Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports

October 28 - 30, 2022 Western Arizona Mountain Range

Report by Joe Orman


From wonder into wonder existence opens.

I'd found many nice crested saguaros on previous trips to this particular mountain range, but it was such an extensive range there was one corner yet to be explored. Based on the success of those earlier trips, I knew that as the scenery opened before me I'd be sure to experience more wonders.

Leaving home on the drive to the desert, I spotted a patch of mullein plants by the roadside, with several crested specimens:

A few miles down the road, more crested mullein:

Once I had reached the desert mountain range, I began my usual process of circling the range and driving or hiking up each side canyon. Along each road I stopped frequently to glass the surrounding saguaros; at one such stop I spotted a young crestie about a half-mile off the road. I had just enough time to do the hike out to it and back before sunset:

As the sun set I made camp and marveled at the intense sky colors:

Later, I enjoyed a campfire under a crescent moon:

The next morning, I resumed the quest. My spotting scope couldn't determine if this distant saguaro was crested, so I gritted my teeth and hiked up to it. Turned out to be a multiple-Y ... what I consider "Not Quite Crested":

This one didn't require much of a hike ... was just a short distance off the road. Took me a while to figure it out, but it's a Ring Crest with multiple normal or crested arms that have grown up from the edge of the ring:

I could tell this one was crested, but only when I hiked over to it could I tell that it had a normal arm in front of the crest, and a twin (shared-root) non-crested saguaro immediately behind (Extend-O-Cam view):

I saw many, many Y-split ("rabbit ears") saguaros in the area:

This is an unusually tall Y-split:

This saguaro was at the limit of my spotting scope ... after I hiked almost a mile to it, I confirmed it was a nice Ring Crest:

On the hike back to my Jeep I crossed paths with this fuzzy critter:

Back on the road, I passed this newly-cresting saguaro. As I call it, this one has graduated from "Y-split" status to "crested" because of the cresting pattern on the spreading right half:

This one was a tough call, but I categorize it as a "multiple Y-split":

Another camp under desert skies:

The next day, back on the trail ... and another "multiple Y-split":

My binos picked out this fish-tail crest far from the road; I parked as close as I could and hiked out across the open desert to it:

My next two finds were unusual arm crests right next to the road. This first one looks like a rare combination of glomerate and crested:

... and this arm crest has fanned out into a mass of convolutions:

Lastly, as I was driving back out of a side road, this top-crest was obvious just a short way off the road. Once more, the eternal question ... why hadn't I seen it a few minutes earlier on the drive in?

Like the end of all good trips, I drove home content and satisfied -- and I took a sense of wonder with me!

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Revised: December 6, 2022