Tucson

Hi everyone,

I’m still in San Diego. I’ll report on my activities here in a few days.

Reading: Mormon Country by Wallace  Stegner. Originally published in 1942, this essay is fascinating, if you’re interested in this type of thing. I am.

Article currently working on: Bivalve and barnacle larvae distribution driven by water temperature in a Mediterranean lagoon

Editing note added on October 14th: Captain has alerted me to the fact that I’d misnamed the saguaro cactus as organ pipe (which is yet another type of cactus). I’ve corrected the mistake here.

 

September 25th – 30th

Tucson is hot. Very hot, even this late in the season. In the high nineties F (36 to 38° C). And it doesn’t cool down very much at night.

I arrive around lunch time from Patagonia and find a motel. I plan to stay through the weekend as I have an appointment to get Van serviced tomorrow morning and to see a chiropractor myself on Monday. Yes, my back has been giving me trouble.

I spend the next several days visiting the area, getting my errands done, working on some papers and working on the blog. One day I drive up to Summerhaven, in the eastern mountains. It’s much cooler up there. Also, I visit some of the local restaurants. And early in the morning I ride my bike around the city center and on the university campus (which is very impressive, by the way).

I find some of the houses in Tucson to be really interesting, particularly in the northern hill area. Many of the houses in the city center look traditionally American, but with the predominating desert vegetation (of course). However, to the north of the city lie the Catalina Mountains, and below them many a posh and intriguing neighborhood. There, I have a hard time seeing the houses due to the heavy vegetation that surrounds them.

The Catalina Mountains in the late afternoon light:

Catalina Mts. 1

The mountains extend from west to east, the entire length of the city.

 

The area gives me my first photo of a saguaro cactus. I saw my first one driving into the city from the east. Apparently they’re a low altitude plant, so we don’t see them in Patagonia or Portal.

Catalina 3 + cactus

 

But the saguaro cacti are only a part of the local flora:

Cacti 1_organ pipe + vegetation

Cacti 2 + vegetation

The plant life here is, in fact, quite abundant and diverse.

 

The perfect saguaro, with a small prickly pear at its feet…

Cacti 4_perfect organ pipe

…but I recognize some other plants too.

 

Here we see an agave and my old friend the barrel cactus.

House 2 + agave + barrel + vegetation

 

And here are two barrel cacti, one of them with a red blossom on top. They have a cholla for a neighbor.

Barrel + cholla

The red blossom up close:

Barrel  + red blossom

Does it turn yellow when it fully opens?

Barrel + yellow blossom

Maybe Lois or Val can tell us?

 

Facing the east, as you can see, there are a good many houses here…

Catalina 5_many houses_east

…though sometimes they’re difficult to see:

House + cacti

 

They appear to be buried in the plant life, with only the roof visible:

Houses 3 bis...

 

Occasionally you get a good glimpse of a part of the house…

Catalina 2

…but not much more.

 

I like Tucson.

 

4 thoughts on “Tucson

  1. My sister lives in Tucson, and I’m always amazed by the plant diversity. The Cactus you call “Organ Pipe” is also called the “Saguaro” cactus, and they are amazing. Were you able to walk up the Sabino Canyon while in Tucson? It’s a beautiful canyon with a creek and many, many varieties of cacti. Birds build nests on the Saguaro, particularly when they are in bloom.

    Like

  2. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a
    look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m
    book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Wonderful blog and excellent design.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s