March 23, 2015

desert spring wildflowers- get read to scroll!! (photo heavy!!)

a couple of weeks ago, I got up insanely early on a Saturday (insanely early for me on a weekend, anyway-- before the sun rose) and headed south to Picacho Peak State Park, about 1 1/2 hours south, on the way to Tucson. I wouldn't ordinarily do such a thing but I had heard reports on the news that the spring wildflower bloom was the best it had been in the past 10 years due to the rain and winter temps we've been having. So, I figured I could sleep later!! 

We'd been to this state park once before, in 2007, I think (?) to hike to the top, but this time, I was going to meander around, look at wildflowers, and hopefully get some good photos. I took over 700 in the time I was there; you'll have to tell me what you think of them!

(and by the way, as always, click on any of the photos to make them larger- and hopefully even more impressive!)


7:30 am, the sun just hitting the north edge--
this is looking towards the "Sunset Vista Trail Head" I believe. 

looking south, towards the peak. The left-most tip is actually where the longest trail goes to.
(Hunter Trail: steep and twisting, difficult rating.)
You should have gloves, because you need to pull yourself up via steel cables in a few places.
(I didn't make it all the way to the top when we hiked it, but Tom did.)

Saguaro & 'nurse tree' ocotillo. Saguaros grow sheltered underneath or around another plant
or tree till they get big enough to handle the wind, sun, etc.  Eventually they will
outgrow the nurse tree, or even outlive them, in the case of a mesquite or Palo Verde.

I didn't see too many birds (I heard a few), except for a couple hummers--
they were quick, but I did snag a few (poor) photos. Not sure what kind
this guy is; the sun is on the wrong side of him to get a good look.

Saguaro forest in the morning sun-- isn't it magnificent?? (9:00 am)

desert lupine, close-up.

Saguaros in a field of California poppies and desert lupines

Desert globemallow, pink variety (I think). Usually these are orange-r than this,
but I think it's the same species. The flowers are small, about as big as a 50-cent piece.
Reminds me of hollyhocks. You can see these (bushy) plants along the highway, too.

Not a flower, but flower buds on some sort of cholla cactus.

too bad I was too early to see the flowers-- this cholla is just loaded with flower buds.

a scenic vista, looking southeast.
(actually, this state park is right off the interstate, so you can actually see traffic on I-10
from the park. The horizontal line in the background is the interstate.)

I really like this one.
At the left, you can see just a bit of a Saguaro
skeleton sticking up out of the brush.

gorgeous views-- my photo composition skills couldn't do them justice.

yup, it's what you think it is- a snail shell. In the desert.
I was off the marked trail a bit, heading down a dry wash that had
obviously held water at one time or another. (thankfully, there
was NO rain anywhere in the forecast that day.)

Standing in that wash, looking uphill... another Saguaro skeleton.

again, I couldn't do the scenery justice, but I quite like this one--
it says something to me about the 'renewal' of nature, with the ephemeral
wildflowers alongside the hundreds-of-years-old Saguaro skeleton.
(sappy?? maybe. probably.)

another view of the hillside.

I found GOLD!! (haha!! I couldn't resist.) isn't it gorgeous??

These poppies are delicate looking!!
(I'm sure they're tougher than they look,
though, to make it in the desert.)
It was a bit breezy, so they didn't want to stand still.

So, the marked hike I went on (then went off of) to take all these pictures was only miles long, lol!! It took me, oh, maybe, 4 hours to piddle around in, on, and around that trail, and I took 245 photos in that time. (of course, quite a few of them aren't worth anything, photographically speaking)

All this is to say, I have quite a few more photos to post yet, so check back again soon. I've printed quite a number, too, so I can make a few (okay, quite a few, lol!) scrapbook pages.

thanks for accompanying me on my wildflower walk!


Jill said...

Wow, these are breathtaking!

doris sander said...

oh my goodness! these are stunning! and now i want to go visit AZ in the spring!

Jackie said...

Very nice! The desert is actually very green in the early Spring! In one of the pix of a Saguarro (the 11th one down, right after your bud-filled cholla), it looks like the cactus is directing traffic. ;)

stefani said...

Love your photos! Picacho Peak is always so pretty on the Spring. :-)