Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Walk in Sabino Canyon

This morning we walked on the Boulder and Sabino Lake Trails in Sabino Canyon.

Sabino Canyon Road - Photo by Roland Shack

Saguaro cactus skeleton - Sabino Lake Trail, Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon was formed by Sabino Creek. The creek, which should be flowing heavily at this time of year, is fed by snow melt from the Santa Catalina mountains where it originates 6000 feet above the desert floor. However, it's just a trickle right now and the cottonwoods, willow, sycamore and ash are suffering for it.

Boulder Trail, Sabino Canyon - Photo by Roland Shack

In fact, all the desert plants are suffering from the drought; normally fat saguaro and barrel cactus are skinny, prickly pear pads are withering, mesquite and palo verde trees are dropping branches. After good winter rains, desert wildflowers are legendary, but this spring it's doubtful we'll have any.

Views from Boulder Trail, Sabino Canyon
The Forest Service has posted High Danger warnings of mountain lions in the canyon, but we didn't see much wildlife of any kind this morning. There were a few phainopeplas in the mesquites and this young cactus wren was by the side of the road.


T. Beth said...

I'm surprised that there's any water in the canyon, even if it's just a trickle!

lené said...

Love your landscape shots! It's amazing to see such dry land now that I've been in Vermont for a few years--a place where the woods are filled with moss and fern.

Pam in Tucson said...

t. beth - I was surprised, too. Especially since there was more than the week before.

lene - thank you for visiting my blog! I'm really going to miss yours. Our escape from NYC in the late 50's was to the Long Trail - when Stratton Mtn. was inhabited by porcupines, not people. I miss VT and Leaning Birch brought so much back. All good wishes to you ...

lené said...

Hi Pam,
You've offered me such a warm embrace. Thank you. I'm sure bits and pieces of Vermont will show up on Whorled Leaves, and who knows, now that I set up "A Leaning Birch," I might just have to post something every now and then. ;)

Did you hear that Stratton Mountain had winds well over 100mph recently? Holy Moly. You might find this fact interesting too--Stratton Mountain is one of the main acid deposition areas in Vermont. The Bicknell's Thrush, a montane songbird, has shown elevated levels of mercury. One spot they've been looking, if I remember correctly (it's been a year since I researched it all), was Stratton.

If you're at all interested in reading with us at Whorled Leaves, we'd love to have your company.

Take care.