sitting on rails at back: Denise Wong, Kurt Illerbrun; left
to right, standing rear: Tiffany Rittau, Courtney McIntosh, Matt
Timpf, Crystal lafrance, Liz Seip, Melanie Wolicki, Holly Sanderson;
kneeling: Helen badham, Sarah Mackay, Lindsey Jean; Emma Ware;
reclining; Vicki Cuthbertson.
Scenes from a few campsites.
Monument Valley We often stop here in Navaho country on our way down into the Sonoran Desert.
Arizona Upland desert A series of scenes from the higher-elevation section of the Sonoran desert.
Kofa A scene in Kofa Refuge, near a favorite camp. To the right is the Saguaro, Cereus giganteus, next to an ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens. The small grey bushes are bursage Ambrosia dumosa, and the slightly larger greenish bushes are the creosote bush, Larrea tridentata. On the left is a cholla cactus (Opuntia). In the distance you can see mesquites (Prosopis) and Teddy-bear cholla (Opuntia bigelovii). Note the extensive desert pavement. Palm Canyon (see below) is in the mountains in the distance.
Joshua Tree National Park. Since we've been going to the Califormia deserts, this park has become a firm favorite.
Tres Virgenes In central Baja, between Santa Rosalia and san Ignacio, are these extinct volcanos. In the foreground is an Elephant Tree, Pachycormus discolor, growing in the lava rubble.
Cardon A close-up of Pachycereus pringlei, the Baja California counterpart of the mainland Saguaro. To the right is Yucca valida.
Jumping Cholla Opuntia fulgida is one of the more dangerous plants you will encounter! These plants grow to the size of small trees. We had a memorable camp in a grove of these plants in Sonora, Mexico..
Desert IronwoodOlneya tesota, the Desert Ironwood tree is a leguminous tree characteristic of bajada slopes in much of the southern part of Arizona, along with Paloverde, Cercidium. Its wood is so dense, it sinks in water. Its stems are well-armed with flesh-ripping thorns. To the right is a fairly tall Larrea, the creosote bush.
Fan palm Here, eager students vie to be the first to fall off a Fan Palm Washingtonia filifera in Mexico.
Palm CanyonWashingtonia palms were once quite widespread in s. Arizona and California wherever permanent groundwater was available. Now they are restricted to a few relict localities like this one in far southwestern Arizona.
Agave shawii This impressive plant is characteristic of the Vizcaino desert of Baja California. Here it is flanked by Lophocereus schotti, and in the distance you can see a mixed stand of Yucca valida (which somewhat resembles the Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia) and Idria columnaris, the Boojum Tree.
Organ-pipe cactus A large individual of Lemaireocereus thurberi in Sonora, Mexico, growing in association with Cercidium.
Organpipe cactus flowers Like most cactus flowers, these are much visited by insects and birds too.
Prickly pear - Opuntia phaeacantha This is one of the most widely-distributed species of prickly-pear in our area. We have used it several times in class projects to investigate how plants can show adaptive form so as to maximize their primary productivity.
Pricky pear - Opuntia basilaris Though this species doesn't have large spines, it DOES have the characteristic Opuntia minutely-barbed bristles known as glochids. These glochids look innocuous, but they can be very dangerous if you brush against them with your fingers and then rub your eyes.......
A particularly fine specimen of the Saguaro cactus. photo courtesy Dimitra Kandalepas
Tumbleweed or Russian Thistle, Salsola kali. This introduced plant has become characteristic of much of the arid and semi-arid west. Here we see a particularly fine specimen being modeled by Jane.
Chuckwalla One of the larger lizards we are likely to encounter. Looks fearsome, but essentially harmless; it is a herbivore, eating creosote bush leaves as a staple..
Antelope Ground squirrels One of themore readily-viewed terribly cute desert rodents....... we usually see Kangaroo rats too.
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