Friday night flight into Phoenix, rental car pickup – then southeast 2 hours to Tucson.  Marathon weekend!

Breakfast, race packet pick-up, runner’s expo purchase (picked up KT Tape Strips & 6 packets of GU), scheduled an after-race massage at the Hilton – chores over.  Headed 20 minutes west – today’s adventure destination: Saguaro National Park.

In Alaska, my pre-race destination: ice climbing; while in Arizona, gotta do a cactus hike.

My dad was a huge fan of Westerns.  So whether I was actively paying attention or not, gotta say John Wayne, cowboys, Indians, cattle & cactus were forever imprinted on my young mind.  Plus if I run out of water, these spiny plants are full of liquid (assuming I remembered my machete to hack thru their tree-like trunks 🙂 )

Instead of leaves, from which water escapes easily, this magnificent plant has spines, which greatly narrow down water evaporation.

 

The saguaro cactus can grow unto an astonishing 45ft. Probably the most amazing fact about this plant is that even in its harsh climate some cacti can survive over 200 years! These adaptations allow certain cacti to survive 3 years without water; a human can barely survive 4 days.

Stopped at the Visitors Center for a photo opp with Santa, then a quick mile further to Hugh Norris Trailhead.

Tucson temps were far warmer than the sub-zero front fixed over Boulder for the past week.  That said, surprisingly needed a jacket – windy & 45 degrees this day.

Ridge hiked for an amazing view of the valley, peppered with columnar cacti.  In addition to saguaro cactus (my new fave), spotted barrel, cholla & prickly pear varieties too!  FAAANNNTASTIC day!

 

 

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