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Getting Cozy with Cacti

March 22-23, 2019

It’s been an item on my bucket list for as long as I can remember… to see a large cactus, otherwise known as the Saguaro Cactus. As we pulled into Tucson, we saw a few here and there, but it wasn’t until we were driving up the mountain side to the NP West, that we could see the forest of cacti. Best birthday ever!

Our lives have obviously changed a lot since we set out. We have tried to do away with traditional “gifts” for holidays and instead focus more on experiences. It makes total sense when living in a 40ft rig with no extra storage for unnecessary crap. So this was my first birthday that I did not receive a material gift, instead I received lots of love and time with my family. We went to Saguaro NP, took a beautiful hike with amazing wildflowers, and had a great dinner. As I have gotten older, there’s not much that I want or need. The few things that I want are goals that we are actively working towards. If there’s something I need, well, then I get it myself. After celebrating past holidays with the girls, we realized just how much stuff they receive, which gets lost in the mass amount of other stuff they already have or receive during the same holiday. Do you know what they remembered? Using some of their Christmas money from friends and family for experiences, like riding horses at Disney, getting kissed by a Sea Lion, and hiking through the Lower Antelope Canyons. Even when we move back to a house, I hope to continue with less stuff, it’s ridiculous to me. Spending money on stuff that gets set to the side and forgotten. It’s such a waste. Instead of a bunch of gifts, go somewhere. Explore and learn. Do things that make memories instead of cluttering your house. Everyone’s different, and there’s no right or wrong answer.

The one thing that I will always remember about this hike was the faint sound of buzzing from all of the bees. As we climbed higher, the flowers were everywhere, as were the bees.

Our recommendations for Saguaro NP:

  1. Take the scenic drive around Cactus Forest Loop Drive. It’s spectacular.
  2. Check out the Petroglyphs at Signal Hill Picnic Area. This was the first time we were able to see Petroglyphs and it did not disappoint. There’s something fascinating about seeing something from more than 500 years ago, if not longer.
  3. As I always say, stop by the Visitor’s Center and grab a JR Ranger booklet for your kiddos!
  4. Ask a ranger about a good hike! We were there when the wildflowers were blooming, and thankfully a ranger pointed us in the right direction. Whether it’s during wildflower season, the cacti blooming, or just a random Tuesday, a ranger can recommend the perfect trail.
We love it when a hike rewards you with a great view, and this one was very different from our views in the past.

The desert left a lasting impression on us, especially since we are used to the East Coast. Have you seen a Saguaro Cactus? What did you think?

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