Canyon Serenade

How often does that happen!

Early morning mist in the Catalinas.

The Maiden Pools adventure began in the dark of the morning. Four hikers set out on the trailhead instead of five – down one to tummy troubles.

Once the first mile had been passed and the “real” hike began the wildflowers began to appear. On the plus side, access to the trail has been preserved when it might have been blocked by private property. On the minus side, the first portion of the trail is only a corridor, often between two fences, that is not an inspiring start or finish to a hike.

Here is a gallery of the brightest flowers on the trail – or the ones that caught my eye, anyway!

Wild cucumber orMarah gilensis

White jewel flower or Strepthanthus.

The poppy didn't open until  later in the day.

The poppy didn’t open until later in the day.

A little more bitter than usual.

Miner’s lettuce or Claytonia perfoliata; note how the stem grows through the leaf.

It's got shiny yellow petals ...

It’s got shiny yellow petals …

Calliandra or fairy-duster.

Crossosoma or ragged rock flower.

Desert anemone or Anemone tuberosa

Nice white flower I meant to look up.

Nice white flower I meant to look up.

Desert hyacinth or Dichelostemma

Wolfberry or Lycium.

Not every photo turned out and some didn’t get taken at all (I had some battery issues).  Also in the cast of characters was cryptantha and monkey flower.

The crowning glory of the hike has no photo, it was the continuing bird song throughout the morning. First we were greeted by cactus wrens and a sprinkling of white-crowned sparrows, but the delight of the day was the canyon wrens. I don’t know that I’ve ever been treated to such a continuous serenade from canyon wrens, long past early morning. L & I probably stood transfixed for about five minutes as we watched one bold wren at the top of a cliff sing and sing. With a few notable exceptions, I’m more accustomed to hearing canyon wrens than seeing them.

Our destination was Maiden Pools, definitely a lovely string of pools that I would be happy to explore again. To reach the pools, we crossed the stream 12 or 14 times – by the end were we debating whether we had lost count. Until we reached the switchbacks to the top of the ridge there was the sound of water, always a treat in the desert.

A gallery of water in the desert:

Sigh, that barbed wire.

Shadows at the first stream crossing of the morning.

Golden reflected light.

Lovely colors of the foothills in the stream.

How nice to sit in the shade and listen to the water!

Play of light on the rocks above the upper pool.

Deep shaded upper pool at Maiden Pools.

Bugs skimming the water in the upper pool.

Water at first pools.

Lots of water cascading down the rocks.

We considered a dip in the pool ...

Happy toes.


Striped gneiss I suppose.

Striking stripes.

Despite the early start, we had lingered long enough on the trail and at the pools that the hike out was on the warm side. As we hiked out more and more hikers were just heading up the trail – I’m sure they had a lovely day but I was very glad that we had the opportunity to savor the morning light and the song of the canyon wrens.


2 thoughts on “Canyon Serenade

  1. Elizabeth Owen Durham

    Thanks for this, Barb. I enjoyed thevwildflower gallery, but especially the gallery of water images. The flowers may still be out on our next hike, but the water may not be as plentiful! Liz


  2. David

    Thanks for sharing your post-peregrination thoughts, Barb! Glad to know the flowers are starting… we went to Catalina State Park yesterday and it was still way too early for the show there.



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