Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain District (East)

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I left the Desert Museum around 2 pm, and ate something while I drove an hour back across town to Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain District, which is the eastern half of the park, and way larger than the western half.
The drive across Tucson was pretty, especially when I got to the 'out in the country' section...although evidently Tucson is encroaching on this park, and there is a constant battle about wild lands vs people.

I also love the old-fashioned park signs.

These were out in front of the visitor's center. There was a beautiful mosaic with all the wildlife and plants that live in the park, amazingly cool. I loved the feather tree! I'd never seen one before. Beautiful!
Driving through the park to the trail the rangers recommended. The road was twisty but beautiful, and everything was blooming like crazypants.

All of us had been on the lookout for the Littlest Saguaro...this was the smallest one I found, about as high as the top of my hiking boots.

I parked in the Desert Ecology Trail parking lot, which was where the set of trails the rangers had receommended to me started, with the Desert Ecology loop.
And then I came to the trailhead; the ranger had given me a map with a LOT of trails on it that went for miles across the park and crisscrossed every which way...but these were the trails I was supposed to take. I pulled out my map every five minutes or so, fearing to get lost (although really, I knew where my lovely truck was in relation to the mountains, so I probably could have found it...) and I set off.

It was actually about four miles of hiking, took me a couple of hours what with taking a lot of pictures of the beautiful desert and cacti and everything; I was pleased that every intersection had a good signpost to let me know which way to go.

A big colony of ants!
I crossed a wash that had tons of beautiful thistles.

This is what a lot of the trail looked like.

After my hike, as I drove back to the visitor's center, I stopped at Javalina Rocks at dusk to see if there were any of said animals to be seen. The rocks were misnamed, there was not a javalina in sight...although I did see this bird.