Saturday, November 27, 2021

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself..

A Mammillaria or "pin-cushion" Cactus.

Last year we had our first Christmas alone, this year our first Thanksgiving.  We had plenty for dinner including a grilled turkey breast.  Pat and I picked the sides we each wanted so we actually fixed less.   

We suffered through the 75° temperatures on Thanksgiving, higher than normal, but lower than the 80's we've been having.  It's headed back up to 80 and they say that every day in Nov. is supposed to be above the average. We'll take it!

Saturday we went to the opposite end of Casa Grande Mountain Park for some hiking.  Lots of trails that criss-crossed, with some trails marked, some not. Pat said he has determined he doesn't like desert hiking, no trees which equals no shade and it's hot.  We were on some rocky trails which makes walking a little harder too.  We aren't speedy, or at least I'm not.   I like to stop and take in the views.  We went just under 3 miles in just over 2 hours.  I can do without the heat in the desert, but I enjoy it's solitude. 

Which trail to take?  That became a frequent question ths morning!  We encountered more mountain bikers than hikers.

We first thought this was a snake-skin.  Further along we saw a lot of these and they were obviously old cacti.

Lots of Saguaro Cacti on the trail.

A fire here in 2011?

I don't consider myself a plant expert, or even knowledgeable about plants at all.  I do get excited when I find a new variety.  Today was the first time I've come across the Mammillaria Cactus.  It is mostly found in Mexico, although there are some species in the Southwestern U.S.  It is the largest group of cacti with over 200 species.  It is a smaller cactus, growing maybe up to 1 foot tall.  I'm not sure if the red bud is the fruit that some species produce (grows to look like little red chili peppers), or the beginning of the flowers.  I think it is the fruit.

I impressed myself with my cacti knowledge today, partly because I simply remembered it.  Pat would refer to a Barrel Cactus as a small Saguara Cactus, but I could tell him how to differentiate between the two.

Back in 1922 there was a fine of $250 for removing a geological marker.  What do you suppose the fine is now?

More paths intersecting. 

Pat signing in that we were back.   I wonder if anyone checks the log book?
Where are the Piepers now?  Casa Grande, AZ.

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