30 November 2011
My Mom has been here visiting for the past week. We've taken many lovely autumn walks as my sister and I have shared some of our favorite spots with her! I always love visiting Montezuma Well, especially the path down to the outlet. It's a beautiful, peaceful oasis in the midst of a dry desert landscape that never fails to move me. When we went this week, there was a new sign that said "Warning! Falling Prickly Pear". This was the view when I looked up to see what they were talking about! Sure enough, there is a precariously perched prickly pear cactus hanging over the edge of the rocks above, but what really got our attention was the magnificence of the centuries old Arizona Sycamore tree clothed in autumn glory!
We continued our walk at Montezuma Castle. Once again the Arizona Sycamore trees were in full glory. The russet tones of the leaves glowed against the clear blue sky!
The white bark of the Sycamore is always stunning, but never more so than right now!
Another day, my Mom and I took a drive north to Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River. Here we enjoyed a walk around the Lonely Dell Ranch. The old orchard trees still carry an assortment of green to golden leaves and the ground underneath is a tapestry of golden tones. Just beautiful.
Our drive continued on to the Vermillion Cliffs, where we stopped to watch the California Condors. They were soaring too high to get a picture, though they were easily spotted with binoculars. The ornithologist was there, tracking 15 of them! It's always amazing to see them!
Our last outing before my Mom headed home was to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, where we spent a good part of the afternoon at Red Rock Crossing State Park. We loved the wide leaf covered path through the woods.
Oak Creek runs just over the right berm in this photo. This small tributary is really an irrigation ditch that supplies farms downstream, but it has to be one of the loveliest irrigation ditches I've seen!
There were grand arching Sycamore trees here too. We stopped and watched the birds along the way. My Mom is a master birder and with her along on these walks, I was able to learn to identify several birds that were new to me ~ Bridled Titmice, Swenson's Thrushes, and Bewick's Wren among others.
The views at Red Rock Crossing are stunning!
The golden leaves of this large cottonwood near the parking area just glowed in the afternoon light! This has been a gorgeous lingering autumn here in Arizona. Winter is due to arrive in full force in Flagstaff in a couple of days, so I'm extra glad to have had this lovely week of golden days!