With the monsoon in full swing, I took a spin through Flagstaff last Friday afternoon to check on the status of the wildflowers in a number of spots. Sorry, I don’t have any notable photos to share (as I was racing to get home to Chandler – a mere 2.5-hour drive – after a 21-day road trip to the Pacific Northwest…), but I was eager to pass along what I saw nonetheless!
Bonito Park (Wild in Arizona book location # 7): I spotted just a handful of sunflowers in bloom in the field, with some immature plants waiting to bud. Although it didn’t seem like there were enough budding to create a wide spread bloom, it is a touch early in the season for this area to show. Scattered wild geranium, yellow wall flower, and common mullein are currently adding a splash of color to the green. Arizona skyrockets are also starting to pop up on north side of street in forested area.
Along Highway 89 (near Copeland Lane specifically): Fields of Rocky Mountain beeplant await those with a telephoto lens. If you decide to stop to photograph in this area, though, please respect private property and fences.
Lower Lake Mary: Swaths of calliopsis are blooming along the dry lake bed, particularly in the middle and southern sections. Abundant budding plants along the implied shoreline indicated this spot is just getting warmed up too! I also saw a nice patch of butter and eggs in forest.
Upper Lake Mary: Unlike Lower Lake Mary, it’s neighbor to the south is still holding water despite the warmer summer temperatures. Like Lower Lake Mary, this area is already showcasing ribbons of calliopsis along east and west shoreline. Healthy blankets of yellow grace the Narrows nearby as well. Stay north or far south of day use area to avoid getting swimmers in your shot.
Ashurst Lake (Wild in Arizona book location #13): With the abundance of calliopsis on both Lake Mary’s, I had high expectations for wide spread bloom at nearby Ashurst Lake. After enduring a more-than-normal washboardy ride along Forest Service Road 82E (which is still passable to passenger cars, just expect a massage en route), the meadows showed zippo. Scattered water smartweed is blooming early along the lake’s southern shoreline, but the water level is a solid 5-10 feet away from the plants and I don’t know how big of a bloom these water-loving plants will do without sitting closer (in) water if the lake remains so low.
Mormon Lake (Wild in Arizona book location #12): The lake is dry, but calliopsis is abundant in the field along the southern shoreline. A smatterings of Indian paintbrush starting to make an appearance near both formal overlooks.
Note that in the Lake Mary, Ashurst Lake, and Mormon Lake area, smoke from the Bar M fire filled the air on Friday. Burnout activities continue, so the smoke will lessen as time passes.
In other news – and for additional guidance on some of these areas listed above - AAA Highroads magazine featured our article “Put the Petal to the Nettle: Take a Drive on the Wildflower Side of Flagstaff” in their most recent issue (July/August 2014). If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, visit http://highroads.az.aaa.com/magazine and click on View Full Issue. We’re on magazine page 20-21 (digital edition page 22-23). Enjoy!