29Aug21 photos: Saguaro National Park

We took a day trip down to Saguaro National Park, only about a 90-minute drive from home. None of us had ever been there, and even at 105 degrees, the park did not disappoint.

The big, puffy thunderheads didn’t offer any shade since they weren’t overhead, but they were fabulous for photographs.

With all the rain we’ve had, the park was very green and flowers were abundant. I doubt it typically looks the way it does now. And with the flowers were butterflies! Most were yellow like the one below, but we saw them in several colors including a handful of monarchs. I’ve never seen so many butterflies outside of a man-made butterfly exhibit.

I love cactus skeletons, and in a preserved space full of cactus, there are bound to be a few. What struck me about this one was the shell remaining on the top. The bottom foot or so was the same, but the entire middle was bare.

On a stretch of freeway maybe half a mile to a mile long, the roadside was covered with flowers. We stopped on the way home and I took a few shots. (Not on the freeway.)

The big camera didn’t come with us hiking. A hike isn’t really a hike if I bring the camera because I need to stop frequently. I did take some shots with my phone, though.

We hiked in a wash trail. It was fun to shoot up to ground level for perspective I can’t usually get. (Also: more skeletons!) The shot on the left is landscape orientation—click on it to see the full shot. (The portrait shots are cropped a bit as well, but it doesn’t affect their look as drastically.)

Because of all of the fairly recent rain, there were little streams of running water and small waterfalls. While those were a delightful surprise, we were even more excited to see tadpoles in the pooled water. Can you find them here?

At the biggest pool, we saw a small red frog (no photo—he was shy). I wonder how many of these tadpoles are going to turn into little frogs like that!

Continuing in the realm of wildlife, we saw what was probably a turkey vulture. It let us get closer than I expected, which was a little unnerving.

Also, the photo on the left justifies how I’ve drawn birds in flight for most of my life. It’s a landscape-oriented shot, cropped in the preview. Click on it to see our friend in flight.

Here’s a look at part of the trail. Many of the little streams had algae in or near them, and many other places had dried up algae, showing where water had recently been. Water on the left side of the trail, algae crossing the trail. Also: cactus! greenery! mountains! thunderheads!

Here, the tip of an ocotillo on the left. This much water in the right season would yield the stalks covered in orange flowers which is a bit rare and just fantastic to look at. But seeing them in full green was great, too. On the right, cactus growing out of the rock wall.

One last shot:

We will definitely be going back!

If you know of any great places to camp near there, we’re taking recommendations. There doesn’t seem to be any camping in the park.

1 thought on “29Aug21 photos: Saguaro National Park”

Leave a Comment