Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Blog Post Title image. Pink and black letters read "Hiking with Kids, Saguaro National Park, Arizona. A picture of the park is in the background and shows several saguaro cactuses.

The sky is a gorgeous blue, and the clouds lay like rolls  of cotton across it, like a sea of white coming to rest atop the mountain.

 

A cacuts is up front, with a mountain in the background. Clouds are above the mountain

 

And here, the echoes of the ancient people cannot be heard, but their presence can be seen. Did the Hohokam know, when they meticulously created each of these petroglyphs, that their work would be famous? That people would come from all over the land to look at these pictures, some 800 years after they were first etched in these rocks? 

The drawings depict people, animals, or things that look abstract to us, though it may have meant something to them. We don’t know whether these were put here for communication, worship, celebrations, or whether it’s art for the sake of art. But it doesn’t matter. Looking at these is still worth the easy climb.

 

A group of rocks. The rock that stands above all the others has a spiral petroglyph etched on it.

 

Another hike through the desert brings us close to cacti of various kinds, and they are as intriguing as ever to me. But perhaps even more intriguing than the cactus plants themselves, is the beauty they bring forth in desert fruits and flowers.

 

Saguaro cactus flowers

 

Hiking through the beautiful landscape of Saguaro National Park in Arizona, I have time to reflect on how blessed I truly am. How fortunate I am to be on this trip, to be able to hike alongside my family almost daily; to enjoy what truly matters in life.

 

Mother and daughter selfie at Saguaro National park. The mother is wearing a pink cowboy hat with a blue brooch, and is holding a walking stick. The 9-year-old daughter is wearing a pink hat with the letters TX on it.

 

Ten years from now, I hope to look back on these pictures with not only gratitude, but with excitement for the next adventure. I am so happy to be able to experience something new with my husband and children every day. Words can’t describe the feeling I get when we head on a trail together, and when I wake up each day with excitement about what new discoveries we’ll make together.

Travelling with young children can be challenging, but it’s an experience that none of us will ever forget. And besides, raising children is often challenging, regardless whether you do it on the road or at a permanent address. To me, the beauty of travelling and the things we learn together are worth every ounce of the inconveniences of living in a small space. 

 

Pinterest Title Image. Pink and white letters read: Hiking with Kids, Saguaro National Park, Arizona, www.marianamcdougall.com. Background photo by Mariana Abeid-McDougall shows father and three young childrne hiking on a trail at the park. A saguaro cactus can be seen in the distance.

As we walk around the Visitor Center building, the children want to take a picture of their own, with K-girl as the mastermind behind the pose. They want to look as graceful as the dancing cactus, with its arms gracefully reaching skyward and towards the path. And so we stop, making sure they have time to arrange their arms just so, and a picture we’ll treasure for years to come is born.

 

Three children stand in front of a cactus, with their arms arranged to match the arms of the Saguaro behind them.

 

As we head back to the parking lot, a man in a pickup truck asks if we’re looking for a place to park the rig for the night. He has land where RVs can park, and he has one spot left for the night. We decide to follow him to the spot—might as well help out the local folk. And as we settle in for the night, we feel like we made the right choice. Because right here, the desert gives us this.

 

White-gray clouds above a pink and orange sunset. The shadows of cacti can be seen below.

 

The beauty of the desert is beyond words to me. The weather is perfect—hot during the day and cool at night. The scenery is amazing. And the sky is always putting on a show. When the children are older, I believe I’ll come back here frequently.

What is your favourite thing about the desert?

 

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