Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wild About Wasson Peak!

Painted Lady on Brittlebush
So I promised wildflowers and today I'm  going to deliver:)  Hiking around 4 hours to the top of Wasson Peak in Saguaro National park was a lot of fun.  Close to the Desert Museum, you'll notice a parking area on the right side.  Just drive past the museum and look to your right for the gravel parking lot.
The Honey Bee on Brittlebush
I love wildflowers but it's tricky to get the shots or make them interesting.  And today there were lots of flowers with all kinds of colors and shapes....but how do you capture the glory and majesty of a large landscape?  It's very tricky.  I can take a picture of the whole landscape but the flowers won't stand out like they do when you're in person.  So today's focus is the "close up".....and when possible, with a little flight:)
The Fairy Duster
The Fairy Duster, popular with hummingbirds, is showing off beautiful airy flowers. This is one of my favorites in the Sonoran landscape.
But of course my all time favorite is the Globemallow with its delicate orange cup.  Bees love this flower and appear in some cases to be laying inside the cup while collecting food.
Globemallow
In fact, on this hike, we faced A LOT of bees!  I know there is an epidemic going on right now with bee disappearance, but from our experience on this day, we encountered lots of them:)
While the wildflower season isn't a bust, it wasn't the massive fields of California Poppies that I was expecting this year.  Some great places for spotting wildflowers are along our Tucson trails at the National Parks, Hwy 77, Picacho Peak, etc.
Desert Chicory
Again be careful around flowers as there is a lot of buzz going on.......
But there was no denying that this trail up to Wasson Peak(especially near the washes) is where we found the most color and variety of wildflowers.
California Poppies
At one point, we tried to shortcut through an area, but the bee population was so active that we returned to a safer path.  If you do hike, just be aware of your surroundings.  It's getting to be that time of year when things get warmer and as it does, the other critters will start to come out of hibernation.....like snakes, etc:)  African Bees kill 1-2 people a year in or around the Tucson area.  Keep your eyes open and be careful where you poke that hiking stick.  Many times a walker with their dog will disturb a nest and the bees will swarm the person stinging them over a hundred times.  It's rare, but just something to be aware about....
From Wasson Peak
What a great view!  You get to the breezy top.  If you're lucky, you'll have the bench all yourself.  Bring a little lunch or snack to continue on......it's a great hike!
I also noticed several of the cacti beginning their bloom cycle.  While it's a bit early for all this to happen, it was nice to see.  Wildflowers come first and then are followed by cacti blooms around the state.  April is really a gorgeous month with vivid color.
A cactus flower
The blooms on some cacti are almost flourescent!  They never look real to me.  I loved this shot because as I was doing the photo shoot, this bee was submerged inside the flower....almost swimming!  Bees are beautiful as is the act of being covered in pollen:)  And that's where I had my best luck today....with the bees and the flowers:)
Bring plenty of water as the afternoon will get warm.
Of course, I'll be continuing my spring photo shoots around Southern Arizona.  Stay tuned for more fun! And more tomorrow....:)

17 comments:

Thérèse said...

THe fairy duster would be my pic of the day!

eileeninmd said...

Lovely wildflowers, I just love the poppies. Any color will do. Thanks for sharing your hike and the gorgeous flowers. Great shots.

Ragged Robin said...

A wonderful post Chris - beautiful wildflowers and great to see all the bees and the butterfly. You've made my day :)

Jill said...

These are all so wonderful. The colors are amazing! I am partial the the Fairy Duster (I have to love that name) and the California Poppy.

TexWisGirl said...

love the globemallow and your beautiful bright cactus blooms. we get the yellow prickly pear blooms here.

Magpie said...

Tracy and I are headed to Picacho Peak tomorrow. I do know that the rattle snakes are out and about in the far west valley already. Be safe out there! I love your shots of the bees in flight. Beautiful.

Gaelyn said...

The spring flowers are gorgeous. I love capturing a bug, bee or two on closeup flowers. Great view. Always a good idea to watch your step.

Rohrerbot said...

You two be safe on that trail. We went there several weeks back....and might I recommend you stop at the Ostrich farm for a little entertainment and photography fun??:) I have several posts coming up on this fun hike/visit:) The Rattlesnakes are out now. And bring plenty oh water:)

Pam said...

Be still my heart.. you captured the beauty of the colorful flowers, bees and butterfly.. perfectly.
And the mountain view is outstanding.

Elephant's Eye said...

The globemallow - has what sort of leaves? The combination of flaming burnt orange with grey stems is lovely.

Giga said...

Pokazałaś piękne kwiaty i sporo pszczół zbierających pyłek. Proszę jednak uważaj, na następnej wyciecze na nie i węże. Pozdrawiam.
You showed a lot of beautiful flowers and the bees collect pollen. But please be careful on the next cruise on it, and snakes. Yours.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thanks, Chris. Your wildflowers in Arizona are gorgeous... They are very different from the ones around this part of the country...

Speaking of hiking in the summertime, we have to be careful if we get off of the trail....CHIGGERS will eat us up!!!!!!

Have a great day.
Betsy

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful wild flowers, and the names are interesting too. The Fairy Duster is so pretty. Thank you for these.

Rohrerbot said...

Ohhhhhh I hate chiggers.....very much. Last summer was terrible. I had so many marks all over my body. Not pretty.

CameraCruise said...

All those beautiful wildflowers, love to see them.
I especially like the Desert Chicory and the California Poppies.
I've read about the bee disappearance too, but it looks like
you have enough of them.
Thanks for sharing all these beauties.

tracy said...

Your close ups are magnificent. Chris. I love to look at flower macros but have to admit I am totally uninspired for taking them. Maybe because I am so lousy at it. The Fairy Duster is my favorite desert plant. I like it so much that I even put one in my backyard.

laurak@forestwalkart said...

LOVElove these pictures. the flowers and butterflies...bees feeding...all that COLOR!!!! bright & cheery!

it would certainly be a terrible thing to disturb an African bees' nest. yikes. scary!