When we were done eating our sandwiches and newly melted block of cheese, we continued on our death march through Arizona. We had about two hours left until we made it to our destination – Saguaro National Park. The park is in Tucson (which is such a stupid way to spell that name – I think Brett Favre had something to do with it), however we were staying at a campground about an hour outside of Tucson, so we still had a good chunk of driving time left.
As we approached Tucson, I decided to look up some facts about it. Turns out, the rainy season here gets REALLY rainy and flash flooding is very common. So much so that underpasses and low lying areas get a ton of water sitting in them. But here’s the kicker – the people of Tucson don’t care. They just drive right through the puddles. Then they get stuck, and the authorities have to come get them out. This became such a problem that the city had to put markings on the corresponding overpasses with height measurements so that residents can see how deep it the water is before attempting to drive through it.
Here’s a thought – when it rains, don’t drive through the massive 20 ft long puddle. It’s like living in the desert fried the common sense out of their brains. I’m 80% certain this is where Amy Poehler got the concept for the citizens of Pawnee.
Eventually, we made it to the park. This park isn’t exactly the most famous park in the National Park system, but it is conveniently placed between Vegas and Carlsbad Caverns (our next stop), so we sucked it up and went. It was nearing sunset when we arrived, so we quickly found our way to a trail to get a hike in before the sun went down.
Fittingly, the park (and trail) had saguaro cacti all over the place. For the horticulturally unsound, this is one of (if not the) largest species of cacti in the world. Hence the reason there’s a park named after it. To truly grasp the height of these things, see the picture below. For reference, I’m 6’2″ and standing as close to directly beside it as possible without getting a needle in my face. As you can clearly see, that’s cactus is huge. Maybe they should put them by underpasses.
They get really old, too. They don’t even begin to sprout arms until they’re 75 years old or so. But when they do, you get really funny ones that look like they have a boner: THEN, after I made Betz take pictures of me with the cactus, we saw this little guy. Name: Terry. Mood: Chronically grumpy.
After chasing – well, moseying – after the turtle for a while we finished our hike. By then the sun was down, so we headed to our campsite. Upon arrival, we got the pleasure of setting up our tent mansion in the pitch dark. 75 minutes later we decided to cook up hot dogs and beans on the little grill I bought for the trip. The wind was blowing nice and steady, so we could barely light it, and when we did, we had about 30 seconds to cook our hot dogs.
We decided to cut up our dogs into the beans in order to eat like a child. But then a crushing realization set in. We had no can opener. The best we could do was a mediocre, at best, steak knife. We took turns sawing away at it like rabid cavemen. It took approximately 7 hours to get the can open to a point that we could pour the beans out. And after we did, we ate them to find that some beans were only lukewarm. The rest were cold. Yum.
We were one of three parties at the entire campground. Which was nice, but also creepy. There were no babies crying or music playing. However, as the cold beans and uncooked hot dog settled in my stomach, the possibility of brutal double homicide going unnoticed lingered in the air.
I didn’t sleep well that night.