Monday, November 19, 2012

A Desert Walk

Planned to do a short walk in the desert. It was over five miles when I finally got back home.

Looking for flora, fauna, scenic or unusual, the first thing I came across was some CocoPuffs right along the trail. Some one had dropped a few as they were dining their way across the desert. Having some faith in the ten second rule, the found food was left untouched.

Near the base of many saguaros are caked with what looks like mud. Found out from Steve on an earlier hike that is evidence of termites. This cannot be good for the life of a saguaro. On my next visit to the Sonora Desert Museum, I will ask the questions to find out what is known.

There were several specimens of the pencil cholla -- or Christmas cholla -- as I walked the desert. Red is an attractive color. That would mean that it might also be a tasty morsel. However, I know better than to check out this fruit. Note those little hair like spines on the fruit.

The fruit of this barrel cactus does not have those little spines. However, getting the fruit out of those barbs is not easy. In previous taste tests, I've found that it tastes kind of like kiwi-apple. To get the best flavor, make sure the fruit is completely yellow. Today I passed on the taste test and let the birds and javelina have these fruits.

Spines from a dead saguaro provide angularity to this desert scene.

It's always a great day when I can enjoy Nature's beauty; South Dakota Bad Lands, the Four Corners rocky world, the rugged Oregon coast, the open prairie of Montana, the deserts of the Southwest and far too many others to mention.

So much for planning a short hike. Life is great!


  1. Beautiful photos and helpful info as I plan on being in the area this winter. Good to know the blooming times, also.

  2. I'm looking forward to trying the cacti fruit someday...but I'll let someone else harvest them! The Cocoa Puffs look like sheep droppings, I would've been listening for "baas" until I got a closer look!

  3. Sunny, Peak blooming times will vary with the plant. Early April should be good time to see the wild flowers in bloom. There has to be some moisture (rains) each month through the winter to make for good spring blooms. There will be cactus blooming from February onward to the Saguaro show in May.

    Pam and Wayne, No sheep in the desert, but there are desert hare and rabbits. That is the source of the CocoPuffs.

  4. LOL, we see CocoPuffs on our walks as well. Like you, we pretty much leave them alone. Even the dog says 'no thank you' on them.


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