Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The coolest place to see in the desert

Desert flowers.
The second leg of our western trip brought us to Tucson, where we visited with our friends Gena and John and their children Ellie and Johnny.

And I admit that when I found out they were going to take us to the Desert Museum, I thought the same thing as Gena's sister, "Wait, is that a thing? Is it just a museum of different cacti and grains of sand?"

It does, in fact, have cacti and sand and much more. It's pretty awesome, even if the mountain lions didn't cooperate and stayed hidden in their den.

A forest of Saguaro cacti at the Desert Museum. 
It offered amazing views of this part of the Sonora Desert. There are several types of cacti in the desert with the biggest ones, the Saguaro, standing like trees. Many of the big ones are well over 100 years old because they don't grow arms until they are at least 75.

The museum also has all kinds of desert mammals, snakes, birds and other critters on display.

Prairie dog on the move. 
That included a family of bighorn sheep. We were there in time to see the most violent attempt at nursing nature has ever produced. The little bighorn sheep calf trotted under his mother and jumped up at her hard as the bugger could. I hurt for her. (I'll skip the utterly ridiculous jokes).

Got milk? 
And petting stingrays (that have been de-stung) also is a thing. They did not come from the desert but from the Gulf of California, which is considered still part of the regional ecosystem.

John, Johnny, Gena, Ellie and a mysterious lady with a black hat (Elizabeth) try to coax the stingrays to brush by their hands.
Another missed opportunity. It thought about letting her pet it but then decided Elizabeth's hat looked too funny.

I spent much of the time trying to take pictures, which was easy with stuff that stayed still, like flowers and cacti and grains of sand. 
Meta shot. 
The hummingbirds were a different story. I'd get all set-up with the lighting and color balance and a fast shutter speed and try to focus on one, and as soon as I'd take the shot, zip -- it was gone.

This was the best I could do. 
 I'm pretty sure they were messing with me. 

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