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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

Tortolita Preserve-Post Storm(s) Report

Tortolita Preserve-After The Monsoon (8/27/23)


Hiked the Tortolita Preserve (TP) Main Loop (7 miles) this early this morning. Reports of significant saguaro damage in the Saguaro National Park after last week's storms prompted an inspection of TP.

There were three TP monsoon events last week; Monday (8/21)-0.15 inches, Tuesday (8/22)-0.5 inches and Saturday (8/26)-0.6 inches for a total of 1.25" of rain. Not too much precipitation at one time but the 8/22 event had wind gusts up to 50 mph and the rain was coming in sideways with some hail.

There is good news to report. TP is in fine condition based on my observations from the trail and summarized as follows with photo collage below:

  • TP saguaros did not incur much damage at all. A couple of older saguaros were down (just off trail) and a few limbs down.

  • Smaller washes flowed but the medium and large washes had very little evidence of runoff.

  • The trail is washed off nicely and it is firm. Not much sand migration onto the trail which is good for the bikers.

  • Remnants of this year's large saguaro fruit production can still be seen on the ground around the saguaros. Let's hope any seeds not consumed by birds and animals will find a nice home and germinate.

  • Ironwood trees are still leafed out in green.

  • Palo verde trees seed pods are all down and the trees are nice and green.

  • Barrel cactus are blooming.

  • Strong-Arm passed on 8/4/22 and after one-year the big saguaro is full decayed.

Photos (left to right & down): Cupid's Saguaro-limbs down, saguaro-half down (trail-west), TP sunrise-looking east, lost reflectors (show up in the dark with headlamp), medium wash-no flow, barrel cactus-yellow-pink bloom, ironwood tree-leafed in green, remnants of saguaro fruit on desert floor, saguaro-arms down (trail-west), TP panorama-looking west, palo verde firm and green, double barrel cactus-orange bloom, prickly pear-pink fruit, TP panorama-looking west, cactus succumbs to bacterial necrosis-trail north, beautiful middle-aged saguaro and remnants of Strong-Arm after passing one year ago.


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