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:
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.
But the saguaro cacti are only a part of the local flora:
The plant life here is, in fact, quite abundant and diverse.
The perfect saguaro, with a small prickly pear at its feet…
…but I recognize some other plants too.
Here we see an agave and my old friend the barrel cactus.
And here are two barrel cacti, one of them with a red blossom on top. They have a cholla for a neighbor.
The red blossom up close:
Does it turn yellow when it fully opens?
Maybe Lois or Val can tell us?
Facing the east, as you can see, there are a good many houses here…
…though sometimes they’re difficult to see:
They appear to be buried in the plant life, with only the roof visible:
Occasionally you get a good glimpse of a part of the house…
…but not much more.
I like Tucson.