Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sliding into Summer

While many people are welcoming signs of spring after a long winter, Sabino Canyon's short and sweet spring is over.

Here, spring only lasts from February to March.

Sabino Canyon is described as having six seasons. A brief fall, winter, and spring followed by seven months of summer. Summer is so long, it's divided into three seasons: fore-summer, monsoon, and after-summer.
A visual aid in the visitor center shows the year divided into six seasons:
  • Spring: February through March
  • Fore-summer: April through June
  • Monsoon Summer: July through Mid-September
  • After-summer: Late September through October
  • Fall: November through Mid-December
  • Winter: Late December through January
Since it's April, according to the chart, we're into fore-summer now. Fore-summer is when most of the cacti, Palo Verde and Mesquite trees bloom while spring wildflowers and grasses turn crisp. April, May, and June weather at Sabino Canyon will be sunny, hot, dry, and as the stream flow slows down, the cicadas will be buzzing.
Most of these pictures were taken the last day of March along the creek trail from the dam up to the first tram stop.

Some girls were having a picnic on a rock in the shallow water. The stream bed looks dry from this view, but the stream was flowing.
This little tree lizard allowed me to get one close-up shot before scurrying away. I like the stripes on its legs and toes.
A newly installed wheelchair accessible picnic table close to the stream near the first tram stop:
This cardinal was camera shy and the picture is blurry, but I wanted to show the contrast of his red feathers and the light green mesquite leaves.
Three birds were flying along the stream, possibly migratory Canadian geese.
We also saw a turkey vulture, hawks, cactus wrens, Gambel's quail, lesser goldfinches, hummingbirds, butterflies, desert cottontails, and round-tailed ground squirrels.


Martha Z said...

Interesting about the seasons, it helps one to know when to visit. I love to see Cactus in bloom but I don't much care for the heat. I guess that the temps are a bit iffy in the fore- summer, sometimes hot and some timesnot.

Julie said...

Gorgeous, Diane. We're still in Spring, here; the saguaros won't bloom until early May. Interesting how the same desert still has differences in the seasons. I'd not known about fore-summer. What a great trivia tidbit! When's your favorite time to hike the canyon? I've never been, and would like to go with a friend from here. Maybe you'd like to be our tour guide! ;) Wonderful photos; I can tell you're a naturalist at heart.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Interesting, Diane. Thanks for sharing your seasons for us. As much as I don't enjoy summer--I'm not sure I'd want to live there year-round... BUT-- I'm sure I'd love visiting there since it's so different from our climate here in TN.

Thanks again.. Seven months of summer, huh???? Wow!

Diane AZ said...

@ Martha - The canyon loses some of it's charm in the heat and when the creek stops flowing. April's warm but May and June are hot and the sun is intense.

@Julie - There is a narrated tram ride that gives an excellent tour 3.8 miles up into the canyon that I highly recommend first time visitors. Of course, I'd love to walk over to meet you and your friend while you're waiting for the tram or show you to the dam if you'd like. :)

@Betsy - That's why I love visiting your blog with all of your "waterfalling" adventures, to get a taste of a different area and climate.

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos and gives a great snapshot into the park. I especially like all the seasons.

deedee said...

When it's our hot time of the summer, do you still go into the canyon and take pictures? Just wondering...

Diane AZ said...

@ Teri - Besides the seasons, they have some other nice displays set up in the visitor center. My favorite is the herbarium for identifying plants.

@ Deedee - I go year round but during the summer early morning or early evening are more comfortable.

Kay said...

As always, your photos are great.

Here in SoCal, we don't have much of a spring either. We get really warm after March too.


Leedra said...

Enjoyed the stroll with you. The cardinal does stand out.

Leedra’s Photos For Fun

Leedra’s Greeting Cards

Photography By Leedra

Icy BC said...

Thanks Diane for a lovely post about the seasons in Arizona! We don't even have a real Spring yet!

Gaelyn said...

I love this. Never heard of six seasons. I sure enjoy them all here in Arizona. But we're still in spring.

Great post.

LisaNewton said...

I'm glad I don't have such a long summer, but your cardinal picture is fantastic. I'm originally from Ohio, where the cardinal is our state bird.............:)

Julie said...

Hello from Julie in south Florida! What a great place this looked to be! Fantastic photos! I love the rocky stream beds there (we have NO rocks in south Florida, sadly)!

That lizard looks like the one big "monster" that lives (along with others) in my tire gardens! They scare me...especially these big ones! LOL!

Have a great Friday and weekend!

Phoenix C. said...

Six seasons! That must be interesting.

Our spring is longer than yours - always nice after the winter, to relish the freshness of the new growing season! Even though it can be very warm, like some days this week, it has a very different feel to summer.

Your hot weather sounds rather nice!

DeniseinVA said...

This is a very interesting post. I never knew that before. Your photos are lovely also. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The last time I was in Tucson was in 1952. The bus station was still downtown one block from the YMCA. I worked as a window trimmer for Levy's of Tucson, then an elegant department store one block off of main street. I used to pan for gold in box canyons on or around Mt.Lemon. Imagine that.

kesslerdee said...

I need to get out more! I've been here since the early 90s and had not heard of "foresummer"! I love Monsoon season so that always carries me through the summer. After growing up in the midwest I'll take an AZ summer anytime- the humidity up there makes it much worse than our extra heat. I can't breathe when I go home to SD and my curly hair looks like Robo the Clown!

Anonymous said...

Wow, its like living on a whole different planet than the rest of us. Very unique and beautiful.

Walker said...

Beautiful capture set. Thanks.

Femin Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your seasons with us. I never expected those to bloom.
Keep posting........