Sunday, February 17, 2013

Oceanpax to "Desertpax"...and cactus wisdom.

At the trailhead.
It seems it's been a long time since we last posted. The past couple of weeks, however, have provided a "dry spell" - and that's been a good thing. The warm, generous, south-western hospitality of friends gave three of us the opportunity to spend some time in the "wilderness". While the sea kayaks patiently waited once again, we returned to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. In the stark and lonely mountains in Saguaro National Park to the north and west of Tucson, the giant "inhabitants" of this vast, complex and fragile ecosystem have long stood as lonely sentinels.

The Saguaro (pronounced suh-wah-roh) are giant cacti that can weigh more than 6 tons, grow to over 60 feet tall, and live for a century and a half. In this unforgiving environment, where the days can feel like an oven, and the nights like a fridge, they live full and abundant lives.

There are good reasons for this. Their cactus "wisdom" is, perhaps, best expressed by Ilan Shamir.


Stand tall

Reach for the sky

Be patient through 
the dry spells

Conserve your resources

Think long term

Wait for your time to bloom

Stay sharp

- Ilan Shamir

If the Saguaro could speak, I imagine they would share stories of the "whose who" in the neighbourhood: six species of rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, tortoises and turtles, lizards, kangaroo rats, leopard frogs, hawks, hummingbirds, road runners, bobcats, and black bears. 

The Saguaro cacti outlive them all.

Maybe we should, indeed, be attentive to their wise words?

They seem to "whisper" in the silence of the desert.
Joan and L, on the trail.
Nice place for lunch...
...on top of Wasson Peak, overlooking Tucson.
Lat / Lon: 32.27330 N / 111.146 W (4687 ft  / 1429 m)
Almost a "moonscape".
A "Jumping Cholla" - I got one of these stuck in my arm - 
but nothing a young park ranger
with protective gloves couldn't pull out - ouch!

Joan, between a rock and a hard place
in Phoenix South Mountain Park.
Just kidding - been there, done that. :(
Looking for tomorrow's challenge.
Yes, I think we will try to be attentive to the Saguaro's wisdom.


Thank you J and P for opening your Maricopa "base camp" to Joan, L, and myself and for your always warm and kind hospitality. It's very special, and much appreciated.

On the "edge", near the "Airport Vortex", Sedona.

PS The kayaks are looking forward to being back in the water this week with some cool graphics from  "Art and Sea" in Oban, Scotland. 


  1. Cool pic of Joan heading through the rock...I am sure I would have fit...well maybe. LOL
    Can't wait to see the kayak all decked out!

  2. Yeah, you would have "fit" just fine, L. :) D.

  3. Good pics Duncan. L, I'm sure you would have fit between the rocks, but I doubt you would have been able to crawl on all fours. Loved having you guys. We miss you all.
    J & P

  4. Thanks J & P. I will admit, we looked pretty dumb crawling on all fours. I was just worried about snakes I couldn't see! Loved visiting with you. Many thanks. :) D.

  5. From the rain and wind of Scotland to the Arizona deserts - you're certainly getting variety this winter! :o)

    Kind regards

  6. Yes that's certainly true, Ian. And as you well know, there is such unique beauty in every environment, even amidst the storms that blow in from the sea or across the desert. Warm wishes to you across the miles. Duncan.