A favorite spot for visitors and Tucsonans alike is Sabino Canyon. It serves as a trailhead to miles of hiking into the Catalina Mountains as well as being a place to simply enjoy the beauty of the desert. In the summer, during monsoon, the clouds are fascinating to watch as the thunderheads build in a constantly changing display of beauty and power. Desert dwellers especially appreciate this as the clouds promise cooling rain and he water that is desperately needed for survival in this dry, hot climate.
1 Clouds form in a blue sky over Sabino Canyon outside of Tucson, AZ
2 Storm clouds cast a shadow over the canyon in the late afternoon.
3 A forest of Saguaro cactus on the hills in Sabino Canyon ouside Tucson, AZ
4 A Saguaro may live for forty years or more before the first arm appears. On the left, the long ribs of a Saguaro cactus skeleton stand as a monument to this once great sentinel in the canyon. On the right, a many armed Saguaro stands guard over several young Saguaros.
5 Often a tree such as a Mesquite or Palo Verde will serve as a “nurse tree” to a Saguaro cactus, providing shade and protection as it grows. A mature Saguaro, standing on its own, may be as much as 100 years old, greatly outlasting its nurse plant. This plant appears to be a “nursery tree” with seven young Saguaros growing under its branches.
6 One of the draws of Sabino Canyon is the presence of water. It is the recipient of snow melt from the Catalina Mountains as well as a watershed from the monsoon rains. Saguaro cactus can store hundreds of gallons of water during these monsoons, enough to last it the entire year, if necessary.
7 The sky erupts in brilliant hues of pink, orange and purple as the sun sets over Sabino Canyon outside of Tucson, AZ