March 31, 2013

The Emergence of Spring in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona

Spring is coming on strong in Northern Arizona. The temperatures have risen into the low-60's in Flagstaff. Buds are beginning to appear, but plants are hesitant to sprout in March or April due to the still cool temperatures at night and the ever-present risk of a freak snow storm. But, down in Sedona, it is now in the low-70's and things are a good month more advanced.

New sprouts of an Arizona Ash

We went down to hike Oak Creek Canyon to see how things are progressing. It was a cloudy, but warm day, and the new lush growth in the riparian vegetation was quite nice.

We hiked the Huckaby Trail again from Midgley Bridge to Schnebly Hill Road. You can see a full description of the hike here: Huckaby Trail Description

The box-elders, ash, cottonwoods, alders, and willows are all bursting forth right now. The Sycamores are always the last. A few wildflowers are sprouting up, many of the manzanitas, condolyias, and other shrubs were in bloom. It was just a pleasant day strolling along Oak Creek Canyon.

There used to be homesteads along stretches of the canyon. Where old fruit trees remain, there were blooms of pink and white. In the open patches that used to be yards, purple locoweed was flowering.

A stray fruit tree in bloom.

Beaver Action

Hilina looking for aquatic insects along the creek

A willow in bloom