August 16 – 20, 2013
Spring assessment, South Kaibab
Went on a two day springs assessment with the Springs Stewardship Institute in the South Kaibab National Forest south of Williams, Arizona. Went to two springs the first day and one the second. The first day it rained off and on and we had to hike down a canyon, up a side canyon and then up and over to another side canyon and back. It was quite rough and at times slippery from the rain and both the springs were dry. Found Arctostaphylos pungens on the rim above the canyon but no A. pringlei. The next day was easier and more successful as the spring was a large pool. There are Basque sheep herders in the area and there was a path down the side of a small canyon to the bottom. Dragon flies everywhere, I tried to capture this one large species but they were excellent fliers and eluded my net. The pool and the surrounding grass was full of garter snakes and we saw a water dog. Leaches are important elements of any big spring pool and we did see some. The common method of capturing leaches is to wander around the pool barefoot and then pick them off. This was done (not by me!) but nothing took the bait.
Hart Prairie is on the west slope of the San Fransisco Peaks just north of the road to the ski area. Most of it is owned by the Nature Conservancy and only opened on Sundays. Just north of the Preserve is a part of the National Forest. The wildflowers were the best I’ve ever seen.
South Rim Grand Canyon
Spent the afternoon. There is a paved path along the Rim from the lodge to the Kaibab trail. Walked this, any trip to the Canyon is an adventure I could see it every day and never get bored. Elk right by the path, went to the Desert House, they finally restored the upper floors, hadn’t been up there since 1957.
Went back to the South Kaibab down the Williams – Perkinsville Road. Stopped at Coleman Lake, a natural lake, unusual in Arizona. Looked for Arctostaphylos pringlei as some specimens have been found along this road but didn’t spot any. We headed south to Perkinsville where the Verde River train turns around. Continued south and ended up in Jerome on an intense dirt road hugging the cliffs. Had to cut back to Sedona and then up Oak Creek Canyon to get back to Flag.
On the way home went back down Oak Creek Canyon in the day, found Arctostaphylos pringlei from Cave Spring to below Slide Rock and A. pungens all the rest of the way south, inside Sedona and at Yavapai Point and Bell Rock.