Saguaro National Park (East) Rincon Mountain District and Holy Trinity Monastery

2/1/13 Friday at Benson, AZ (Valley Vista RV-PPA)

Interesting how some mornings just fly by before we get on the road. Today we left at 10:20 am, driving to Holy Trinity Monastery (Benedictan). They had a bakery and thrift store sale today, so it seemed the best time to visit. It wasn’t far from our campground. We found the bakery and bought the peasant bread, the only thing without sugar. I can’t believe John resisted getting any cinnamon rolls or cinnamon chocolate volcano delights.


P1080846Next stop, Our Lady of Guadaloupe Chapel -outside and inside – really lovely and so meditative. They even had a place where you could write petitions for them to pray for. Isn’t that tree stump a cool altar?

John dropped me off at Supercuts, where I got my haircut, while he did some grocery shopping at Fry’s (Kroger store). Now it’s 12:45 as we head for the Park, hungry. On our way, 2 coyotes ambled across our road, with one limping. Cool. No time for photos though.

There are 2 Parks: East and West, separated by the city of Tucson. The East is larger, with more and higher mountains, more trails and campsites, while the West has a dense stand of saguaro cacti to set it apart. We heard that the East was the better of the two.

IMG_6419Park sign

IMG_6421 CardinalA Ranger directed us to a picnic area, where a cardinal waited in the wings for something. (6421)

IMG_6423Saguaro (Sah-WAH-row) with Crested or cristate – a unique (rare) growth of the cactus cells that occurs once every 200,000 plants.

This is in the Sonoran Desert, where they have subtropical temperatures and get rain 2 times a year, a rare thing for a desert. Here there is more biodiversity because of this extra rain (10”/year).

IMG_6431Blossoming barrel cactus

IMG_6439Some Saguaro have lots of branches at the same height.

IMG_6443 This park has lots of Prickly Pear and Cholla (CHOY-ah) cacti along with it’s Saguaro. This photo is near the Javelina Rocks-named for the peccaries (like pigs) that like to hang out here.  Notice the little Cholla at the base of the rocks on the right side?


IMG_6451Broken parts of a Saguaro, we think maybe because sometimes they form sort of sectioning areas that are weaker. Just a guess.

We met a neat couple on the trail to the Freeman Homestead. I didn’t take a photo because all that’s left is a mound of dirt, from the deteriorating adobe. This couple (Jack and Julie) were commisserating with us over the lack of much in the way of ruins. Pretty soon we were walking the trail together

sharing travel experiences. They’re from Michigan and have a travel trailer. Other people sure do make life richer! They told us to be sure to walk the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail.

IMG_6459Prickly Pear and Saguaro, on our way up that trail. It goes for 18 miles up into the rim of the Rincon Mountains. The little distance we covered was pretty steep, but it had the prettiest scenery we’d seen in the whole park. It was starting to get dark, so we left, but we sure plan to hike this trail the next time we’re in the area.

IMG_6463Teddy Bear Cholla, on the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail.

IMG_6460Close up of Staghorn Cholla

On our way out of Tuscon, we had to stop suddenly, soon to realize that a bull was wandering over the road. He looked frightened – lumbering over to a fence, looking for his pals, I suspect. Interesting day – coyotes, birds (we saw a roadruner on the side of the road too) and a bull.

Home by 6 pm. I was hungry, so I got our tortilla soup hot. Peasant bread, buttered, was the perfect compliment. John soon joined me at the table!

Such a beautiful day to hike in a park – low 70’s.  Boy did we soak it up.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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One Response to Saguaro National Park (East) Rincon Mountain District and Holy Trinity Monastery

  1. We loved that park, went through in January so we never got to see any blooms.

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