2014 / Desert / Hiking / Nature / Park Ranger / Spring

Hiking in Arches: Park Avenue

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IMG_6678I led a Ranger-guided walk in Park Avenue the other day, and brought a camera along to document the plants in bloom in the wash after my program. There was a lot blooming the week prior, so I had high hopes for what I might find. It’s amazing the difference a week makes though, everything seemed dry and already showing signs of wilting! I was surprised, but I still managed to find quite a few things blooming despite the warm temps and lack of rain.

Park Avenue in my mind is a very under-explored trail – most visitors stop at the trailhead overlook, peer down into the wash, and then get back into their cars and continue down the road. Once you actually descend into the wash, it’s a veritable garden of desert plants, and a symphony of birds! I saw and heard rock wrens, a blue gray gnatcatcher, a flock of black-throated sparrows singing high on the juniper boughs, and a Say’s phoebe, who followed me for a good portion of my walk. It’s going to be a delight to see the trail change from week to week, as I lead the afternoon guided walks along that trail all summer long. I took a few shots, but there was more blooming than I got good photos of – not pictured, but very much in bloom were Eaton’s Penstemon, Common Paintbrush, Stemless Woolybase, Prince’s Plume, Scorpionweed, and Mountain Pepperplant.

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Rough Mules Ears – Scabrethia scabra

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Bastard Toadflax – Comandra umbellata

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Fragrant Sand Verbena – Abronia fragrans

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Plains Cryptanth – Cryptantha crassisepala

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I recognize this one, but for some reason, I’m just not coming up with the name right nowIMG_6700

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