Never in my life have I seen (or been this close to) so many cacti in my life. But, I can say I’ve gotten to experience a different type of breath-taking beauty that hikes in the Blue Ridge or the Rockies couldn’t offer. While our loud footsteps and commentary were probably to blame for scaring away most wildlife, I was still awed by the over-90,000 acre landscape of the toughest, grittiest plant-life I have ever encountered. I have serious respect, and disbelief, of the ability of these plants to survive the desert climate, like the ocotillo which flowers with or without rain to ensure pollination of the desert every year. What stood out to me most was the characteristics of the flowers, mainly their waxy, plastic-like petals and how most bloomed when the plant shed most of its greenness. We were fortunate enough to explore the park trails during the “yellow season” of the desert. While the up-close view was spectacular, I hope to return in the future (probably in a cooler month and without tendonitis) to make it to the top of a ridge and look out over the whole park the surrounding area of Tucson below.