Dateline 14 March 2017
Mid-March is typically the best for wildflowers around the Tucson Basin and this year was no exception. Here is a selection of the most obvious blooms – there were also Blue Dicks, Cryptantha, Desert Evening Primrose, and a few others that escaped the gaze of the camera. Some of them we fondly call “bellyflowers,” meaning they carpet the ground and you have to be on your belly to see them eye to eye.
Arizona blue-eyes or Evolvulus arizonicus.
Crossosoma or ragged rock flower.
In the genus Pectis.
Water in the creek!
Rafinesquia or desert chicory.
Blue phacelia (I think).
White woolly daisy or Eriophyllum lanosum.
Poppy field delights the eyes.
A stand of lupine.
Marah, a wild gourd.
Common fiddleneck or Amsinckia.
Poppies sprinkle a wash with color.
Filaree or Erodium cicutarium.
Lovely owlclover or Castilleja exserta.
Dateline August 30, 2016
In late August after a few rains the flowers on the mountain were in their glory. The Box Camp trailhead starts at about 8,000 feet and the trail descends gently at the beginning. We did a short out and back with a focus on the flowers. Here’s what caught my eye:
Cheerful paintbrush along the way.
The little creek after the rains.
Yellow columbine amidst the ferns.
As the trail descends there are lovely views across the valley.
Clusters of lobelia by the stream.
Showy beardlip penstemon.
I’m calling this one stevia – not certain which one.
Spiderwort in its rose colored variation.
Striking blue dayflowers.
Dateline: February 23, 2016
With all the buzz about the “super-bloom” we headed out to Catalina State Park to take a look. It was a lovely morning and a delightful spring walk but on the loop trail the spring flowers have not yet approached that spring carpet stage that we hope for each year at wildflower time. We saw the lovely yellow desert evening primrose, something that looked like the tiniest miner’s lettuce I’ve ever seen, common fiddleneck, lupine, ragged rock flower, blue toadflax, lots of new growth on the trees, and an interesting vine.
Early morning light and shadow.
Lupine in the light.
Along the trail.
Saguaro against the skyline.
Dateline 13 January 2015
This is a retro post – compare the March photos of the same trail.
After a splendid wet winter, the washes that cross the trail to Bridal Wreath Falls were all running, and the falls were glorious. The hills were winter brown and the signs of spring were not yet to be seen.
Unnamed creek that feeds into the Tanque Verde Wash.
Pool below the falls.
Muddy trail – in Arizona!
Tiny mammillaria with fruit.
Grasslands of the RIncon foothills.
Sky and water.
Towards Bridal Wreath Falls.
From the Rincons towards the Catalinas.
Bridal Wreath Falls.
Water in the creek bed!
Clouds over the Rincons.
Dateline 3 May 2015
A beautiful day! For a desert dweller there’s nothing quite like the smells along the creek bed. Setting out without a clear destination, somehow we found ourselves on the Anza Trail in the shade of the cottonwoods. The undergrowth was lush: poison hemlock over seven feet tall, towering giant reeds (arundo donax), elderberry in blossom. The canopy was full of darting birds with hawks hovering high overhead. Many black swallowtails were sighted but none held still for photographs. The sky was a glorious blue and the clouds made everything look more idyllic.
The clouds seem to echo the shape of the ridge behind Elephant Head.
Along the trail.
Poison hemlock in abundance.
Elderberries along the trail.
Monkey flower in the stream.
The Santa Cruz.
Pricklepoppy or argemone.
There’s a blue sky.
Where we joined the trail.
Dateline 28 April 2015
Happily, the desert has been surprised by rain recently. As as result with cooler temperatures and the chance of wind, there was some debate about whether the mountain would be too cold and what might be the best trail for the conditions. After a bit of thought, the Sunset Trail emerged as a good option with views of water from Saturday’s snow and less exposure to the wind. As you can see, it was a beautiful day! After crossing into Marshall Gulch we continued a short distance on the Aspen Trail to check out the wild spring green of the aspens just leafing out. The combination of cool air, new leaves everywhere, and a bright day made this an excellent choice of trails.
New red leaves.
Lupine line the way.
Tiny oak tree.
Little and big.
The vanguard of the bracken.
On the Aspen Trail.
Distant aspen add a bright spring green.
The mystery of the darn yellow composite.
“As step I with the sunlight for my load.”
Valerian in bloom.
Sunlight on the water.
Creek in Marshall Gulch.
A violet graces our break spot.
Light and shadow.
Pinecone in the grass.
Red and green.
Oak leaves emerge.
Manzanita in bloom.
Baboquivari in the distance.
Dateline April 21
After a sojourn in other lands, it was a treat to be back home within sight of Baboquivari, with the scent of star jasmine wafting on the breeze and the prospect of a nice hike at 9,000 feet.
With their usual thoughtfulness, my hiking buddies planned an easy walk for my return. At the start of the day we sought out the sun as the air was chill with a bit of a breeze. As the day progressed, we could be found seeking shade, especially as we made our way uphill on the return journey. It was a short walk, less than four miles, with splendid long vistas across the valleys. The aspen were just leafing out, the bracken were still just fiddleheads, a few blooms were in evidence, and the colors of the rocks seemed about to reveal hidden messages.
Light through the leaves.
Fiddlehead ready to unfurl.
Aspen overlooks the trail.
Message on the rocks.
Baboquivari in the distance.