Here are a handful of photos taken at Saguaro National Park in Arizona. The Park is one of three National Parks located in the State of Arizona (along with Grand Canyon National Park and Petrified Forest National Park). Saguaro is located in southeastern Arizona and preserves large portions of the Sonoran Desert. The highlight and its namesake is the giant saguaro cactus. The Park consists of two distinct areas flanking Tucson, Arizona (simply labeled as east and west).
Neal (“I”) visited Saguaro National Park on a Sunday in January following a Saturday ultramarathon in the Phoenix area (more on that in the future). With a flight departing back to Denver at 4:00 p.m., there was unfortunately not enough time to explore all that Saguaro has to offer. Some advanced research made pretty clear that the west side was the best option for the limited time.
The drive from Phoenix was a little over 100 miles and the time flew by checking in with both my parents in the Washington, DC area and Margaret back in Denver. I took the exit off of I-10 and quickly realized I needed all my senses to soak in the increasing welcoming of saguaros as I approached the entrance to the Park. It seemed like the lifelike limbs of the giant cacti were waving hello and directing me into a world unlike anything I ever experienced.
I stopped by the Visitor Center and picked up a map and bought a patch for my collection. It was a quick drive up a relatively smooth dirt road (the rented Toyota Corolla had no problem) to the Valley View Overlook Trail. I completed close to 33 miles (52k) on my feet the prior day so this short and groomed trail was perfect. The sun permeated the desert landscape and my body and soul.