Mountain Forests   3 comments

Coronado National Forest — Images by kenne

One of the things I love about living in the Tucson area is its biodiversity. Being in a desert surrounded by mountains (Sky Islands) with different forest biomes.

In the summer we spend time hiking in nearby mountain forests. However, this summer has been a little different because of the pandemic and forest fires.

Mountain Trail

Sabbaths 1999, VII

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.

With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.

The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

— Wendell Berry

Since I write and share poetry nature, I was not surprised to receive a Wendell Berry poem from one of my hiking buggies, Deborah. She wanted to know if I had posted it in the past, having not it gave me good reason to do so along with the video, “The Women Who Planted Trees,” by Emily Barker.

Mt. Lemmon Trail

3 responses to “Mountain Forests

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  1. Kenne,

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful !

    As I am sure you already know – but some folks might not – there are also a couple of sky island pine forests in the Rincon Mountains. The sad fact is, though, they are kind of hard to reach. It’s pretty much an all day hike to get up there then you would probably need to spend the night and come back down the next day ‘cause it’s just about too far to get out and back in one day.

    What has always amazed me about these forests is the question as to just HOW in the world they got there in the first place? I mean, they are completely surrounded by a very hot and dry desert on all sides! Just HOW is this even possible?

    I like to think about two theories. One is that during the last ice age, the high-latitude “boreal” forests began to freeze out and began migrating southward. Then, after the ice age passed and the planet began to warm again they migrated back poleward. However, some trees, instead of migrating back northward, took a different solution and migrated up into higher elevations. That is now where we still find them today.

    But it’s also possible that seeds for the pines and firs could’ve been carried there by migratory birds. Perhaps even a combination of the two factors might’ve been at work. We may never know for certain but whatever the case, it’s impressive.

    I recall one lovely picnic I took at the Bear Wallow picnic area many years ago. I couldn’t see out across the desert back in there and I felt like I was way back in the Great North Woods somewhere. Yeah, that really IS impressive and most amazing

    Fred M. Cain

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know the Rincon and the Santa Rita mountains have the pine forests we love. North and south have less to do with it than the elevation. The biomes common to the Arizona Sky Islands are similar to those found in Alberta Canada.


  2. Always enjoy the way the sun shines through the woods. It makes a walk so much more interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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