Flowers in Sabino Canyon lingering boldly into November – it is hard at the moment to imagine the top of the Santa Catalina Mountains turning a winter white, and while I know winter will come part of me feels like this this warm always-summer season will roll right into next year…
With (seasonal) water and fast/easy access to interesting destinations Sabino Canyon is an easy choice for night photography. You won’t escape the glow of the city here – if your only goal stunning images of the stars and Milky Way there are better destinations. But we have never failed to find something interesting to photograph and visiting Sabino Canyon at night is a chance to enjoy the canyon without the crowds – an increasingly rare treat!
The Tram Road in Sabino Canyon is not always my favorite – but today… Clouds and beautiful colors in the sky – Phainopepla in the trees – easy walking.
Good light makes it easy to see the grey color of the female Phainolpepla and the shiny black of the males – sometimes perched, calling, at the top of the trees, sometimes flying, flashing the light patches under their wings. The Phainopepla are here for the Mistletoe berries – they eat the outer layers and expel the the sticky seed giving the parasitic Mistletoe a chance to spread.
The easy walking on the tram road is appreciated today – with limited time I tried, and failed, to get to Bridal Veil Falls and after turning around under a just-out-of-reach deflated balloon stuck in a tree in Esperero Canyon (the first trash I had seen in miles) I was exhausted and happy to reach the tram road…
On a ridge above Sabino Canyon there is a small stone structure – the structure isn’t noted on the topo maps I have and you won’t find any informational signs as you circle the structure, but a 2012 article by Doug Kreutz for the Arizona Daily Star explains that “The structure is a water tower – or above-ground storage facility – probably associated with a well to the south and east” and likely built in the 1930s or 1940s.
Nights are beautiful in the desert and with daytime temperatures getting hotter it becomes a particularly lovely time to get outside.
Hiking at night has its own challenges – just like any hike be mindful of your knowledge, skills and fitness – going with people that have experience hiking at night and familiarity with the area you want to explore is an excellent idea.