Tohono Chul Gardens


Today was another lovely day here in Tucson, with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s.

My day started in the late morning, when I met up with my friend Jenny, whom I had known for years in Portland before she and her wife moved to Tucson. We met for lunch at a restaurant I had heard highly recommended by others, La Indita. After a delicious meal of spinach-and-nut enchiladas, we continued our chat in her backyard over homemade vegan chocolates, sent to me care of Jenny’s address by my other Portland friends Jack and Morgan, who happen to make professional-quality chocolates by hand as a hobby.

Then Jenny kindly offered to drive me to Tohono Chul, another local spot that came highly recommended by locals. I appreciated the ride, since it was 13 miles away, and slightly uphill. My Oro Valley Warmshowers hosts had generously given me a free pass to the garden, so it was extra special to go and visit yet another place with beautiful desert plants.

I marveled at the saguaros once again, as well as some more pincushion cacti. And I finally got an answer—from another passing garden guest—as to why some of the cacti were covered in Styrofoam cups. I had seen this at several botanical gardens in Arizona, and found it puzzling. Apparently the cups insulate the cacti from the near-freezing temperatures we have had in some recent nights. The guest said the garden staff would remove them in a few weeks, when the danger of freezing temperatures should have passed for the season.

After Tohono Chul, I glided about ten miles back to my host Kumi’s place in West Tucson, on a gentle downhill, this time with smooth pavement in a wide bike lane! The last part of the ride was on the Loop, and I got another spectacular sunset view of the mountains from it. 

When I arrived at the house, a friend of Kumi’s was over for drinks on the patio, so we all enjoyed a nice chat for about an hour, until the temperatures dropped and the friend needed to go home for dinner.

I have one more day in Tucson, with one more nature park on my agenda, and one more friend to see.

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