Mission: Cactus -- Our last ditch effort

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
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Trip End May 24, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, May 20, 2011

Okay, so in two years of doing Camfel tours, a semester and a half being in the Southwest, we had not seen a cactus. We're talking tall, stand-up, saguaros. There are plenty of prickly pears and the like. But we want the kind that we northerners think of when we think cactus. We're convinced there are no such cactuses in Texas. From our experience in New Mexico, there were none there, either. So, on our drive back to California, we decided to take a new route back. Instead of driving on the 40 back to LA, we dropped down to I-10 through Phoenix. WE WERE GOING TO FIND A CACTUS! If we couldn't find a cactus on this trip, then we would conclude they don't exist.

Our first point of interest along our route was not a cactus, but the Montezuma Castle, a river-side fortress made by cliff-dwelling Native Americans. You've likely seen a picture of it before. If not, you can see ours!

Not long after that, the desert terrain outside our window sprouted a cactus in the distance! Then several. Then, within minutes, they were like weeds along the side of the road. There were just as many saguaro cacti out there there were any other desert plant. Kelsey needed to have a picture with one. Fortunately, we could pull off on any exit and find cacti just standing there. At one just exit, we found an abandoned gas station. There was a literal field of cacti behind it, so we had a photoshoot.

We could not believe how enormous these cacti were. They were as tall as trees. You can tell by the scale of us standing next to them, but we estimated some to be 25-30 feet. Amazing. Completely worth the detour, and a surprisingly fulfiling capstone to the end of tour. Enjoy!
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