We were staying in Cave Creek, just north of Phoenix, Arizona. On November 23rd, 2023, a friend and I hiked in the Spur Cross area. It was nice desert hiking.
Most impressive among the local plants were the multi-armed suguaros that towered above us in places. Their scientific name (Carnegiea gigantea) honours businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and they are quite a work of nature. They can grow up to 50 feet tall, and some weight over 2,000 Kg.
It is best to keep your distance from a saguaro. Their spines are very sharp and almost as strong as a steel needle. They can be up to 3 inches long and have been reported to penetrate the skull of a bighorn sheep that was foolish enough to collide with one. According to Wikipedia, a man was killed in 1982 when he came out second best in an altercation with a saguaro. He was shooting and poking at a saguaro in an attempt to make it fall over when a 500-pound arm of the cactus fell on him and crushed both him and his car. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the trunk of the cactus fell on him.
We had a pleasant day, but I kept my distance from the suguaros!
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I have described my first three rafting trips in the book Rafting the Great Northern Rivers: The Nahanni, Firth, and Tatshenshini.