I met my brother and his family at my parents' a little after nine in the morning
to share an expedition to the desert!
We had discussed a variety of different options for seeing cacti and maybe some wildlife,
and finally decided to drive towards Casa Grande, where I know some places to pull off the road and look at stuff.
It was a cloudy day.
I got to hold Cora's hand for a little while and show her an amazing ant hill.
There were a lot of ants and they were all busy.
Mark with his girls (Cora & Esme)
Esme needed a sweater
(she's so tiny and adorable I want to squeeze her!)
We looked at cacti (but talked about how sharp they are).
We saw gopher holes
We saw twisty scrubby trees.
At least the adults were happy!
This little wash had itty bitty footprints along the bottom -
a gopher, maybe?
The clouds were sort of gray.
We saw a hawk and a vulture circling above - I don't know which one this is!
After a little while, Esme didn't want to be carried anymore,
she wanted to walk all by herself!
We found a great big rock.
And some other rocks . . .
which led to a family portrait!
Aha! A Saguaro!
Wow! It's tall!
"I am a brave and intrepid explorer!"
Auntie Christie was having fun, too.
The desert air smelled clean and full of deserty smells.
Jillian found a pretty green rock:
And we came across a sideways cactus!
And then Saguaro bones . . .
it was a big old cactus.
As it collapsed, it draped its long bones over these rocks.
Some spikes were left over.
We carried on exploring . . .
Look at the beautiful view!
Here's a little Cholla (pronounced "CHOY-uh") or jumping cactus.
And one jumped on me!
This is the danger of hiking where there is no trail.
Here's how the little jumpy parts look:
We found this little pink guy hiding under a Cholla.
Lots of Saguaros!
Cora & her Papa went up a little hill.
They sat on a rock:
And they looked at the view:
Mama came up and took some photos:
And then it was time to find the car again and head home.
We saw a dead Ocotillo on the way back to the car.
Its bones are pretty and delicate like lace.
Esme didn't like it:
We saw tiny baby cacti!
See Papa and Esme through the tree?
We found the car again!
Cora looked at the ants again on the way back.
Esme was excited to get in the car.
As we were all buckling in, Cora told the Story Of The Day:
Other than a potty stop at Target later on, that was the full and exciting trip!
Auntie Christie needed a little nap with some kitties when she got home!