until they reach 75 years and they live as long as 150 years.

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The saguaro actually has ribs that help support its weight.

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While we were driving the loop trail at the park this giant grasshopper landed on the car:

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We did two hikes, or about 1 1/2 miles in total, in full sun. The temperature was in the mid 80's, but there was a decent breeze to keep it comfortable. We had promised ourselves lunch at a micro brewery if we got exercise in the morning.

This cactus continually adds fruit to each cluster until they grow so heavy they fall off. The clumps that fall off then root and start a new plant.

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The other interesting thing we learned today is that the seed pods of mesquite trees provided a source of flour to the natives. The seeds were ground with a mortal and pestle and used throughout the year as food.

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Our reward was a visit to this brewery in downtown Tucson. The city has 19 micro breweries. Lunch, plus a pint of beer, for just $9 each...not bad.

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We walked around downtown Tucson looking for sites from the old days, but sadly, most of old Tucson downtown has been replaced, with the exception of this courthouse, which is being renovated.

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This statue of Francisco Villa, in a downtown square is quite impressive, and obviously comes from a time when Mexico and the US were on friendlier terms;

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Lastly, as we were walking back to the car we passed the historical train station. Apparently, on this site, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, shot and killed Frank Stillwell, who was suspected of shooting Wyatt's brother Morgan. I posed with the statues of the shooters.

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We leave Tucson, heading south to Bisbee AZ, in the morning. Another good stop on our travels.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 18:24 Archived in USA Tagged tucson saguaro_national_park

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