Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Brittlebush Side by Side

Arizona desert plant life is amazing.  For many species, much of its life cycle (leafing out, dropping leaves, flowering, etc) is dependent more on recent rain than on the season or even the temperature.  For example, ocotillo are famous for producing a whole lot of leaves nearly overnight and then dropping them whenever conditions change.  On a single hike you can see ocotillo in all different states of leafiness or nakedness.

Brittlebush (aka brittlebrush) is another one that can look dead in dry spells and then, when temperature and water conditions are right, will suddenly send up shoots and burst into a riot of yellow flowers.  It's more dependent on season than ocotillo, but individual plants vary so widely as to when (or if) they bloom that you can mistake them for different species entirely.

Here's a drastic example.  These two brittlebush plants were next to each other, maybe a foot or two separating their edges.  But one must have had access to better water runoff or something.  Look at the difference:

Pictures taken April 14, 2018 at Peoria Westwing Mountain Preserve


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cruising Alaska on a Budget is the #1 Bestseller today in Cruise Travel

Look what happened today on Amazon:

My book reached the #1 Bestseller spot in Cruise Travel!

If you want to learn how to sail the beautiful waters of Alaska on a budget, pick up your copy here:

It's only $4.99, and will save you much more than that.

If you want to be added to the mailing list about Alaska news, interesting stories, and cruise deals, use the "join my reader list" form to the right (scroll down). 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Peoria West Wing Mountain in Palo Verde Season

I hit this hike on the perfect day for palo verde.  Big yellow puffballs dotted the subdivisions below.  So very pretty.  This was April 15, 2018

Here's a close-up:

A lot of the creosote was also in bloom (creosote blooms more according to rain than season):

A few of the staghorn or buckhorn cholla were putting on a show:

And then there were the chuckwallas.  I saw three on that hike, literally doubling my lifetime sightings.  The first picture is a tiny one:

And here is a bigger one hiding in a crevice (as they're wont to do):  

And this lovely hummingbird.  What a great day.

To access Peoria West Wing Mountain Preserve, park at Westwing Park (27100 Westwing Pkwy, Peoria, AZ  85383) and then walk across Westwing Parkway and follow the trail markers.  

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Toadstools, Southern Utah

If you ever played Super Mario World, back me up here: 
Does this first picture not remind you of Chocolate Island?

And then...well...mushrooms!  I almost expected to see some cartoon turtles and a brightly clad plumber jumping around on top of them.    

This is the Toadstools in Southern Utah.  

The trailhead is on the north side of highway 89 between Kanab and Page.  It's a relatively easy 1.5-mile loop (though there are a few slightly sketchy places where you'll want to watch your footing).  First you get to walk past a lot of these melting sandcastle/elephant foot mesas, striped with deep brown-red and white.  Then you get to the cute mushroom hoodoos. 

It's as alien a landscape as any of the other alien landscapes you'll see in this part of the the country.
 (See links below for Antelope Canyon and Wire Pass/Buckskin Gulch)   

Please stay on the trail to preserve this fascinating place for others.  

See my post on:

Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch--A Great Slot Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend