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March Spectacular

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.


Box Camp Beauties

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:



Morning at Catalina State Park

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.

Bridal Wreath Falls

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.

Anza Trail

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.

New Leaves

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.

Sun and Shade

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.