Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Catalina State Park, Tucson, Arizona

Canada del Oro Wash in Catalina State Park

Rain and snow are in the forecast for the rest of the week, so I took the dogs to Catalina State Park today while it's still sunny and beautiful. The parking lot at the trail head was full of cars, so we followed the wash instead of the trail to avoid the crowds. Even though we had two days of heavy rainfall over the last couple of weeks, the wash was bone dry.
Rocky slopes and slightly higher elevations support healthy stands of old Saguaros.  Mesquite Grassland covers the flats. Arizona Mountain Ashes and a few Cottonwoods grow  in the sandy wash itself in a few places. Massive rounded boulders tell of the force of seasonal floods. 

Nice stands of Seep Willow attract multitudes of interesting insects in the warmer seasons. Now there were only a few seed bugs on the ripe, cottony fruit-stands. A few butterflies, some banded grasshoppers...no other insect life. Unpleasant: the thick stands of cockle burrs. Cody's fine silky hair seems to attract those nasty lumps and tonight I will have to bring out the scissors to get rid of them. Some zoochory if they don't know how to let go of their poor ride!

The boulders in the wash make for strenuous walking with camera and dog leads,  but we have the place to ourselves.   

A wild animal among the rocks?

 No, just Laika who's allowed off the leash because she'd never walk more than twenty yards away from us when she's in strange territory. She'd also never chase anything out there. But she did give some hikers a thrill who momentarily believed they'd spotted something wild...

Following the Canyon Loop trail for a while

The wilderness area beyond the park boundaries. This used to be Bighorn Sheep area, but for years now, no sheep could be found and now even the official signs in the park have disappeared. Still, I'm not taking the dogs any further.

A great place to be on horse back!


  1. Your photos are always so well-composed and taken at one of my favorite parks! Don't get there very much anymore since we moved to Cochise County.

  2. thinking, composition and great photography!

  3. This photo reminds me of my riding days in Arizona...I miss them. Someday, I'd like to ride again.