Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports

November 9 - 10, 2022 Near Florence

Report by Joe Orman


When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

                            Rodgers and Hammerstein, You'll Never Walk Alone

I met fellow Crested Saguaro Society members Harry Ford and Ted Codding for this outing to a saguaro-rich area near the town of Florence. We were joined by professional photographers Paul Gill and Kerrick James, who wanted interesting saguaro photos for projects they planned to pitch to Arizona Highways magazine and the Phoenix airport.

Our first (and main) objective was to show the photographers the impressive "I Want a Hug" Ring Crest:

Previous photos, from 2007 to 2019 -- over the years the edges of the crest have touched to complete the "hug":

Paul decided to stay at the "Hug" saguaro and wait for the perfect light, while the rest of us drove on to re-visit a few previously-discovered crests. First was this one I call "Crown King":

Previous photos, from 2007 to 2017:

Next, Ted showed us this newly-cresting saguaro he'd spotted just one month earlier:

Then we stopped at the saguaro known as "Hawk On Crest" (this time around, no hawk was observed!):

Previous photos, from 2004 to 2016:

Lastly, I led the group on a short cross-country hike to this big crest I discovered four years previously and named "She's a Beauty":

Previous photos, from 2018:

It had been wonderful to spend the day with others who appreciate the strange beauty of crested saguaros. But as night fell, I had to bid farewell to my companions as they headed for home. I made camp in a steady, cold drizzle that would last through the night; I even debated packing up and heading for home. But the next morning the storm had passed and the sky was full of puffy white clouds -- perfect for a day of solo crest-hunting! My first discovery was this small arm crest:

Driving up toward the nearby hills, I stopped to glass the surroundings. I spotted this big arm crest on the very top of a nearby ridge (Extend-O-Cam view):

Continuing the drive, I encountered this previously-undocumented top crest -- apparently it crested out only after other CSS members passed this way in 2006:

... because just a stone's throw away is this multiple-Y, which Bob and Pat did document that year:

... and a third of a mile farther is the skeleton of this former top-crest which Ted, Rex, Bob and Pat all visited that same year:

Completing my loop drive, I photographed another new crest near the "Hug" that Ted had spotted just one month earlier:

... and only a few hundred feet away, another newly-cresting Ted find:

From that point on the road, I hiked cross-country into one of the "blank areas on the map," with hope in my heart that I would stumble upon some new crests. I wasn't disappointed! My first find was this small top-crest:

Detouring around some cows near a corral, I came upon this crested barrel cactus:

Walking on, I found this small arm crest (there's a short section of "seam" on the right side, so I categorize it a crested):

I passed a couple of birds ominously perched on a saguaro:

Within a quarter-mile of the road where I'd parked, but not visible from the road, I found this big top-crest:

Only a couple hundred feet away was this tall Y-split saguaro -- they must be genetically related!

On the drive out to the highway and civilization, I paused to get this telephoto shot of a hawk on a (non-crested) saguaro:

It had been a wonderful two days! Whether I was with my fellow crest-hunters, or with only the saguaros for companionship, I felt like I never walked alone.

Back to Crested Saguaro Society Crest Quest Reports page.

Revised: December 15, 2022