Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports

January 11 - 16, 2022 -- Southeast Arizona

Report by Joe Orman


On this trip, I spent six wonderful days Jeeping, hiking, and camping in several different parts of southeast Arizona. My plan was to check up on some of the crested saguaros previously documented by other members of the Crested Saguaro Society ... and hopefully find some new ones!

Pinal Pioneer Parkway

I pointed my trusty Jeep down one of the many dirt roads in the area, and almost immediately found this crested arm ... somehow I'd never noticed it before! (Extend-O-Cam view)

A bit farther down the road, another new crested arm ... an unusually shaped one!

I looked for the crested saguaro that Bob Cardell and Pat Hammes designated C477 (shown here in 2006), but found nothing at the given coordinates.

I also looked for Bob & Pat's C633 (shown here in 2007), but again found nothing at the coordinates.

My last goal of the day was Bob & Pat's C635, which fortunately I found still standing.

One of my favorite things is camping among the saguaros ... on this evening I enjoyed a gorgeous sunset.

My first objective the next morning was Bob & Pat's C255, which I was surprised to see because I had driven by it many times before!

I paused to re-photograph this roadside saguaro which started cresting out around six years ago. If the bulldozer had graded the road a few feet wider, it would have been toppled!

Next I checked up on Bob & Pat's C637; unfortunately all that was left was a saguaro skeleton.

Then I looked for Bob & Pat's C636 (shown here in 2007), but found nothing at the given coordinates.

My backroads rambles toook me past this crest I'd found in 2016, so I took an updated photo -- broken and leaning, but still standing!

Also re-photographed this one a stone's throw away -- looking healthy!

I found Bob & Pat's C257 full of bird-holes, but still standing.

On the walk back to my Jeep, I happened to look in just the right direction to see this wide top-crest among the other saguaros!

And a stone's throw away, this small top-crest.

I found nothing at the given coordinates for Bob & Pat's C627 (shown here in 2007).

I did find Bob & Pat's C471 still standing, although rotted.

Again just a stone's throw away, I found a newly-cresting saguaro.

Photographed this red-tailed hawk from my Jeep with my telephoto lens.

I was disappointed to find Bob & Pat's C626 on the ground ... so recently collapsed that the crest was still green!

Glomerate saguaro.

At the coordinates for Bob & Pat's C625, I found just a saguaro skeleton.

Discovered this top-crest right next to one Jeep road.

Bob & Pat's C629 was just starting to crest out when they found it in 2007; look at it now!

At the coordinates for Bob & Pat's C618 (seen here in 2007), I found nothing.

Tortolita Mountains

After another night's camp, I headed south to the Tortolita Mountains, north of Tucson. Of Bob & Pat's magnificent C20, only the fanned and feathery crested saguaro skeleton remains.

... but their C50 is still standing tall.

Hiking cross-country, I found this old cattle tank, now filled with sand.

Also nearby, I found this nice big arm crest that I think Bob & Pat may have missed!

And I found this saguaro just starting to crest out -- one to keep an eye on in the future!.

Catalina Foothills

Then I popped over to the Catalina foothills to hike the steep trail up to Harry Ford's awesome double crest.

Driving out through the neighborhood, I saw this javelina casually strolling through a front yard.

San Pedro River Valley

I ended the day in the San Pedro River Valley south of San Manuel, where I checked up on Bob & Pat's C372/C1947.

... and C1948, which I had to photograph from a distance because it was behind a barb wire fence on private property.

The next morning, one more Bob & Pat crest ... C1946.

Grabbed a quick updated photo of this crested saguaro along the highway, first spotted by Phil and Fran Kozol a year earlier.

Also spotted this crested barrel cactus along the highway.

... and another one, tipped over but still alive.

Northwest of Benson

I'd had a tip on this crest northwest of Benson, so I drove the long rough Jeep road in to it ... it was worth it!

My binos picked out a couple of crested saguaros on the opposite mountainside, so I shouldered my pack and started bushwhacking. This tall top-crest was a surprise along the way.

This big top-crest turned out to be a rare ring crest (Extend-O-Cam view).

This medium top crest was high on a saguaro-covered slope ... took a bit of a scramble to get to it!

This big top crest was was another surprise on the hike back.

Found another crested barrel cactus on the drive out.


Hiking around this area southeast of Tucson looking for Bob & Pat's C1373, I realized it was the same saguaro as one I'd found myself in 2018.

I spotted this one from a distance; after driving over to it I realized it was also one I'd photographed before (Bob & Pat's C90).

Saguaro National Park East

I stopped at a picnic area in Saguaro National Park for lunch; while I was there I took an updated photo of this nearby saguaro which had justed crested out in the last few years.

... and this one.

Hiking one of the trails, I found this crested barrel cactus.

... but unfortunately this big crested barrel I'd had a tip on was down and decaying.

Pinal Pioneer Parkway

Last camp of my trip ... and another stunning sunset.

In the morning, my telephoto lens captured another red-tailed hawk.

I looked for four more of Bob & Pat's crests, and found all four standing! Here's C520.

Bad omen ... or just a turkey vulture drying its wings in the morning sun?

... C509 ...

... C507 ...

... and C513.

Lastly, hiking back to my Jeep I found this crested barrel cactus.

And so ends another great trip. Thanks for sharing the adventure with me!

Back to Crested Saguaro Society Crest Quest Reports page.

Revised: May 17, 2022