Valle De Los Gigantes

In route to Gonzaga Bay, we stopped by “Valle De Los Gigantes”, a tourist trap that, according to their flyer, has some of, if not the, largest cactuses in the world. A trailer and sign off the side of the highway marked the exit. The friendliest Mexican, if not human, greeted us upon arrival. He bounced and chortled and chanted “Idaho, Idaho, Idaho” as we pulled through the gate. Then he took our money and told us the roundtrip would take ten to twenty minutes, but we were welcome to stay all day if we like. We drove into the deserted dessert. The Mexican Giant Cardons (Pachycereus Pringlei — love that last name) affronted us.

They certainly are mighty cactuses (I really want to type “cacti” here, as I think it sounds cool but evidently that’s not proper, grammatically), as tall as maple trees. Yet unlike deciduous trees, cactuses have a much harder time getting off the ground — only one in forty million seeds root — and take centuries to reach full height — they won’t sprout their first arm until they’re at least seventy-five years old. They also live two thousand years. It was quite humbling walking amongst these prickly giants.

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