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Those tricky saguaros

I'm still pretty much out of action with the cold so the blog may be a bit restrained for a few days. It's particularly disappointing because we had a great day planned. We were going to do a bunch of exploring, and then meet up with fellow Airstreamers Ken & Petey Faber, and photographer Douglas Keister and his wife, for dinner. Ken can be seen in the Winter 2006 issue of Airstream Life magazine, posing with his amazing one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer, "Der Klein Prinz."

But this morning we regretfully cancelled that plan. In the evenings the cold knocks me out. So we'll meet up with Ken & Petey another time. Doug will be flying off to Europe and Asia, doing research for his upcoming book & photographic projects -- I've asked him to get me some photos for upcoming articles, too.

After sitting around half the day watching movies I could stand it no longer, so we got into the car for a quick look at nearby Saguaro National Park. Saguaro is an unusual park in that it is divided into east and west portions, which are 30 miles apart and separated by Tucson. The east side is only 10 miles straight north from here.

Although I wasn't up to hiking, there's a nice one-way loop drive you can do. The scenery is beautiful and there are hikes to be had all around the park. It's perfect medicine for a cold.

The older saguaro cactus have holes in them, which are used as homes by birds. We spotted an owl nesting in a saguaro, which was the first time we've managed to spot one. It was very exciting, so I carefully mounted up my long lens, crept out of the car, and sidled up to within about 30 feet of the cactus to get a nice close-up.

Tucson fake owl.jpg

You can see his face clearly in the shot. Looks like a spotted owl (which doesn't live in the desert) or elf owl (which does).

Great picture? Well, when we got back to the Airstream and enlarged the photos we realized it wasn't an owl at all ... but merely a bit of the internal structure of the cactus playing a trick on us. Click on the picture above for an enlargement and you'll see. No owl at all... I had no idea those saguaro were so tricky.


The "owl" story reminds me of a certain moose, made of wood, located strategically far enough from Rt 7 in Vermont that tourists often stop to take a picture of it.... Did you happen to put a shoe on the other foot that morning?

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