A Cruise on Saguaro Lake aboard the “Desert Belle”

Carl & Jo Forkner

November 2011. On a bright, warm autumn day, we boarded the Desert Belle for a day cruise around Saguaro Lake. The lake is about a half hour drive from our home, taking us into the winding hills that surround the lake, filled with saguaro cacti and various kinds of wildlife. It was exactly the right kind of day to spend on the lake!


desert-belle-piersideWhen we approached the lake, we could see the Desert Belle pier side. It would be interesting riding this double-decker touring boat around the lake to experience many of the natural wonders we have here in the desert. As we boarded the boat, we were fortunate enough to get the seats near the bow, where we would have an unobstructed view of everything on the tour.



And, believe me, Mother Nature did not disappoint on this day! Beautiful clear skies, a light breeze off the water, and temperatures in the 70’s (not bad for the week before Thanksgiving, right?). So, we sat back in our seats, relaxed, and let the boat’s Captain lead us around Saguaro Lake for the afternoon…


2011-11-20-13-14-18There were many things to see that day. Of course, one might imagine that the most prominent feature in the wilderness surrounding the lake were the majestic Saguaro cacti, standing like guardians of the lake on all sides. Below them, sagebrush and other desert bushes provided safe havens for wildlife that roamed around the lake at all hours of the day and night. For those of you not familiar with the Saguaro cactus, they are protected by law–any company that is going to move them must obtain a permit, including demonstrating that they have the appropriate equipment available to ensure the cactus is moved safely. To destroy or move one without the proper permit can land you a hefty fine.



We had the opportunity to see one of the true rarities of nature along the shore. Only 1 in 400,000 Saguaro cacti will grow a club–or broccoli–head. These are highly sought after by collectors of rare items–and often done outside the boundaries of laws and customs restrictions. As a way to help curb the stealing of these rare formations, those Saguaros that grow this unique head are fitted with GPS transmitters to track their position and whether they move.

DIK: On the black market, a club-headed Saguaro cactus can sell for between $1.5M – $2M? WOW!

There was much beautiful scenery around the lake, both with the rolling hills around us and the clear water below us. It was truly a memorable afternoon! Take a look at the slideshow below to see more of the natural beauty of the desert:

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Eventually, the afternoon came to an end. But wait! What’s that we see? Why, it is a group of ducks waiting patiently by the pier to welcome us back! 


Of course, what better way to take care of the little bit of popcorn that we had remaining from the cruise. Of course, the ducks were more than happy to oblige!

Would you like to know more about Saguaro Lake and take a cruise around this natural wonder? Here are some data points you may need:

The Desert Belle website:  http://desertbelle.com/about/

Address:          14011 N Bush Hwy   Mesa, AZ 85215

Phone:             480-984-2425

Email:              info@desertbelle.com

Join us again next month for a trip to the other side of the country and a visit to the beautiful Callaway Gardens in Western Georgia!

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