Howdy. This is a saguaro cactus at Coolidge, Ariz., near the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, between Phoenix and Tucson. The saguaro (pronounced sah-wah-roh) will grow only on the Sonoran desert in Southern Arizona. The saguaro cactus grows very, very slowly. A baby saguaro grows one inch in 10 years; by 95 to 100 years it may start to produce its first arm; by 200 years the saguaro cactus has reached its full height, 45 to 70 feet. I’ll wager that if the cactus I stood before and photographed could talk, it would tell you stories of the Old West that would make your skin prickle. The local Tohono O’Odham people viewed the saguaro cactus as a different type of humanity, not as a plant. They considered the cacti as respected members of their tribe. You can read more about this fascinating cactus here: Organ Pipe National Monument. I shot this photo on one of my road trips across country. I love Arizona and have explored nearly all of the state. Every time I go there I don’t want to leave.
Wide open spaces and that Arizona sky.
I love Southern Arizona, around Tucson, the best. Below are some scenes:
The venerable Horseshoe Cafe, a historic landmark, has been in operation since 1938. Whenever I travel to Tucson, I make a point to stop in nearby Benson, on Highway 80 (business route Interstate 10), and eat at the Horseshoe Cafe. I visited a few times in the 1980s and ’90s; but it’s been now 20 years since I was there. The Horseshoe Cafe not only has historical ambience, but also Vern Park murals on the walls depicting scenes of the Old West, a jukebox and plenty of great food and service. Folks are friendly here. It turns out that my waitress was good friends with a young woman from Benson whom I worked with in Los Angeles; and the young woman in L.A. had told me about Cody, the buffalo, from a Benson ranch. Cody is a celebrity: he was the buffalo in “Dances With Wolves,” the 1990 movie.
Here’s an Old West tale about the Horseshoe Cafe and one of its residents. http://www.examiner.com/article/spirits-at-the-lucky-horseshoe-cafe-benson-arizona. Note that the painting on the west wall when I took my photo in 1994 (the uppermost photo below) now has Ghost Riders added to it, evidenced in the more recent 2010 Examiner photo (middle), and the next one.
Below is the Horseshoe Cafe with the recent recreation of the Ghost Riders painted on the wall by Doug Quarles. This photo below is not mine. I took it from the
Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group’s website: http://www.saedg.org/benson-clean-and-beautiful-murals.html#
I owe the town of Bisbee more than just a drive-by photo, shot from my car window. I ran out of time. I wish I could have stayed longer. I reckoned I’d come back someday soon. These are the copper hills surrounding Bisbee, located 92 miles southeast of Tucson, close to the Mexican border. Bisbee has a quirky history and an open-pit Copper Queen Mine. But more minerals than copper are unearthed from the mines here in the Mule Mountains — gold, silver, a high quality turquoise (Bisbee Blue), cuprite, aragonite, wulfenite, malachite, azurite and galena.
In 1929 the Cochise County seat was moved from Tombstone to Bisbee, where it remains.
Tombstone is one of my favorite places in Arizona. Unfortunately, it has become commercialized, so it’s hard to get authentic pictures of how the town looked in the days of the Clantons, Doc Holliday and the Earps.
The O.K. Corral occupies a small open space to the left of the store.
Tombstone Courthouse at sunset.
I have had the privilege to stay almost a week in Arizona, vacationing and driving around in 2008 and I loved it. Falstaff, Phoenix, and ll of the other places that I managed to see were places that I knew I could live in.
It was a wonderful time for me.
Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.
Patricia @ EverythingMustChange
Thanks, Patricia. Wouldn’t be fun to return and meet up there one day.
The desert is its own beauty!
And I love the images of the Horseshoe Café, too.
(found you through AtoZ, and as a fellow traveler and former Delawarean, I’m starting at the beginning of your alphabet!)
I’m glad you like the images of the Horseshoe Cafe. To me, it is quintessential Southern Arizona, especially the high desert around Benson. It holds the aura of the romance of the Wild West for me.
Thank you for coming by, Red. Nice to meet a former Delawarean. I have lived in California and other places, yet run into Delawareans so often, I couldn’t help wondering if there was anyone left in Delaware, it’s such a small state.
I have great respect for the saguaro cactus. Two hundred years to full growth for a cactus? Amazing! The stories if it could talk indeed.
You have been minioned by Sheena-kay Graham
Proud Minion of the Joy Brigade
It is amazing, Sheena-kay — 200 years. I had know idea that saguaro I stood before was so old. I only found out about their slow growth and how long they live when I researched them for this story.
Thanks for coming by.
Ah, I found your AZs, so happy. Thank you for writing back, and for your help. The Wild Wild West sure in a very interesting place. I drove through Arizona a couple of times and was always enchanted by the wide-open skies and freedom they evoke. There are a few similar places in California, where I live, but there is a certain character to Arizona all unique. Thank you for sharing images and thoughts from your trip, Samantha. Very inspiring.
It’s kind of you to come back and comment on my Arizona post, Silvia. It IS the wide open spaces of Arizona that I love the best, not places like Sedona. But, I have found some in California, too, and I will be posting some of those photos in a couple of upcoming blogs. Yes, Arizona is a character unique to itself — maybe another reason I like it so much…?
I’ve always wanted to visit Arizona, but I’d have to stick to the higher elevation areas as I don’t think I’d be able to handle the heat very well.
Jingle Jangle Jungle
At least it’s a dry heat, Mary. 🙂 In general I prefer higher elevations; I just feel better when I’m high, as it were. So, when I visit the desert, it’s usually high desert and in the cooler seasons.
Thanks for coming by!
Ah lovely Samantha! Was it two years ago this time round that I was in Arizona? yes it was – susan schwartz and I did a collab on the A-Z. We did some driving around and it was wonderful and I saw the suguaro en route to the Grand Canyon. Those open skies, the air …
Yes, I agree, Susan — those wide open spaces. Two years since you’ve been there, 20 since I have. Hard to believe. Time to climb into the saddle and return, I reckon.
Cool! Congrats on your first A-Z this season!
Thanks, R. The first step on my ride through the purple sage, and, so, on to hitch up at the next post.
Arizona is an interesting area. I prefer the Sedona and Flagstaff areas to Tucson and Phoenix, but it is amazing wherever you go. Thanks for the interesting post.
Believe it or not, Gwynn, I have never been to Sedona. I have a post coming up later about the Flagstaff area. Thanks! I’ll mosey over to see you shortly. 🙂
Thank you for the beautiful photos in Arizona. It makes me want to hop on a plane and fly to Tucson straight away.!
Me, too, actually, Carolyn. Thanks for visiting!