Saguaro National Park | 46/59

My whole life – I have pronounced this type of cactus “SA-GUA-RO”.  Turns out, the ‘G’ is silent!  It blew my mind when I found that out.  Luckily I found it out just before we made it to the park, so I didn’t look like a doofus in front of a ranger.  Just goes to show you can learn something new everyday!

For some reason, we showed up to the park, STARVING.  Oh wait, we (or at least Madison and “The Bean”) are ALWAYS starving!  We went into the visitors center, gathered some good trail information, and then came out and ate a few quesadillas.  We stepped out of the rig, set off on the closest trail, The Cactus Garden.  As it turns out, the trail is all paved and only about .2 miles long!  As you can imagine we breezed right through it.  We stepped in to the RV and Madison said, “well that was a good trail, let’s eat!”  So we made another meal within about 15/20 minutes of finishing our first.  And we wonder why I am the one ballooning over here?!

Saguaro National Park is split into two districts – west side and east side.  We spent our first day in the west part.

The short trail we did had all of the different type of cactus and desert plant labeled; each plant was explained a little on a nearby plaque.  It was really interesting to read up on all the different friends, and the different uses each plant has.  We definitely recommend this short self-guided nature hike (especially when sandwiched between meals!)

After recovering from too much food, we started up the mighty Hugh Norris trail.  The trail goes along the main ridge of the west side of the park.  The whole trail is pretty long, but we just went at it with the idea that we could turn around whenever we wanted.

I think one of the biggest things I have learned on this trip is that you don’t always have to do the whole trail.  I just always thought, “well, the trail says it is 10 miles long, so that means you have to hike all 10!”  I think it was just the fact that I was focused on the end destination – and not all the in between.  This trip has taught me that there is beauty in all of the trail, not just the end points.

When we set out on the trail, we were on a mission – a mission to find a pregnant-looking cactus.  WE FOUND ONE!  The prego pose is always less awkward with friends, right Madison?

Since we found a Madison look a like, we had to find one for me.  Too easy.

The sunset was beautiful – like most sunsets in the NPS.  We were able to sit on the ledge and watch the sun get lower and lower.

That night we drove out of the park to a BLM land campsite. When we showed up we found a mini RV village.  We didn’t realize the extent of the compound, until morning – but there were RVs, vans and vehicles EVERYWHERE.  Technically the rule is 14 days in one spot, but, you could tell that there were people that had been there for a long time.  There was one guy there with a few awnings, tables, BBQ’s and multiple vehicles.  It was an interesting experience to say the least.

After leaving the compound, we took off to the other side of the park.  East side, baby.

We set off on Tanque Verde Ridge trail.  Basically it went up and up and up along the ridge and overlooked Tucson.

Nothing like a grape snack on a mid point of a trail.  Check out that sweaty back!

Right here is where Madison sat on a cactus.  She didn’t know at the time, but as soon as she stood up, she felt them all poking her in the booty.  I spent a good while pulling those guys out of her clothes.  Lesson learned – don’t sit down in the desert.

Babe Alert!  Babe with baby in her belly and briar in her butt.

Speaking of babies – we met up with our good friends from college – Jace and Giddi and their new born little girl, Juniper!  They are in Arizona right now as their build their second sprinter van.  Check out their adventures at and @ourhomeonwheels.  They are seriously the coolest parents ever – hopefully we can be just like them and get our kids out in the wild!


Saguaro National Park was a quick park.  We were there for a day in each section of the park.  The desert showed us a good time for sure.  The plants, the sky, the dryness all came together for a perfect desert experience.



  1. dawn from camano island

    Love this post–we’ve driven by this park but never stopped. Mostly we just adore saguaros. We boondocks for a month just south of Why last winter & were amazed at all the different types of cactus driving through Tohono O’Odham land.

    We’ve heard about that BLM area–awning? That’s pretty crazy! When we were south of Why last year, we stayed for a month. The host said “The BLM never comes here to check so stay as long as you want! If they don’t care, neither do I!” Best part–a young man from Puerto Penasco drove up to Why & north to Ajo selling homemade tamales (best we’ve ever had!!) & fresh fish from the Sea of Cortez. Needless to say, this was our favorite boondock ever!

    Bean is getting bigger–you look ever more beautiful, Madison! Happy Trails!

    • Cees

      It was seriously a mini city of boondockers! It was awesome. We didn’t realize the extent of the set up, until we woke up the next morning! We are excited to finish our “regimented trip” and SLOW THINGS DOWN a little… that way we can stay and enjoy the nice public lands like that.

      • dawn from camano island

        It won’t be long before The Bean just brings that slow down on quite naturally…for a little while, anyway. The two of you just don’t seem like folks who would even consider permanent slow-down!

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