Sunday, October 2, 2011

Barrel on the Rocks

Over the years I’ve done lots of desert hiking, both on trails and cross-country. One of the more common cacti found in the desert around Phoenix, AZ is the barrel cactus.

Their sponge-like interior enables them to store water when it’s rainy for use later during the long dry spells. It’s interesting to note that barrel cactus tends to lean toward the south so if you’re lost in the desert on a cloudy day, you can always find the direction south.

The barrel cactus featured in today’s picture was found near the Shaw Buttes Trail in North Phoenix and as the poem relates, it has been befriended by mankind….. Enjoy!


We had some heavy rains awhile ago
So I filled up with water from head to toe
Standing tall, body erect, crown held high
Ready for that blazing hot sun up in the sky

In summer, this desert is a very hostile place
It’s hot, dusty and windy; moisture - not a trace
Without any water, what’s a poor critter to do?
Find a barrel cactus and chew, chew, chew!

A weathered old jackrabbit was the first
Chewing at my side, he satisfied his thirst
More came, a steady stream, day and night
I’m glad I had the chance to satisfy their plight

Notice the gaping wound on my right side
It’s ugly; it’s deep and impossible to hide
Thanks to the caring souls who came around
Using stones, they kept my body off the ground

                                                                       Poem and Photo by Herm Meyer

 P.S. Today on the 21st of January, 2014, I went on a desert hike and passed this cactus. 
        It is alive and   well!

        With my GPS, I documented the location as Latitude = 33.593082; 
         Longitude = -112.075763 and Altitude = 412 meters 
         (Accuracy is 5 meters).

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