Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Junior Ranger Emma Luhr Interprets Saguaro National Park

Bert Gildart: Late in the evening, two days ago, we pulled in to Cactus Country RV Resort, located on the fringe of Tucson, Arizona. We’re here to visit our friends Rich, Emma and Eleanor Luhr, and to hike portions of Saguaro National Park, located about eight miles from the campground.

SAGUARO CACTUS: Rich produces Airstream Life Magazine, and we met online when he was looking for contributors. At the time, we had an Airstream, and like all Airstream owners, wanted to tell the world about our passion for this icon of the RV world.

That was about four years ago, and since our online introduction, we’ve become good friends not only with Rich, but with his wife and young daughter, whom they home school as they travel North America searching for stories, attending Airstream rallies, and generally making friends with Airstream owners.

In the interim, they’ve taken the magazine from an embryonic upstart to one that the Airstream industry endorses and that travelers from both within—and outside—of the Airstream community crave to read. I’m proud to say that my stories have appeared in every issue.

The lifestyle has certainly benefited young Emma, for in the course of the last few years of travel, she has certainly seen the majority of the nation’s national parks, most recently, Saguaro, in which we all hiked yesterday. As the family has traveled, Emma has also attended junior ranger programs.

EMMA LUHR: Saguaro, as young Emma explained, is pronounced “sah Wah row,” and as she knows, this is a huge member of the cactus family. It has arms, and sometimes those arms are home to all sorts of creatures like woodpeckers and hawks. And as Emma knows, it’s also home to several different species of owls, to include the elf owl.

“We thought we’d found one the other day,” said Emma as we drove a loop road in the park’s eastern district. “Dad spent almost an hour photographing it, even asking people to be quiet. But when we got back to our home (the Airstream), and he blew the photo up on the computer, it wasn’t an owl; just the inside on the arm of the saguaro.”

When I heard the story, I was skeptical, until we came to the huge saguaro, and saw the pattern for ourselves.

ACCORDION PLEATS: Saguaro National Park is divided up into two districts, an eastern and a western district. Both are located on the outskirts of Tucson, and both serve to protect the giant saguaro cactus and its fascinating biology.

Historically, the Tohono O’Odham Indians harvested the juicy, fig-like fruit, making jam and syrup for religious ceremonies. Biologically, the plant is long lived, and about age 40 begins producing arms. To help in water retention it produces accordion like pleats that allow the saguaro to expand and hold water.

That’s just for starters, but are a few of the reason conservationist are now struggling so hard to preserve this park, struggling to exist as Tucson continues to expand.

We’re here for several days and while here plan to learn more about this incredible plant, hike a few more trails with the Luhrs, and learn, perhaps, a bit more about the park from young Emma, who has become a very sophisticated young traveler.

One Response to “Junior Ranger Emma Luhr Interprets Saguaro National Park”

  1. Michael&Tracy Bertch Says:

    I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet you all…we have read the articles with relish. We went to Organ Pipe with some friends from Ajo on the 13th…we took the Ajo Mt Loop(other side of the highway from the Visitors Center…dusty, but well worth the time, which, unfortunately, we were short of, so we didn’t get to do the longer loop that circles down near the border and back…NEXT time…
    Safe journeys, and we look forward to meeting you, sometime…………….mike&tracy