Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports


February 11 - 14, 2024 Outskirts of Phoenix

Report by Joe Orman

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I have a room I call my own;
It is nature.
                                                              Henry David Thoreau


I set out once more, to the city but not staying within it. The most interesting things are often found on the margins ...


A month earlier, pausing along the freeway to stretch my legs, with my binoculars I'd spotted this big arm crest in the distance. On this day, I exited onto a side road and made the short hike over to it (Extend-O-Cam view):

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/cryavapai300/crest363.php

On the hike I also took a telephoto shot of this nearby top crest that I first documented in 2018; the photo is just good enough to tell that the saguaro is still standing:

2018 images:
www.crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/cryavapai100/crest161.php

The next day, my daughter Heather and I drove into a gated community far out in the suburbs. I'd gotten permission of a homeowner to enter the community and photograph this fine crested saguaro next to her houses:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest606.php

Our next stop was another gated community, again following up on a resident's tip. After driving into the community, I paused to check up on a crested saguaro I'd documented in 2011; I was disappointed to find it gone and replaced with a normal saguaro:

Photos of the crested saguaro that was here in 2011:
crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa100/crest188.php

Next we met the homeowner, who led us to this crested saguaro she'd found beside a street in her neighborhood:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest607.php

She hadn't noticed this small crest on another saguaro about a hundred feet away, but my trained eye spotted it!

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest608.php

She also showed me this mutated Y-arm near her house, but I didn't consider it crested:



When we told her we were planning to go on a hike afterwards, whe directed us to a trail system within the gated community. Lots of saguaros there, she said maybe we'd find another crested one! Sure enough, off one of the trails, Heather and I spotted this crestie:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest609.php

On our loop hike, we also spotted this golden saguaro:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/other/othersaguaro/golden/golden41.php

Heather was busy identifying as many different birds as she could; this colorful cardinal was one of them:



On our drive out of the neighborhood, Heather spotted this rare ring crest saguaro on the golf course:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest610.php

One last stop before leaving the neighborhood I finally got a telephoto shot of this arm- and top-crested saguaro, also on the golf course. I'd known about it for several years, but didn't have access to the neighborhood until now:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crmaricopa600/crest611.php

Driving back into town, Heather spotted this arm on a roadside saguaro. I stopped to check it out, but deemed it "future Y or future crest" we'll need to check back in a few years:



The next day, Heather and I did another hike, this time into a network of trails out in the country, to check up on a tip I'd gotten. Our route took us past this bull with impressive horns ...



... and this mutated saguaro:



Finally we arrived at the arm crest I'd gotten the tip on:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crpinal700/crest788.php

On the hike out, we encountered another admirable set of horns ...



... and a Y-split saguaro:



I nearly stepped on this crested hedgehog cactus saguaro right beside the trail:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/mutant/hedgehog/crest26.php

Other than a couple of mountain bikers and a couple of people on horseback, we had the trails to ourselves:



At one point I spotted this small arm-crest off the trail, and we scrambled down to it:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/crested/crpinal900/crest924.php

Back at the Jeep, I paused to look out over the saguaro forest we'd just hiked, stretching to the magnificent mountain range beyond:



One last day and one last hike, this one with my friend Bernie. Our goal was this waterfall; we were glad to find it flowing after the recent snowfall and rains:



From the trail, our views reached all the way from the horse riders in the foreground to the distant Four Peaks:



A telephoto shot of the horses negotiating the challenging terrain:



We didn't spot any cresties, but found several "normal" saguaros to photograph like this one silhouetted against the snow-dusted ridge beyond:



As my adventure came to an end and I turned homeward, I vowed to remember that nature's beauty is never far from one's door.



Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
that is all.
                                                              John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"




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Revised: May 3, 2024
All photos copyright © 2024 Joe Orman