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Journal Entry Entry Date: May 17, 2000

I have just returned to Tucson, Arizona, after living in Boulder, Colorado for eight months, and found some photos of some of my earliest adventures in the Arizona area between January and July 1999. Hope you enjoy them! ---Kim

First of all, the landscape around Arizona is very different from anything I have ever experienced. Here I show some samples of the variety of cacti in the Sonoran desert. This desert terrain is typical of southern Arizona and SW New Mexico, and NW Mexico, and is much different from desert terrain in Utah, with which I had been more acquainted. It is named after the county Sonora in Mexico which borders the southern side of the state of Arizona.

The 'king of the Sonoran desert,' the saguaro cacti.
These cacti are only found in the Sonoran desert. They are slow growers and might spurt an arm after 70-80 years of living. The more arms you see on the saguaro, the more ancient it is.

Barrel cacti
Barrel cacti in Tucson, AZ.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most common in town is the fishhook barrel where the thorns look like fish-hooks.

A sample of a cholla (pronounced: choy-ya) cacti.
This one is called 'teddy-bear cholla.' Do you want to hug this teddy?

A yucca plant.
The yucca, very important to the indigenous people of the southwest for material for baskets, footwear, roofing, etc., is not a cactus, but rather a xenophyte. It lacks the thorns that cacti have. This distinction also applies to the agave plants. Here this yucca is in a treelike setting, whereas most yuccas in the desert are ground bushlike.

Organ pipes
Organ pipe cacti.
This cactus, which I tend to confuse with young (less than 50 years) saguaro. When plentiful as in this picture, they share a common base and grow out like organ pipes, and hence the name. When they are alone in the wild, you look for the narrow trunk.

Toph & ocotillo
My brother visited in February 1999 and here he is next to an ocotillo.
These 'dead-like' stick cactic sprout green leaves immediately upon any water fall and bloom red at the tips of the sticks. Once the weather gets dry again, they turn back into being 'dead-like' only to surprise you when moisture returns.

I did some travelling in northern Arizona in February 1999, when Doug's mom came to visit. We travelled to the petrified forest, took a glimpse of the Grand Canyon, visited the Sunset Crater, a volcanic depression near the San Franciso peaks, and saw some ruins at Wupatki national monument.

Painted Desert
The painted desert area near Flagstaff.
It got its names due to the colors of the sand.

Desert dust devil
Image of a small desert dust devil.
The desert is a place for interesting thermals, which carry dust and also birds into twisting motions.

Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon.
I was only at the rim for one afternoon to take this shot. Someday I will return for a more investigative tour. It was very wide -- over a mile across, which sadly might not be captured in my photo.

San Francisco Peaks
The San Francisco Peaks.
Arizona does have mountains...these are volcanic in origin.

Sunset Crater
Sunset crater.
A volcanic depression which was named after its colour (red), that of sunset. The area around it was also very interesting with lots of lava fields, reminiscent of Hawaii.

Wupatki ruin
A view of the main ruin a Wupatki natioanl monument.
More views of the ancient Pueblo (previously, but erroneously named Anasazi) architecture.

Ancient ball count
And the ancient Pueblo found time for play as well.
Here is an image of a great ball court found in several large ancient communities in the southwest.

The SR-71 at the Pima County Air Museum.
Made of titanium to withstand the change in temperatures as it goes supersonic at high altitudes. I would love a ride in it! As you can see, I am already to fly.