We continue to enjoy seeing wildflowers on our hikes in northern Arizona–although the extended dry period has reduced the numbers. Recently we hiked the Arizona Trail between Aspen Corner and Bismark Lake.
As before, identification of the flowers was done via an iPhone app and reverse image lookup. There may be errors.
We had a very wet winter and the months of May and June have had above average rainfall. This has probably helped to bring about early and plentiful blooms of wildflowers across the area.
Here are some photos of just some of the many wildflowers we have seen so far this.
In early June we were hiking along the Arizona Trail south of Lake Mary and encountered numerous clusters of Rocky Mountain Iris. While trying to get a photo of one flower a sphinx moth jumped into the frame. What great luck! Iris season has peaked at these elevations but is probably still going strong in the higher elevations.
In mid June we hiked along the Highland Trail south of Fort Tuthill near Flagstaff. There were a large variety of flowers but I was most impressed with the large clusters of Lupine. Most interesting was this White Lupine. I don’t recall every seeing this variety before and we saw only a few.
Other flowers included Groundsel and Manyflowered Stoneseed.
Wildflower identification was done with the built-in app on an iPhone.
There was a full Moon this past weekend (05 February 2023) and we decided it would be fun to spend a few days at Grand Canyon and do some photography and hiking.
We arrived in the early afternoon at the East Entrance to avoid the possible long lines at the more popular South Entrance. Our first stop was at Desert View because I wanted to take some updated photos of the interior of the Desert View Watchtower. First attempts were with a 24mm wide angle but it was not wide enough. So, back to the car to get the 17–35mm ultra-wide lens.
For the Moonrise we went to the Visitors Center parking area and walked along the Rim Trail to capture the nearly-full Moon rising over the North Rim. Unfortunately, distant high clouds prevented seeing the Moon until it was well above the horizon. No matter, it was still very nice. While waiting for the Moon, I shot photos of hikers ascending the South Kaibab Trail near the Ooh-Aah Viewpoint with the late afternoon sun illuminating the rock faces.
The following day also included a photoshoot of the rising Moon but we had plenty of time before that and found ourselves hiking down Bright Angel Trail. The trail was covered in packed snow and foot traction was helpful. We opted to only hike down as far as 1½ Mile Rest House before returning. I didn’t time the descent but the return ascent was 57 minutes. Not too bad for 1.5 miles and 1120′ vertical gain.
The Moonrise photography went well with the Moon rising in the notch between Cape Royal on the North Rim and Wotans Throne in the Canyon.
The following morning we arose early to see the sunrise from Hopi Point. With the passage of a weak cold front during the night I was hoping for some dramatic clouds. Nope. Nothing. Clear skies but there was the setting Moon in the west. As a consolation I got early morning light on the Tower of Set and Horus Temple.
It has been a few years since we have done a winter hike up the West Fork of Oak Creek. This is mainly because of overcrowding in the canyon and a full parking lot. But earlier this week we passed by the entrance and noted that the parking lot was nearly empty. We already had plans for that day but decided to hike the following day.
We have done this hike in the winter enough times to know that having solid foot traction gear is necessary as well as a set of hiking poles. With those aids, we had very little trouble hiking to the end of the established trail (~3.2 miles). As noted at the trailhead, there are 13 stream crossings and each one had ice-covered rocks and/or logs to step on. The trail was a combination of packed snow and ice.
We saw only a few people at the start of the hike and none after the first half-mile or so. On the way back, we encountered a few hiking parties intent on reaching the end of the trail and they were close enough that I have little doubt that they made it. As we got closer to the trailhead we ran into several parties that were ill-equipped to be doing this winter hike.
This winter hike is best right after a snowstorm but that can mean having to break trail through the snow. We’ve done that and it was a workout. But the payoff in snow-covered cliffs and creek are worth the effort.
Here are some older entries about hiking West Fork in the winter: