15 October 2016

Second Spring

This past week we camped at one of our favorite places, Granite Basin.  We love it because it’s quiet and beautiful, plus it’s only about a ten-minute drive from home.  It’s so close that my 73-year-old mother-in-law surprised us on two of our mornings there by hiking from our neighborhood to visit us.  It truly is a gem of our county, in fact my blog wallpaper is from a nearby trail.

It wasn’t our typical camping trip, though, as Dan worked every day for at least a few hours and Madeleine had some kind of social event with friends most days.   But we had the campground pretty much to ourselves.  Arden taught herself to play ukulele.  I hiked every day.  There’s a five-mile loop that connects to the campground that traverses several drainages with a really lovely variety of trees and plants.  Fall colors are blooming on the deciduous trees and some late flowers are still bright.  The network of trails continues on to the small lake and the imposing Granite Mountain and beyond, including the Prescott Circle Trail which is a future goal of mine.

Fall in October is my favorite time of year here.  The days are warm and sunny and the mornings are crisp but not yet frosty.  This week offered a bit of respite from our busy lives, a chance for reflection, and a pooling of stores before winter – it was good enough to energize us through the weeks until our next adventure.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  – Albert Camus

Some of the more interesting plants and trees in Granite Basin:

Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)

Salvia henryi (Crimson sage)

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)

Senecio douglasii (Threadleaf groundsel)

Oenothera hookeri (Hooker’s evening primrose)

Geranium caopitosum (Pineywoods geranium)

Cercocarpus montanus (True mountain mahogany)

Rhus Glubra (Smooth sumac)

Vitis arizonica (Canyon grape)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Virginia creeper)

Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine)

Juniperus deppeana (Alligator juniper)

Arctostaphylos pungens (Pointleaf manzanita)

Quercus gambelii (Gambel oak)

Chenopodium graveolens (Fetid goosefoot)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Virginia creeper) near our front door
(I've done my best to correctly identify these plants.  If you note any errors, please let me know and I'll rectify it.)