Arizona Vacation: October 2016

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Friday, October 14 - Saguaro National Park

We headed out to the trails north of Tucson shortly after breakfast. We planned to use three separate trails to make a triangle beginning and ending at the parking lot. It wasn't until we were nearly to the trail head that we realized the trails were in the Saguaro National Park, a bucket list item of Ginger's that she hadn't realized we would be visiting!

This trailhead was rather deep in the park. Thinking we wouldn't be out too long, we left our snacks in the car but took our drinks and headed up the trail. Not long into it, the trail split in three directions. There was a sign, but it was misleading and we took a wrong turn. We realized soon that we'd gotten off the real trail but happened upon some other hikers who told us that if we just continued on this particular small path, we'd eventually get to our original planned destination. After walking for a significant time, we thought we'd gotten lost again, so we traversed the native desert to get on the trail we could see in the distance. Bad idea. It was treacherous and we received many prickly warnings from cactus that seemed to actually reach out to stick us on purpose. We soon ran out of water and there was hardly any shade to be had.

Frustration took over as the heat, lack of hydration, and lack of clear trail markings nearly overtook us. We paused for a moment in a bit of shade to gather ourselves. After a few moments, we trudged on and found one of the triangle trail points we'd wanted before. It was .3 miles to Wasson Peak, but Ginger had given up. While she started on the way back down to the car, Neil climbed a large rock formation to at least get a view of the surrounding desert. He was high enough at this point that he was frustratingly able to see that if we'd just continued only a few hundred more yards we could seen that the right thing would have been to stay on our original trail and not have had to traverse the desert.

The way down seemed so much easier than the way up, but still difficult in the heat and our lack of drink began to really take its toll. We finally made it back to the car after dark and the grapes we'd stowed were hot, but were the best tasting grapes Ginger had ever had. We decompressed in the A/C of the car and stopped at the Circle K to get some drinks.

Photos of Saguaro National Park (26 images)

Upon arrival back at the hotel, we called the front desk to see if they could heat up the Jacuzzi. We went to dinner at Rudy's BBQ, where we learned they served breakfast tacos in the mornings. Then we ducked into Walgreens for tweezers, nail clippers, and a sewing kit (so we could get a sewing needle) and some drinks.

Upon our return to the hotel we sat in the now very hot Jacuzzi to soften up our skin and ease our very tired muscles. After a short soak, we used our tweezers and needle to dig out the plethora of cactus barbs lodged in various lower body places that we'd collected during the day.

Not the best vacation day to be had, but we did see some pretty landscapes, checked off Saguaro National Park from our bucket list, and got a good soak in a hot tub.