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Westward...

After a great night’s sleep, I was up early to get sunrise pics at WSNM.  Amy wanted to sleep in so I ventured out on my own.

Even though I was up before the sun,  the park does not open until 7:00 am. Thankfully, McDs is open before the sun so I made a pit stop on my way out to the park.

The sun rose at 6:15, so it was already pretty high in the sky by the time the park opened.  No way to get sunrise pics after the sun had been up that long.  Oh well, I was at the park so I would try.

Two other cars were in front of me waiting at the gate.  Ranger opened the gate about 5 minutes early. Thank you!!  So needless to say, park was empty.  Found some untrammeled sand and took my photos.  My calves were burning from walking through the sand the previous day.  But a good tired.  A bad day photographing is better than …. well, a lot of things!  But this was a good day so...there you go.

Quite a formidable line of spikes on the Saguaro.

I went back to the motel, met Amy for breakfast, loaded up and headed out.  Onward to Las Cruces and points westward:  specifically Saguaro NP.  Found out it’s pronounced Sawaro.  Not sure about the “g”

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First stop was eastern Saguaro NP.  It felt really odd to drive through a residential area, almost a suburban feel, to get to a national park.  We checked in at the visitor’s center, found our sticker for the truck, and talked with an incredibly nice and helpful ranger.  She pointed out interesting spots for photos and even the best spot for sunset.  But it was only 3:30 so we decided to drive across town to the western Saguaro portion of the NP.

Saguaro forest.

Ranger told us about a gorgeous “gateway” drive, Tucson Mountain Park, that was absolutely gorgeous.  Tons of people were there taking pics, waiting for sunset,  having photos taken and having a good time.  Seemed a popular hangout place for all ages.  Super nice park and gorgeous drive.  Kudos to Tucson!!  Well done.

These beautiful blooming flowers were everywhere. Not at all what I expected from a desert.

We left Tucson Mt. Park, which closes at sunset (of course) and found a beautiful spot outside the parks.  (the Saguaro grow everywhere so not a big deal to find a great spot.)  Sunset was fantastic. Beautiful and deep colors and the weather was perfect.  BUT, there are cactuses (cacti?) everywhere and they managed to poke me everywhere, and with the exception of one area of my anatomy, I found and pulled out pokies from all parts.  What I couldn’t reach Amy had to extract.  She asked if I had been rolling around on the ground.  Well…..yeah….kinda….!! 

But I got the shot!!