Desert willows are one of the few trees which lose their leaves in the mild Tucson winter. They more than make up for it with these beautiful magenta blossoms which are lovely from bud to shriveled husk.
Had a lovely hiking date with my granddaughter yesterday. We drove 30 miles and 7000 vertical feet to the top of Mt. Lemmon and walked a little bit of the Meadow Trail. Many of the dead trees from the 2003 fire have now fallen, leaving copious material from which someone had built a couple of shelters. How could a five year old not explore them?
What a sweet afternoon. Chilly, but beautiful.
She slept all the way back down to Tucson.
I came up alongside a car with one of those Darwin Fish on it, with the little feet indicating evolution. The driver had a coffee in her left hand, which was holding the steering wheel, and a phone in her left. Arizona encourages natural selection by refusing to outlaw texting while driving. I anticipate a law as soon as someone important or rich (and Republican) dies, but not before.
A barn owl sitting in a palm tree at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Sonny grew up around the lake when it was still a viable recreation and wildlife area, learning to waterski there. Later, as a congressman, he lobbied and fundraised for this refuge at what is one of the last remaining stopovers for migrating birds in the region. Right up the road was this:
Monumental decay, accentuated by a dramatic camera angle. One of my favorite things.
In 1905, dikes along the Colorado River were breached by heavy rains, and water flooded into the Salton Sink, site of an ancient sea. The entire flow of the river was periodically channeled into the valley until the construction of Hoover Dam enabled flood control. The Salton Sea was stocked with game fish and became a popular recreation site for many years, but gradually became more and more salty due to lack of an outflow and high salinity runoff from surrounding agriculture. Today, only tilapia can survive in the lake, which is nearly as salty as the Great Salt Lake, and it is ringed by dessicated fish carcasses and failed developments.