Today was already the last day of our vacation in Arizona. We got up early in the morning the go on a desert tour and this time not on a horse but in a Hummer. The Hummer is a military vehicle that can go places where most other cars can’t go. The Hummer we went with was slightly converted and had a viewing area in the back so we could see more of the wildlife and plants as we were crossing the desert. The tour guide was a very friendly guy who was originally from the US Military and he knew a lot about the desert. He showed us which cactus you should eat to survive in the desert but also which ones to stay away from. Some cactus have salt water in them and that is a very bad thing as it will dehydrate you very fast. We also saw some cactus that needles so strong t hey would go through a car tire yet some birds are able to make holes in the cactus for a nest similar to woodpeckers.
We left very early in the morning for the tour (7am) as it is nice and cool in the desert but today during the day it got quite hot in Arizona. As we were driving back this afternoon, the temperature indicator in the car showed 120F (50 C) outside temperature on the highway. This is not abnormal for Arizona but it also not very common. It was an official ‘heatwave’ day and schools were closed. The highest recorded official temperature (not above the extra hot asphalt on a freeway) is 126F in Arizona. Only California gets hotter with a highest recorded temperature of 134F (57C) in Death Valley.
In the picture below, Robby our tourguide is showing Roos and Alex about survival in the dessert. In the background on the right can see the fuzzy ‘teddy bear’ cactus. It contains valuable fresh water but the needles are extremely sharp and dangerous. The very large cactus in the background on the left can contain extremely large amounts of water (the largest ones can hold up to 200 gallon or 700 liters) but it is salt water that you can’t drink.
We arrived home at about 11pm and tomorrow is relax day with lots of Wii time 🙂