Archive for the ‘Mt. Bigelow’ Tag

Biomes Of The Santa Catalina Mountains   5 comments

October 7th, SCVN naturalist David Dean conducted an advanced training tour of the Biomes of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Biomes of the CatalinasWe began the tour by meeting at the McDonald’s at Catalina Highway where David provided an overview of the biomes of the Catalinas. Before starting the car caravan up Catalina Highway, David covered the lower biomes, the Saguaro-Palo Verde (100′ – 4,000′), which includes the dominant cacti and legume trees; the Desert Grassland (3,800″ – 5,000′) with grasses, succulents & shrubs being dominant.  

Biomes of the CatalinasAt about the 5.5-mile marker, we pulled off at Molino Basin where David lead a discussion on the Oak – Grassland biome (4,000′ – 5,600′) and Oak Woodland (5,000′ – 6,000′) biome. Here he used posters and the natural taurine to cover; Trees: Emory Oak, Mexican Blue Oak, Silverleaf Oak, Arizona White Oak, Alligator Juniper, Western Soapberry, Border Pinyon Pine: Shrubs: Mountain Yucca, Soap-Tree Yucca, Shindagger Agave, Sotol, Golden-flowered Agave, Beargrass; Grasses: AZ Panic Grass, Blue Grama, Sideoats Grama, Cane beard grass, Spidergrass, Bush Muhly, Bull Grass, Lehmann Lovegrass; Oak – Grassland: Oaks & Junipers, Chihuahua Pine, Buckbrush, Golden-flowered Agave, Mt. Yucca.

Biomes of the CatalinasOur next stop was along the highway near Bear Creek to discuss the Riparian Corridor (Not a biome) where we found AZ Sycamore, AZ Walnut, Gooding Willow, Fremont Cottonwood, Velvet Ash, AZ Cypress, AZ Alder.

Biomes of the CatalinasAt the approximately the 5,400″ elevation we stopped at the Middle Bear Picnic/Green Mountain Trail Head to learn about Pine-Oak Woodland biome where the dominant plants are AZ Pine, Chihuahua Pine Silverleaf Oak, AZ White Oak, Emory Oak, Black Cherry, Alligator Juniper.

Biomes of the CatalinasNext, we stopped at Windy Point Vesta(6,500′), a popular place for tourists driving up the scenic Catalina Highway. At this location, David talked about the Chaparral biome, which includes Silver Oak, AZ Madrone, Border Pinyon Pine, Alligator Juniper, Manzanita, Golden-flowered Agave, Beargrass, and Buckbrush.

Biomes of the CatalinasAt the 19.3-mile highway marker (7,825′), David leads a discussion on the Pine Forest biome where the dominant plants are  AZ Pine, SW White Pine, Ponderosa Pine and occasional Douglas-Fir.

Biomes of the CatalinasAs you can see, David used live plant specimens on his posters.

Biomes of the CatalinasEver wonder how Mt. Lemmon got its name? The highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains (9,152′) was named after Sara Plummer Lemmon, a respected botanist from New Gloucester, Maine, who arrived in Arizona after living in coastal California. Her Arizona fate was sealed when she attended a botany lecture in 1876 led by her future husband, John Gill Lemmon, and the whirlwind romance was on. After four years of courtship, the two wed and worked together cataloging the flora of the West, which would lead them to the Coronado National Forest in the southern section of what was then the Arizona Territory.

Biomes of the CatalinasA discussion on the last biome in our tour, Mixed Conifer Forest (Above 8,000′) took place at Bear Wallow (8,100). Here David illustrated the common plants in the Mixed Conifer Forest: Ponderosa Pine, AZ Pine, SW White Pine, Douglas-Fir, White Fir, Quaking Aspen; Silverleaf, Netleaf, and Gambel Oaks; Rocky Mountain, Big Tooth, and Box Elder Maples.

In hindsight, I wish I had done both photography and video of the biomes tour. Near the end of the tour, I did think about doing a video clip, which is what follows.

Note: Much of the copy in this posting is from David Dean’s handout, Biomes of the Santa Catalina Mountains

 

 

 

Catalina Highway Underpass Painting   Leave a comment

Doves, Lightening, HikingCatalina Highway Underpass Near Mt. Bigalow, Santa Catalina Mountains — Painting by kenne

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

— John Muir

Hiking Near Old Ski Run On Mt. Lemmon   1 comment

Old Ski Run Trail-1693 blog

Hiking the trail near the old ski run on Mt. Lemmon is a short hike with a good elevation change for the first hike of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists summer schedule on Mt. Lemmon. With temperatures now going over 100  degrees down in the valley, temperatures in the 60’s make for great summer hiking conditions.

Open Fire Campers-1694 blog

The nice mountain weather conditions not only attract hikers but campers. The trail led us across campers with an open fire. Currently, the dry conditions in the Catalinas have caused the Forest Service to place Stage 1 restrictions on having wood burning campfires. We made sure the campers understood the restrictions, helped them cover the fire and called in the sighting.

Ricki Leading-1697 blogImages by kenne

We continued on back down the trail to the trailhead led by naturalist Ricki Mensching.  

Next week’s hike will be on the Box Camp Trail. We will be hiking to a rocky overlook providing a view into the upper Sabino Canyon and will be led by naturalist Tim Ralph.

— kenne

 

Life: It Goes On   1 comment

Lupine Blue Butterfly on Cranesbill (1 of 1) art blogLupine Blue Butterfly On Cranesbill Wildflower  (August 5, 2016)– Image by kenne

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

— Robert Frost

Mushrooms on a Moss Covered Log   3 comments

Mushrooms (1 of 1)-2 blogMushrooms on a Moss Covered Log, Santa Catalina Mountains (August 5, 2016) — Image by kenne

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric,
but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

— William Butler Yates

Striped Coral Root   Leave a comment

coralroot (1 of 1) blogStriped Coral Root in the Mt.Bigelow forest in the Santa Catalina Mountains — Image by kenne

Those of us who weekly hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains frequently turn to Frank S. Rose’s field guide to the Santa Catalina Mountains, Mountain Wildflowers of Southern Arizona. On Friday’s hike, some of the hikers recognized this plant a coral root, a relatively rare plant in the Catalinas, we did verify our finding in Frank’s guide.

Like most orchids of genus Corallorhiza,  they have no chlorophyll and are mycoheterotrophic, making use of fungi to obtain carbon from the roots of nearby trees.

— kenne

First Summer Hike In The Santa Catalina Mountains, June, 2015   Leave a comment

The remnants of Hurricane Andres moved into southern Arizona yesterday bringing clouds, scattered showers and cooler weather to the area. Hikers gathered at the Lower Butterfly parking at the Bigelow trailhead in a light rain to begin the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) first hike of the summer in the Santa Catalina mountains. By the time we began our scheduled 9:00 am hike to Leopold Point, the rain had stopped and we were able to complete the four mile hike without rain. Temperatures in the fifties and occasional strong wind gusts made wind-breaker jackets standard apparel, it was a perfect day for hiking in the Santa Catalina’s.

kenne

 

Hike to Leopold Point Images by kenne (Click on any image to see larger view in a slideshow format.)

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