A Hike Along Rocky Ridge Trail

Rocky Ridge trail signsAn easy and enjoyable hike near Flagstaff, Arizona, Rocky Ridge trail  is actually a section of the Arizona Trail.  It is 2.8 miles in length and climbs from 7,191 feet to 7,587 in elevation.  The trail begins at Schultz Creek parking just off Schultz Pass road and passes through warm south-facing juniper and pine forest with an interesting mix of cacti.  Along the upper reaches of the trail you find Gambel Oak and more Ponderosa pine.  Besides hikers, this trail is a frequent single track route, connecting to Oldham trail, Brookbank trail,  Mount Elden Lookout road, and can be used to access Flagstaff through Buffalo Park.

Rocky Ridge trailFor a quick hike today, I entered the trail at the 2.3 mile marker, partway up Mount Elden Lookout road, and headed south toward the Schultz Pass trailhead.  The trail lives up to its name, and although having some very smooth stretches, passes through many rocky areas as it follows the base of the Dry Tanks Hills near Mount Elden.

Best and Biggest Things Come in Small Packages

Arizona’s iconic Saguaros respond to the seasons as do other Sonoran Desert plants, but they have a unique system for coping with desert heat and uneven moisture.  During the rainy season their accordion-pleated sides expand to hold as much water as possible for the dry times ahead.

Lots of spines protect the Saguaro from hungry animals

The expansion areas run between columns of spines

Once the desert temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the mature Saguaros begin to produce abundant waxy white flowers.

Blossoms crown the saguaro stem and arms

Blossoms crown the saguaro stem and arms

The Saguaro flowers open at night and are pollinated by bats, then birds and insects the next day.

The Saguaro flowers open at night and are pollinated by bats, then birds and insects the next day.

Three-inch-long fruits quickly form where the flowers were.

Three-inch-long fruits quickly form where the flowers were.

Sometimes hungry birds accidentally knock the fruit from the cactus

Sometimes hungry birds accidentally knock the fruit from the cactus.

Birds peck open and eat the fruit.

Birds peck open and eat the fruit.

The fleshy interior of the fruit is a rich red when ripe.

The fleshy interior of the fruit is a rich red when ripe.

The largest cacti in the world come from these tiny unassuming seeds.

The largest cacti in the world come from these tiny unassuming seeds.

 

 

Slidefire in Oak Creek Canyon

Smoke filling the Flagstaff sky today from the Slide fire. Photo by Amy Dryden

Smoke filling the Flagstaff sky today from the Slide fire. Photo by Amy Dryden

Two weeks ago we camped with our tent trailer at beautiful Cave Springs Campground in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona.  We have lived for decades in the area, but never actually camped in the canyon previously.

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 20, a devastating wildfire started in the canyon south of the Cave Springs Campground, and has been whipped along by high winds. Twenty-four hours later it is estimated at 4500 acres and has topped out of the canyon and approaches Flagstaff, Arizona. ABC News 15, reports at this time the fire is zero percent contained. (Air15 fire photos at the link)

Work of Art

Work of art or Art of Work

What does art mean to you?

A beloved statue from Bisbee Arizona’s past is more than just a metal image of a mine worker.  To many who grew up in Bisbee it embodies the hard-working father, husband, brother, son or friend who spent his life underground in the local mines. It is a tribute both to those who survived and those who did not.

Bisbee's Iron Man, now painted copper, for the mineral wealth of the mines.

Bisbee’s Iron Man, now painted copper, for the mineral wealth of the mines.

Iron Man

The plaque at the foot of the Copper Miners Statue at the top of this page.