Monthly Archives: September 2019


Today Ed and I walked a short distance along the Oracle Ridge Trail. This time of year it is so loaded with wild flowers that in places you can hardly see the ground you walk on. We counted about thirty different species of plants, some loaded with flowers. We must have seen hundreds of thousands of blooms in about a quarter of a mile.

Because of my blood condition (pancytopenia) I am not able to hike very far up hills without sitting down to catch my breath. To help me, my daughter, Liz, gave me a small, lightweight stool, which I call my Portable Park Bench, or PPB. When I feel that I have reached some kind of limit, I place it on the trail, and sit down. My hiking poles give me the leverage I want to stand up again.

My Portable Park Bench in the middle of the trail

These rest stops are wonderful times for Ed and me to have conversations, or just enjoy being in the midst of such abundant and beautiful life.

The view of the trail from the Portable Park Bench

In the next nine days I am giving three talks about the Santa Catalina Mountain range. They are all free and open to the public, and I would love to have you there. This is the list:

Wednesday, Sept. 18: 6:30 pm,
“Tree Wonders – a look at some unusual aspects of well-known trees.”
At Sunrise Chapel, 8421 E. Wrightstown Rd, Tucson.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2:30 pm
“The Santa Catalina Mountains, a special treasure.”
The talk will show photographs of well-known and little-known parts of this wonderful mountain range. It will be given at the Community Center in Summerhaven.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2:30 pm
“Water Features of the Santa Catalina Mountains.”
This talk will show pictures of different streams, waterfalls, lakes and other water features of the mountains.
It will be given at the Community Center in Summerhaven.

I am also giving a watercolor class on Friday morning Sept. 20, repeating the class on Sept. 27. If any of you are interested please write to, and I can give you more details.


My friend, Dave, and I walked up the Turkey Run trail in the Catalina Mountains. We found a spot by Sabino Creek in an area that used to have a cabin.

We were fascinated to see a dragon fly (possibly a Blue eyed darner- aeschna multicolor) patrolling the stretch of stream that was in front of us. It flew fairly near the surface of the water, turning around at a little rocky area about six feet to our right, then doubling back to about six feet on our left, where it turned around just before reaching the part of the stream that was in deep shade. We were impressed with its ability to change direction. It seemed to us that it found a mate when it disappeared with another dragonfly for a short time, and then came back to continue patrolling the stream. At one point Dave stood astride the stream to see if that would alter its flight path. Apart from a brief detour, it resumed its course, at times passing right between his legs. When I got home I read that this insect spends years in the water, going through various changes, until the last summer of its life when it grows wings and takes to the air.

We also began noticing plants that are not native to this mountain range. We assumed that they had been introduced by the cabin owners. Years ago there had been 12 cabins along this trail, all of them now removed. Evidently when they were occupied their owners had created their own little gardens.

From where we sat we could see the leaves of Lily of the Valley – Convallaria majalis . a large patch of Day Lily – Hemerocallis fulva, a patch of ornamental grass, with green and white stripes, and Spearmint (mentha spicata). Behind us was a patch of Periwinkle – vinca major. We marveled that the cabins were removed decades ago, which means that all of these non-native species have survived all that time without anyone looking after them. Life is tough, even in the form of these fairly small plants.

Lily of the valley
Day Lily
Spearmint – that spreads by the roots