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…
Ironwood Forest National Monument preserves a beautiful piece of the Sonoran desert north west of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This site is focused on the Santa Catalina Mountains, which is already more than I could hope to cover and experience in my lifetime, but everything is connected…
I am not enough of a dreamer to visualize a map of Arizona with more than modest additions to our public lands, but in what what was clearly a bit of laughable optimism, I also never even considered a map where our public lands receive less protection.
Ironwood Forest National Monument is included in the Department of the Interior’s Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996. I am disappointed with the government’s decision to conduct this review at all – but the inclusion of Ironwood National Monument is especially exasperating – the area is just so beautiful and important.
More convincing than any words I could write is a visit to the area – the Friends of Ironwood Forest National Monument have a ‘Visit’ section on their website that has useful information – it is a tough time of year for hiking in the desert but even just a drive into the area is a very very very worthwhile activity.
Comments on the review are open until 7/10/2017, please consider commenting – some links you might find interesting/helpful:
- HOW TO COMMENT ON TRUMP’S NATIONAL MONUMENT REVIEW – Modern Hiker
- Preserving the preserver – Bedrock and Paradox
- Action Items to Protect Our National Monuments – Friends of Ironwood Forest National Monument.
PS – The comment period closes 6/2/2017 on Proposed I-11 routes – I-11 could potentially put a major highway between Saguaro National Park and Ironwood Forest National Monument significantly, and I believe, negatively impacting the Avra Valley area – this short post from the Friends of Ironwood Forest National Monument is a very concise summary of the issues with links to more information.
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…
It is always a treat to start the Pontatoc Trail and see water flowing in the first wash – as you might expect farther up the Pontatoc Canyon Trail there was water at each crossing of Pontatoc Canyon. New-to-me on this hike was watching the moonrise over Pontatoc Ridge – I wonder if, or how many times, it has risen behind me on other hikes, but tired and staring down at the rocky trail in front of me I missed it…