Goodbye Saguaro

Agave planting was brilliant. We packed up and headed south to Coronado for the big agave planting event Saturday August 18th. It was a blast. We worked with folks from different parks around southern Arizona including two SCA interns from Organ Pipe. We seriously went to town digging hundreds of holes in preparation for the agave planting event. The event went smoother than ever before; the result of hours of planning, good people, and a lot of sweat. The morning was spent teaching volunteers how to plant agaves, playing quality control, and making sure no more snakes found their way back into the planting area. By the end of the day we had about 1400 baby agaves in the ground and a bunch of muddy volunteers. To top it all off, Coronado was absolutely beautiful. Last time we were there we were walking through fields of brown grass under the unforgiving desert sun. Now the place was full of life with wild flowers dotting green fields and white rocks peeking through lush mountain sides. We enjoyed storms every day and spent an evening watching an amazing lightning show over Mexico. We wore pants and sweatshirts for the first time in months, made veggie soup with Irish soda bread, and baked batches of everything cookies. It was the perfect reprieve from the desert heat.

Tucson must have missed us because when we got back the heat was easing off. The cooler weather and the rains really stirred up life here in the Sonoran Desert. We’ve seen quite a few diamondback rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, desert tortoises, Gila monsters, a baby bobcat, black widow spiders intent on taking over our work building, tarantulas, coyotes, grey foxes, jackrabbits, coachwhip snakes, red-tailed hawks, and the occasional owl.

Cooler weather also means change for our crew. We have reached the end of our 3 month stint here at Saguaro National Park. The other Southeast Arizona team said goodbye at the end of August but not before hosting the first annual NPS verses SCA Olympics; a tribute to conservation work everywhere. Tandie and a few other NPS folks took off to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Brian Doughty came to visit and tromp around the desert with us for a few days. And after our final day of bufflegrass spraying, (and a delicious goodbye cake), we are headed southward to seek our fortunes elsewhere for the next 7 weeks. Soon we will be dusting off our tents and breaking out the ol’ Colman stove. Can’t wait to kick it out in the wilderness again!

Otter pops and highway treasures,

SEAZ