Montezuma’s Castle was a place I had visited before, in the early 70’s, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to replace that memory with a new one. On the other hand I was in the area and it was supposed to be good birding there, so why not. It wasn’t as grand as I remembered and I had to check out a few facts with the ranger. I remembered climbing up into the ruins but now it was not allowed, so was my memory playing a trick on me. Nope, the ranger said at that time they did allow visitors to go into one section. I guess it pays to get to places early as you can.
Englemann’s Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha), the most common of Arizona’s prickly pear varieties, is one I have actually tasted in jelly form. The sign at the visitor center stated that “after removing the spines, the pads – called nopalitos in Spanish – are roasted, steamed, pickled, or fried and are believed to promote good digestive health. The fruits, or tunas, are gathered, cleaned, boiled, and mashed to create red dye and jelly. My parents used to live in Tucson and there I tasted the jelly which isn’t bad if you like sugar, other than that I don’t remember much of a taste.