A Walk in the Desert

It was an overcast day, slightly cool. Not a good one for hanging on the beach. So Alfredo and I  decided to head out east of town into the desert to see what we could find.

Mostly, we found plants. This is an area of many cardones but few saguaros, though the locals often call the cardón a saguaro. I wanted to get up close to the giants. This ancient one is maybe thirty feet tall.


I loved how its base had a kind of grotto.


Natural, as in perhaps a lightning strike? Or did an animal, perhaps even a human animal, carve it out for some reason?

The old ones have a thick brown base and are surrounded by a network of roots.   roots

When they, die, they look like this.

dead cardon

There were also cholla, but a different kind than we have in Southeastern Arizona.


When they die, they look like this.

dead cholla

There were a number of ocotillo.  A US nickname for them is the devil’s walking stick.


They don’t look like anything special until spring when are topped with beautiful orange-red blossoms. In summer, and spring and fall if there is rain, they leaf out and look beautiful.

Here as in Arizona, people cut one limb, let the cut end scab over, and then plant it. Do that repeatedly and you get a living fence.


See? A few leaves, though I can’t imagine how it got enough water to leaf out.

green ocotillo

There were even some interesting small plants. Wildlowers on the last day of December!

flower2 This little one was only about an inch tall.

Alfredo wandered down the road and I was roaming a different area looking for more flowers when a truck came down this road out in the middle of nowhere. The driver spotted my car, then spotted me, and stopped to see if I was okay. I told him I was taking photos of flowers, and I think he must have believed I was a bit nuts.


However, after a few minutes of conversation in which we disclosed he raised goats at a little ranch back up the road, Alfredo and I were soon invited to follow him to his ranchito to meet the mamas and new babies.

Pascual had a piece about 100 meters by 100 meters totally fenced in ocotillo.

One lone dog guarded the goats. Pascual led us to the pen of mommies and babies explaining that the males were loose in the desert, guarded by six very brave and fierce dogs.

goat momMom is grabbing some lunch, while a youngster tries in vain to sunbathe.

goat sunbathing

The youngest are about ten days old and the ones slightly larger are about a month old.

Pascual also has one pig who complained bitterly about not having enough food, though being a pig, my guess is he’s almost never satisfied. He was quite a well-rounded pig.

Pascual also has a small garden going. Watermelon, squash, and a few fruit trees lined the western edge of his property. Quite a project since he has to haul all the water to the ranchito as he lives in town.


As we chatted with Pascual, several trucks went by loaded with firewood. Preparations for outdoor barbacoas tonight, New Year’s Eve.

Clearly Pascual is  ready for a small fiesta here, too.

 chairs for party

But not tonight. Like us, Pascual will be spending New Year’s Eve in town.

Happy New Year everyone!

Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

Join the Conversation


  1. Wonderful photos! I can’t think of a better place to be por el Ano Nuevo, except possibly WhiteWater Draw…that’s where I’m headed!
    !Feliz Ano Nuevo!

  2. That cardon is massive! I’ve never seen one of those before. Must have been fun to visit the goats, too. Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks for sharing your nature stroll and farm visit! Wishing you a wonderful 2015, Emilie.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: