Tucson Links
San Carlos
Cross-Border Adventure!
El Pinacate
The Seri Coast
Adobe Doobie-Do
Desert Cats
Obscene Cactus Flowers
Tucson at Dusk
Hikes in the Santa Catalina Mountains
Hikes in the Tucson Mountains
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
The Borderlands: Arivaca
The Borderlands: Atacosa
Sonoran Summer
Valley Fever
The Cat Mother of Coronado Heights
Swim the Desert
After more than 40 years of wandering in the forest, I finally found our way to the desert.

I came looking for sand dunes and desolation, and found a lush green landscape of stunning variety and vigor. This isn't a desert, it's a garden!

I've spent the past two year hiking and camping in the Sonoran Desert, from the Seri Coast and Reserva de la Biosfera Pinacate in Mexico to Tucson's Catalina Mountains. Along the way I stopped to take photos and write about the natural and cultural history of area. I hope that sharing my love of the desert will inspire others to help protect what's left of this 120,000 square mile international desert garden.

The Sonoran Desert is one of four major deserts in North America. Two thirds of the desert lie south of the border in the namesake state of Mexico, but the northern edge extends into southern Arizona and includes the cities of Tucson and Phoenix.

As deserts go, the Sonoran Desert is remarkably wet, receiving up to one foot of rainfall per year. Native plants include trees (mesqite, palo verde, ironwood) and tree-size plants (like the saguaro cactus) that can capture and hold the rain that falls during our two annual "monsoon" seasons.

The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where saguaros grow. The largest specimens can reach more than 50 feet in height and weigh several tons. A woody skeleton supports the saguaro, and the green pleated exterior expands and contracts according to the water supply.

Santa Catalina Mountains

Tucson Mountains

Organ Pipe