Saguaro National Park

From the top of this trail map: Sendero Esperanza (Hope Trail in Spanish) follows the sandy path of an old| mine road through the saguaro forest for the first mile. The trail then climbs a series of switchbacks to the Hugh Norris Trail, where visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the park. After crossing the high Norris Trail, the Sendero Esperanza descends past the Gould Mine trail junction and joins the King Canyon Trail.
Above is the sign at the head of the trail we will be following. We walked from the "You are Here" sign, south past the Dobe Wash, up the steep 1 mile climb to the junction of four trails. Then we turned around and came back. You'll see it all below. The Desert Museum which you have already seen, is directly south of where we were.
Above is the simple, but artful, information center of this National Park. We went in, flashed our Golden Pass card, got maps of the area and were off to a trail a fellow B & B couple suggested.
I think these are bunny ear polka dot prickly pear cactus.

A barrel cactus really leaning south.

 Our B & B friends said that this walk had beautiful flowers.
This might be the wash where the trail started to get steep.
Poppies and purple blossoms galore.

Elaine thinks she was taking a picture of that little white flower.

We have reached the saddle and talked to two girls that were essentially taking the same walk that we were. 
Caught up with the gals. They stopped to eat lunch.
Looking back from where we came -- 8x telephoto.
Yep, it's downhill from now on. 
This is pretty enough to be a table centerpiece.
Here is the trail head -- map and description is above. Lotza cars, but we met few actual people. Very peaceful.
Actually, since each of our cameras has a clock, I can tell that Elaine's picture of me above is exactly when I took the picture to the left of the polka dot prickly pear cactus.
Elaine taking off up the gentle rise toward a saddle.

Particularly poppies that tended to only bloom in hot weather.

Like this one.  I took mainly flower and plant pictures on the way up. I thought scenery would be perfect on the way down.
And here, I was dwarfed by that huge saguaro. But then, the national park wasn't named after me.
We didn't eat anything until we were back down.
Four desert floral masterpieces. Might print some of these.

Elaine took this nice combination of many different species. 

Looking toward the valley. I was mystified as to what that big ugly tan thing was. The telephoto picture below confirmed my suspicion. I think it is the rock quarry where all the material was taken to build Tucson.  From the plane, it was huge and very ugly. I'm not sure about this, but only a quarry would look like this. I guess cities like Phoenix and Tucson have to get their rock from somewhere.
Below, nice shadow of me taking a nice picture of poppies.
But the majestic saguaro is still king of this wonderful vista.
    And this is a good place to end this page. The next is the conclusion of   Saguaro National Park II.

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