http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: An Elusive Crested Saguaro and a Rattlesnake

Sunday, March 23, 2014

An Elusive Crested Saguaro and a Rattlesnake

Larry and Geri called yesterday asking if we were up for an ATV trip to see a big crested saguaro over by Wickenburg—well, that was a silly question, of course we were up for an ATV trip.  Today we got more than we bargained for—not only did we see one grumpy rattlesnake but that dang crested saguaro was playing hide and seek causing us to ride a total of over 50 miles today—our longest ATV trip yet!

We left North Ranch with Larry, Geri and Mike (not my Mike) about 9:30am heading for Wickenburg the back way.  We missed you today Cathy!  Emmi bumped along with us every inch of the way—she rides in Michael’s lap, then she rides in my lap, then she rides in the box—she’s a happy dog as long as she gets to go along!!

IMG_3087The cowboy sporting his new goggles and Ms. Emmi

IMG_3088The desert ocotillo are beautiful right now, the sun was so bright my photographs are washed out looking, the flowers on the tips are vivid orange. 

if you don’t like snakes, scroll fast

Larry was leading the pack with Geri right behind him when he came to a screeching halt and started waving Geri and me forward—he almost ran over this snake which reared up in the road rattling and hissing—we all got off and watched him with Emmi safely in Michael’s arms.  The snake finally decided we were no threat and ambled off into the bushes.  Let me tell you, every time I saw a stick or a root laying across the trail the rest of the day my toes curled involuntarily making me want to pick up my feet!!!



We enjoyed our picnic lunch at the Wickenburg rodeo grounds before heading out to find that dang elusive crested saguaro.  In our search we did find this medicine wheel—Geri thought it was created by someone living near Wickenburg in the 1960’s. 

IMG_3101IMG_3103Squint and you can see the green turtle.

At times looking for that saguaro I felt as if we were going back the way we came.  I accused Larry and Geri of trying to make an expert ATV rider out of me today—we climbed some really steep hills.  I appreciate so much Larry and Geri’s regard for my riding skills—they both always make sure I am comfortable before we start up these steep hills.  On one hill today with steps in the rocks, I freaked right when the steps started, Larry rode right up beside me, offered some advice and sent me up the hill with confidence.  They have along with Michael said, “don’t be afraid to say, “OK, I’m not doing this, one of you ride my machine up, I will walk.” 

And I will do exactly that—a long time ago when I first married Michael and we were riding horses in the mountains for overnight pack trips my friend Jill said, “I’m too old to have to prove anything to anybody and if I’m scared, I’m getting off.”  That became my mantra as far as horses were concerned and it is my ATV mantra. 

IMG_3107Strawberry hedgehog cactus

IMG_3108And then there it was, the elusive, hiding crested saguaro, one of the largest in the area we are told.




OK, it’s now a long ride back home—we need sustenance!!  This trail crosses dry washes and riverbeds right at the back door of the Wickenburg McDonald’s!!  So, we pulled into the parking lot, Geri and I went inside and we were soon enjoying diet cokes, milkshakes, and McFlurries.  Ahhhh—now I think I can make it the rest of the way home. 

But uh-oh, not too far from home Larry pulls over, his machine is not running well, off come the panels, out come the tools and it’s a dang good thing Geri and I were traveling with not only one mechanic but THREE!!! SmileThey soon had Larry going again and we were pulling into North Ranch. 

Another stupendous day in the Arizona desert—except for the snake!! Smile


  1. He was definitely not a happy snake. I don't think I would have gotten off my ATV. That saguaro is gorgeous. That made the trip all worth while.

  2. Cool ride again today, Brenda and I have been to that Saguaro and the Medicine Wheel a couple of times over the past few years. I figure there is 1 crested saguaro for every 10,000 normal ones.

  3. Well once you found that cacti, it was magnificent!!!

  4. We are hearing of more & more Rattlesnake sightings this year. We have suspended our morning walks out in the desert with Pheebs & we are being extra vigilant.

  5. That beautiful Saguaro looks like it has a headache....Just holding on to it's head. Poor thing. That rattlesnake was not as nice as the one we saw last year in Anza Borrego State Park!

  6. you captured some great pictures of the Saguaro!! what a fun day of ATV~ing!!

  7. Those are the two items I told you about earlier!! The couple that trailers horses in their RV posted a blog about these. I was Googling crested saguaro and came across their blog with these exact two items. I am hoping that we can hike to them someday. They were on horses and you were on ATV's. Not sure how far the hike would be. That is such a perfect crested saguaro...gorgeous!! Pretty medicine wheel.

    We stayed in the rodeo ground campground for a few nights on our way to Bakersfield. We had a great, private spot.

    Sounded like a very neat day:)

    1. Pam and John--the "couple that trailers horses" are our friends John and Brenda from Alberta, CA. When we were back in MT this winter while our DIL was ill, we left our entire rig at John and Brenda's place in Maricopa, AZ. It was a wonderful day--Geri has a video of the rattlesnake doing his "rattle" thing, I will post it tonight on the blog.

  8. Sure glad we're not going on any more desert hikes with those rattler's coming out of hiding. Great photos of the Crested Saguaro's.

  9. Love the medicine wheel and so happy to see it has survived unmolested all these years!

  10. This is a unique crested saguaro because it is between two arms. Sounds like this is the year of the rattlesnakes....Jim, Kelly and you have now seen one. We stayed here several years before seeing one. Rattlesnakes have been known to have been in this park as well so it's a good idea to watch around your lot.

  11. Completely agree with your approach to quading. If you do! If you feel you can' don't. Seems like wise advice.

    What a trip that was to find the crested saguaro. Beautiful photos too. Thanks for sharing.


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