East Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Mrs. Phred and I made a pass though the East Saguaro National Park yesterday. The full moon was impending in the evening and I wanted to scout locations to get shots of Saguaro in the moonlight.
Unfortunately, the Saguaro Park on the East side of Tucson closes at 7 PM, so I went to my archives to pull out a photo from 2006.
I wondered how climate change might be impacting the Saguaro forests. They have a fairly limited range. The Park newsletter says they are under pressure from declining rainfall and increasing summer temperatures. The other problem is buffelgrass which was introduced into the area by cattle ranchers before the East and West parks were established in the 1930s.
We're starting to see a few cactus blooms, but lack of rainfall has delayed the desert flowers this year. The cactus above is a prickly pear which is fairly ubiquitous in the Southern United States. Some species contain psychoactive drugs including mescaline. It is also used to make Colonche, which is an alcoholic Mexican drink. Huevos con nopales (eggs with prickly pear buds) is a fairly common breakfast in New Mexico.
Prickly pear buds are also known as "tuna", "nopal" or nopales, from the Nahuatl word nōpalli. You can get rid of the prickles on the buds by rolling them in sand or holding them in campfire flames. The prickly pear can also be used as a hair conditioner. It is considered a potent hangover remedy because of it's anti-inflammatory properties.
Today we want to go to the Pima County Fair in Tucson.