I went for a January pre winter storm (in Tucson read: rainstorm) hike in the Tucson Mountains. Cactus spines and arms stood out in front of the approaching clouds.
Cactus Top and Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)
Saguaro Cacti in the Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)
In the 1930’s, Sherry and Ruby Bowen homesteaded a section of the Sonoran Desert in what is now the Tucson Mountain Park. Stone walls and fire places are all that remain of their ranch house. Empty windows look out to saguaro cacti and mesquite trees on the hills around these ruins along the Yetman Trail.
Bowen Stone House View, Tucson Mountain Park, AZ (16″x54″)
This February I visited Saguaro National Park West to photograph the petroglyphs around Signal Hill. A mid-winter rainstorm rolled through while I was exploring the Hill and surrounding washes; I tried to take a few panoramas with the rain clouds in the background. In some place, the human effect on the landscape is so ephemeral, but here in the desert even small rock carvings can remain for centuries.
I drove through Saguaro National Park West and the Tucson Mountain Park for the first time in early January. As a Tucson resident, I am accustomed to seeing desert plants scattered around the city, but the number of cacti in Saguaro NP West is staggering. Giant saguaros grow right up to the bases of the Tucson Mountain Park cliffs, creating a forest of towering green cacti. I stopped around sunset to take two panoramas of the moonrise over the Tucson Mountains, one as the sun cast a golden glow on the cliffs, the other just after sunset.