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Monday, February 29, 2016


McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale
Bootlegger Trail

Despite abundant winter rains and mild temperatures that raised our expectations for a banner wildflower season, this year's showing of desert blooms has turned out to be a more low-key event. The hype may have fizzled, but there are still plenty of flowering plants to enjoy along Valley trails.
One of the best places to observe a wide variety of specimens is in the far east side of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. In this area of desert, wildflowers thrive best among boulder outcroppings on the flanks of Granite Mountain
where precious bits of shade and trapped moisture nurse blooms to fruition. When the elements dole out perfect measures of rain, warmth and sunlight, poppies and lupines paint the desert floor in blazing shades of purple and orange. This spectacular but rare event is beautiful to behold but, there's also joy in spotting a lone poppy or colorful patch of brittlebush during less productive seasons.
On a recent hike along the Bootlegger Trail, I compiled a list of wildflowers we observed. There were many bloomers, but you'll have to stay alert to see them. Are you up for a scavenger hunt? Here's a partial list. Happy hunting!
1. Lacepod
2. Mexican Gold Poppy
3. Desert Chicory
4. Desert Wishbone
5. Desert Rock Pea
6. Scorpionweed
7. Filaree (Stork's Bill)
8. Desert Lavender
9. Popcorn Flower
10. Fiddleneck
From the Granite Mountain Trailhead, hike 1.3 miles on Bootlegger Trail. Head right on Granite Mountain Loop and continue 1.1 miles to Coyote Canyon Trail. Turn right and hike 1.3 miles (note the crested saguaro at the 0.8-mile point) to Dove Valley Trail. Veer right and go 1 mile to 136th St. Express and follow it 1.3 miles back to the trailhead.
LENGTH: 6-mile loop
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 2,415' – 2,822'
Granite Mountain Trailhead, 31402 N. 136th St. Scottsdale.
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Princess/Pima exit #36 and go 6.5 miles north on Pima to Dynamite Blvd./Rio Verde Dr. Turn right and continue 5.9 miles to 136th St., turn left and go 1.8 miles to the trailhead on the left. Trailhead is open sunrise to sunset. No facilities.
INFO & MAPS: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

1 comment:

Unknown said...

In this area of desert,One of the best places to observe a wide variety of specimens is in the far east side of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Happy hunting!