The Sonoran Desert is beautiful. I don’t remember what I expected when I first moved here in 1993 to go to Grad School, but it’s even more amazing than I thought back then.I have since learned so much more about the desert and love it more as I learn about the adaptations of the plants and animals.
My first view of the desert was similar to the one above. The mountains surround Tucson, so no matter where you are, you can see one of the mountain ranges, if not more. The Catalina mountains are to the North, the Rincons to the East, the Tucson Mountains to the West, and the Santa Ritas to the South.
I made it a point to learn all I could about this beautiful place. And I took a lot of pictures then and still do. The closest mountains, and the biggest, are the Catalinas. A drive to Mount Lemmon at around 10,000 feet is heaven in the summer when the temperatures in the valley routinely reach 100 or more. Mount Lemmon might get into the low 80s on a hot summer day but a walk into the pine forest is cooling and soothing.
There are so many different plants and animals here that there is no way to list them all, but here are a few of the ones I captured in pictures:
These are Saguaros (pronounced sawaro) , perhaps the cactus best known for being here in the desert. They grow mostly on the southern slopes, bloom in May, and fruit in June. Arms appear when the cactus has reached at least 50 years of age, so the one in the middle with many huge arms is much, much, older than that.