Summer Solstice

June 21, 2009

We celebrated the Summer Solstice with a day in the Catalinas, the big mountain range just north of Tucson.  I wanted to look for Golden-flowered Agaves, whose blazing flower spikes are the very essence of Midsummer.  Unfortunately, the 2003 Aspen Fire decimated the agave population (and a lot of other things) but we did see a few.  This photo (taken from across the canyon) has a flower spike on the far right.  The big tree is an oak that has dropped most of its leaves and is waiting for rain before putting out new ones.

Oak and Agave

Oak and Agave

Molino Basin, one of the lower scenic stops on the Mount Lemmon Highway, is one of the first places I visited in southern Arizona.  I saw it within a day or two of my first visit to Tucson, in summer 1991.  I still think it’s one of the best places to see some of the desert’s most spectacular and distinctive plants, including saguaros, several oak species, coralbean, Arizona rosewood, pineneedle milkweed, riparian-zone trees (ash, walnut, sycamore, willows, cottonwood), ferns, and many other things.  A few miles up the road, Arizona cypresses and other evergreen trees appear, and shortly afterward the desert plants give way to pine forest and ultimately spruce and fir at the top of the mountain.  But the zone where the saguaros mingle with desert oaks is my favorite.

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2 Responses to “Summer Solstice”

  1. Debbie said

    I still have the coralbean pod with one seed in it that we found when you and Dan took me up Mt Lemmon – it has been on my desk at work, but is packed away for moving our office soon.

  2. Karin said

    It’s enriching for me to read your blog entries on seasonal festivals. While your half of the world bakes in the Sun, mine freezes here under (your same) cold New Moon. Isn’t it wonderful? And being able to communicate about it?

    I have a blog now! I hope to be visited often by you.

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