Ed and I were on the return leg of our hike in Marshall Gulch in the Catalina Mountains today. We came across some flowers we had not seen on the outward journey, especially the beautiful blue Mountain Lobelia. Lobelia

I said: “Will wonders never cease?” and Ed replied: “That exact phrase has been running through my head for the last ten minutes.” I suggested that he might have planted it in my mind by some mental transference. At least it showed how much we were sharing a sense of happiness and wonder.

When we set out on the hike we expected that now, early in October, we might see some of the fall colors for which this part of the mountain is famous. We did not expect to see many flowers, not at 8000 feet. It proved to be the reverse. The fall colors were just barely starting. See this spray of big-tooth maple leaves.


And there were lots of flowers. We counted 25 on the outward journey and 12 more on the return. (See the list below)





At our turn-around point Ed noticed a plant across the stream bed. We paused, took out our binoculars, and realized that it was a collection of Spikenard plants (Aralia bicrenata). This is a plant that we have seen in only a few places on the mountain. And there, in their fall colors, was a family of at least a half a dozen plants. This photograph shows one of them.









We were surprised to see many Canadian violets. We noted one that had a lot of pink (they are usually pure white.) I also caught this picture of a seed pod that had recently burst open to fling out the seeds for the coming season.
Violet fruit Violet
Plants found flowering in Marshall Gulch, Oct 2, 2013
Ageratina  herbacea            Fragrant Snakeroot
Aquilegia chrysantha           Golden Columbine
Arenaria lanuginosa subsp. saxosa       Sandwort
Artemisia ludoviciana           Wormwood
Brickellia grandiflora            Brickellia
Brickellia rusbyi                   Brickellia
Castilleja austromontana     Mountain Paintbrush
Cirsium wheeleri                  Wheeler Thistle
Commelina dianthifolia         Dayflower
Conyza canadensis             Horseweed
Desmodium arizonicum        Arizona Tick Clover
Draba helleriana                  Heller’s Draba
Erigeron arizonicus              Arizona Fleabane
Erigeron  neomexicanum     New Mexico Fleabane
Galium mexicanum               Mexican Bedstraw
Geranium caespitosum        Wild Geranium
Geranium richardsonii          Richardson’s Geranium
Hedeoma hyssopifolia          Mock Pennyroyal
Hieracium crepidispermum (lemmoni)  Lemmon Hawkweed
Laennecia schiedeana         Laennecia
Lathyrus graminifolius          Peavine
Lobelia anatina                    Mountain Lobelia
Lupinus palmeri                   Palmer Lupine
Mimulus guttatus                 Yellow Monkeyflower
Mirabilis albida                    White Four O’clock
Penstemon barbatus           Red Penstemon
Pseudocymopterus montanus   Mountain Parsley
Pseudognaphalium macounii     Cudweed
Rumex obtusifolius              Bitter Dock
Satureja vulgaris  (Clinopodium)  Wild Basil
Senecio bigelovii                Nodding Groundsel
Silene scouleri                   Scouler’s Catchfly
Solidago velutina  subsp.sparsiflora     Sparse-flowered Goldenrod
Stevia plummerae               Plummer’s Stevia
Taraxacum officinale           Common Dandelion
Trifolium pinetorum             Pine Clover
Viola canadensis                Canada Violet

On the way up the mountain we saw crews working in Bear Canyon, putting up barriers to the washrooms and picnic areas. My first thought was: “The shut down of the government has come to the Catalina Mountains.”  When we started the hike in Marshall Gulch the bathrooms were open, but when we returned it was clear that the crew had made it to the top of the mountain, as you can see from this photograph.


Fortunately all of the trails are still open, but the bathrooms, picnic table and Ranger station are closed until the government is allowed to get back to work.

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