January Square and One Word Sunday: Cacti & Petroglyphs in Saguaro National Park

We visited Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona late in the afternoon, where I got some great backlit shots of saguaro, such as this one:
KODAK Digital Still Camera
I am fascinated with saguaros, which are the trees of life in the Sonoran Desert, because of the interesting shapes that sprout as “arms” from their main trunk.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Saguaros grow very slowly, so these photos are of cacti that are fairly old. These majestic giants live as long as 200 years!
20151217_163236
The saguaro harbors a variety of life forms – such as woodpeckers (who make holes in their trunks) and elf owls (who live in the abandoned holes), as well as many others who shelter beneath the cactus – snakes, rodents, and other animals. Native American tribes traditionally collected the fruit of the saguaro, which was used in their diet. They would use long poles to get the fruit down or collect it after it fell to the ground.
20151217_163254
During its long life, the saguaro stores water in the folds of its trunk and arms – the folds act like an accordion, expanding in years with more rainfall, and contracting in dry years.

20151217_153908

Late in life, a saguaro may have many limbs, which form curves and other shapes.

Even when this giant dies, creatures take advantage of its large bulk, where they burrow and lay eggs. Native peoples stripped its stems and used them as building materials.

Note the tangle of curved arms in this saguaro!
20151217_172406
Another interesting sight to explore at Saguaro National Park are the petroglyphs carved on rocks by ancient peoples who lived in the area.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Swirls, curves, wheel-like circles, suns, animals, and other carvings were symbols which had religious or social meanings for their creators.
DSC_0618
KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera
Posted for:
Becky’s January Square – backlight.
One Word Sunday: Curve

Sunday Stills: A Plant’s Life in the Desert

For the first time, I am participating in the challenge Sunday Stills by Terry Webster Schrandt.  The theme for this week is A Plant’s Life.

Having recently been in the Southwest and because I love the desert, I am featuring the life of desert plants.  Of course, different plants are found in the desert than elsewhere, because they must be adapted to dry conditions. In southern Arizona rises the mighty saguaro cactus, the “tree of life” of the Sonoran Desert.

20151217_153908

Saguaro National Park West, Tucson, Arizona

The yucca plant is ubiquitous all over the desert areas of the Southwest.

SONY DSC

Blooming yucca in Sedona, Arizona

Yucca in the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (click on image to see it larger).

Flowering bush, New Mexico
SONY DSC

WPC: Twisted

When I saw that the theme of WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week was twisted, I immediately thought of two things: trees and cactus.

Winter is a good time to photograph twisted branches.
IMAG0157Springtime in the parkWillow tree, West Park, DPSometimes even trees need a hug!
I liked the knot in this tree!There’s a bird hiding in this tangle of branches!KODAK Digital Still CameraAt Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, the mighty saguaro starts growing arms when it is about 60 years of age and these arms twist every which way as they grow!
20151217_153908
Saguaros live up to 200 years of age, sometimes older. They provide shelter and sustenance for many species of animals.20151217_172406Anther twisty cactus is common throughout southern Arizona, but I don’t remember its name.20151215_110242Photos taken in Des Plaines, a state park in Indiana, Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson) and Saguaro National Park West (Tucson). 

Finally, a video by the band Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It.