Category Archives: National Parks

Saguaro National Park Primer

I’ve always been satisfied by a visit to a National Park, and my recent adventure at Saguaro National Park (suh-waa-row) in Tucson, Arizona, kept the streak going. The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where the iconic Saguaro cactus grows. Standing beside tall tubular cacti, some over 150 years old, I felt humbled and awe-struck. The giant but slow-growing plants bud their first limbs in 60-70 years. Thankfully,  the saguaro is a protected species within two national park sections straddling opposite sides of the city. They cover 143 square miles and include almost 2 million prickly plants.

Saguaro Cacti stand tall in Saguaro National Park.
Multi-armed saguaro stand tall like sentries in the desert.
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Retelling the Curious Story of Old Douglas, a Confederate Camel

Doug Baum, a former zookeeper, maintains a ranch of camels that he hauls to living-history events throughout the South. I first met him back in 2009, when I visited Corinth, Mississippi. He brought a few of his animals to help reenact or tell the story of the US Camel Corps and Old Douglas. Most folks nothing about this curious historical footnote.

How a 2,000-pound camel came to see action in the War Between the States begs a wisp of whimsy, but remains grounded on Mississippi’s hallowed battlefields.

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A Swamp Walk in the Everglades

Updated January 2023

“I know you’re into adventure travel,” said my friend Carol. “How about a walking tour and photo shoot through the swamp in the Everglades?”

Small alligator
A Florida Gator

“Sure,” I replied, not considering any danger. Carol’s right, I’ve jumped into my fair share of crazy escapades, so why not a swamp walk? Besides, if former President Jimmy Carter could do this, why not me?

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