|American Lady Vanessa viginiensis|
|Soldier Beetles Chauliognathus profundus|
|and Chauliognathus misellus|
|Female Longhorn Beetle Tragidion densiventre|
|Hummingbird Trumpet Zauschneria californica|
Other wildflowers are putting on a great show because of the unusually late rains.At Molino (Oak zone) there are still Hummingbird Trumpet, Flee Bane and Turpentine Bush.
|Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia)|
Higher up under the Ponderosa Pines along General Hitchcock Highway the air is filled with the fragrance of Tagetes lemmonii. It evokes childhood memories of catching butterflies in 'Studenten Knopf' (Tagetes) beds in my mother's garden.
The Maple trees are only just turning fiery orange. The photo below is from October 15th 2009, when the deep crimson color was already fully developed. This year a few cold nights will have to add the finishing touches.
At the ski run some Aspen are glowing golden, while others were still green. That's a rare sight, as the trees are genetically identical and clones off the same stock.
A beautiful palette and I am glad I didn't miss it this year. Luckily the Aspen and Maples of Ski Valley escaped the devastating firestorm that raced through Summerhaven some years ago. It is sad to see that for the safety of the rebuilt community many slopes are kept bare. The houses grew back much bigger than they used to be, but the forest is not allowed back.
On the narrow road from the ski run to the top of Mt Lemmon the low standing sun made driving a challenge but the light changed the young Aspen into pure enchanted gold.
The burned slopes further up are a stark contrast but they allow for a beautiful view over the valley. It must have been quite cold up here already: there were nearly no grasshoppers, bees, or robberflies around even though a few flowers were still holding out.