Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Change is the Only Constant

"You cannot step into the same river twice." - Heraclitus

We like stepping out to enjoy fresh air and sunshine often. Although we almost always go to the same general location, it looks different depending on time of day, weather and season.

On Saturday, four of us strolled over to Sabino Canyon. As we walked through the parking lot at the recreation area, we noticed relatively few cars, probably because of the hot dry weather.

We followed the paved road to the first bridge where there have been recent sightings of coatis. Coatis are raccoon-like mammals but with longer noses and tails. We didn't observe any this time. In fact, we usually don't find what we're checking for, but are satisfied with whatever what we do see.

It's about 1.5 miles from the parking lot to the first bridge. At 9:00 AM there was little shade left. Just last month we could find more shade here at noon.

Sabino Creek is still flowing but the water level that we can see above ground will continue to decrease until Monsoon season in July.
Kevin noticed this lizard basking on a rock. This was exciting for me because I had not seen one like this before. The lack of black side bars had me confused.

Greater Earless Lizard Thanks, Max!

In case you're wondering, why the water is a golden tea color, it's from traveling through pine and oak forests of Mt. Lemmon before reaching Sabino Canyon.
These little fish swimming in the creek might have been Gila Chubs, the only native fish left in this stream. I don't know much about fish, but I understand that sometimes invasive fish species are also found in this stream.
Trams run every half hour. The cost is now $8.00 for an all-day ticket to ride to the top of the canyon, 3.8 miles. On the way back, visitors can disembark and get back on on the shuttle at any of the nine stops. We're pretty frugal, so we haven't bought tickets since years ago, when the price was only $4.00. But the narrated tour is a great introduction to the canyon and is highly recommended for newcomers.
This bridge is commonly referred to as the first bridge. Sabino Canyon has many bridges and as far as we've gathered, they are not numbered or named. Apparently, they are known in relation to the tram stops, which are numbered. This is the first of nine bridges past tram stop one. Sometime it might be fun to take pictures of the bridges and assign names to them.

Names would make it easier to talk about the canyon. For example, when Kevin runs in the canyon, he often sees coatis at the second bridge past mile two, or is it the forth or fifth bridge past tram stop one? We just randomly named it Vernors Bridge after a brand of ginger ale. But, I digress. Back to the first bridge.
As the weather heats up and the water recedes, it's interesting to frequent the same areas of the creek, when familiar boulders are less submerged underwater. And of course, in hot weather it's hard to resist stepping into the cool water. And thankfully, wading is permitted here.

We lingered by the first bridge for a while. But as the air temperature rose, and the levels in our water bottles decreased, we headed back towards home. This is the last hill to climb. I remember the very first time I trudged up that hill, it felt so steep, and I could barely catch my breath. Now it seems like a breeze, and it's all downhill from there.
As noted by Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, no one ever steps in the same river twice, because it's not the same river and we are always changing. Maybe this is why I resonate with the concept of Travelin' Local. Lisa Newton's blog features stories about how she and others "travel local" and find things that are fascinating about the areas where they live.

Are there places in your area that you like to visit, even though you've been many times before, just to see what's new or changed since last time? Or maybe there are some local spots that you haven't looked into yet or not for a long time. You might be pleasantly surprised by what's in your own backyard, so to speak.


Max said...

The mystery reptile looks like a great earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus). One of many interesting creatures I miss when I am out of the southwest.

Of course, we have many interesting plants and animals in the northwest and I also visit my local areas as often as possible to look for changes in their communities

Teri C said...

It sure looks different at this time of the year-beautiful but different. It is so neat to look at your photos and say,"Oh yes, I was there or I remember that".

Great capture on that reptile.

BC Doan said...

I enjoy this mental trip along your post. It's so interesting and enjoyable with beautiful photos.

I like to frequent Bell Isle Conservatory, since they change the flowers according to seasons..

Phoenix C. said...

Really enjoyed this, Diane. It is so true that things constantly change, especially in Nature.

I love the lizard - it looks as if it's got long legs. Also like that idea of naming a bridge after ginger ale!!

I'll think about your last paragraph. In terms of what's in my own back yard - the garden changes so quickly at this time of year, if I'm too busy to look for one day, I've missed loads!!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Diane:)


Gorgeous photos and lovely narration. I tremendously enjoyed this invigorating trip with you. Many, many thanks.


Have a bright and beautiful day:)

Glynis said...

What a lovely trip, thanks I enjoyed that!

Kevin said...

Thanks for taking us up a journey of this beautiful canyon. I like the naming of the bridges, sounds a little like where I live, everything has a name that the oldtimers know while the new folks here just look at you and wonder what you are talking about!

Prospero said...

This is definitively a place I want to visit. My parents once took a trip to Arizona and they said they thought I would love it (great landscapes being my thing). I think they were right. But it looks so hot! But I guess it's dry heat. In Bermuda, the temperatures never get too high - but the humidity. It's like living in a sauna.

I would have been very interested in seeing those Coatis as well. Thanks for the virtual trip (it'll have to do till I get there)!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful Diane.. When I come to Sabino Canyon, I will take that TRAM the first time---just to get an overall look at the area. Then I'll walk some--like you all did. That is good exercise..


Julie said...

How wonderful to live right there at such a magical place!!! WOW!