Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ramsey Canyon Preserve


The goal today was a hike up Ramsey Canyon to see the hummingbirds but first I got some shots of one at Matt's house.


I am not sure if this is the regular visitor but was lucky to get a few shots off ...


...as he/she flew in for a quick sip.


One of the interns from Matt's office, Grace, came along for the hike that starts at the Ramsey Canyon Preserve visitor's center/bookstore.

Here is an excerpt form their Nature Conservancy website:

"Ramsey Canyon, located within the Upper San Pedro River Basin in southeastern Arizona, is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and the diversity of its plant and animal life. This diversity—including such highlights as the occurrence of up to 14 species of hummingbirds—is the result of a unique interplay of geology, biogeography, topography, and climate."


These honored people and others like them helped create the great preserves called "The Nature Conservancy" through monetary gifts and donations of land for preserves in critical areas in need of conservation for future generations and nature's well being.
"For more than 40 years, The Nature Conservancy has been working with local communities, businesses and people like you to pioneer solutions that save the lands and waters that sustain Arizona's (not just Arizona) iconic beauty, healthy economy and a rich quality of life."

From most places in Sierra Vista and here in Ramsey Canyon we were constantly reminded we were in a state bordering Mexico by the "Eye in the Sky."


We also noted this is a research area for Universities.


We came to see hummingbirds but saw lots of deer...

In addition to the hummingbirds ...


photo courtesy Nick Athanas

...and elegant Trogon (above) and other specialty birds for which the preserve is renowned, there are also many species of butterflys, as well as mule deer, coatimundi and ringtail to be seen.


... and inside the center feathers collected on walks through the preserve...


... and a few other interesting pieces...


... and a few reminders that this location is part of the Nature Conservancy.

The self-guided hike through the Preserve itself is an easy trail called the Bledsoe Loop is only about 1/2 mile one way, slightly more depending on which loops you choose.

I was amazed how accustomed the deer were to the many visitors here...


... and felt we had gone to another place altogether with the many trees and ...


... the flowing creek I was reminded of Vermont.


Matt and Sharyn posed for a picture while Grace explored a side trail.


Just so you understand the depth of this canyon, actually depth is not correct we were going up in altitude, this is a clear view up to the peak to the south east.


On the other side of the Ramsey creek we could see the Grand View Loop and the James house which was built by John James in 1911.


I like the interesting trees like the Alligator Juniper...


with it's scaly bark and...


The Velvet Ash ...

...a huge tree with bark twisting in a spiral up the trunk.


This is the James cabin, built by John James in 1902 at the height of mining activity in the canyon. The cabin is now tenanted by squirrels, ringtails and, in late summer, nectar-feeding bats.


I was wondering why Grace was taking a picture of the creek at this spot...


...then found out there was a spider web on the surface, something I'd never seen.


photo courtesy Matt Viel
Next Sharyn spotted a bird near the top of a tree and Matt got a picture despite terrible light and great distance he got an amazingly good shot. Look to the right of the darkened branch near the center of the picture. - Thanks Matt


Some of the lighting was better and the blue sky was amazing...


... as were the red holly leaves...


... and the broken limb protruding from a fallen tree in the creek.


At times the rock faces look like castles in the sky.


Since I'm always lagging I looked up the trail and caught Grace, Sharyn and Matt on a bridge...


... and then from the bridge got a picture of them around a burned down house and the remaining chimney...


... that still looked like it was in good shape.


There was another great rock face behind the chimney ...


... and below the rock face a pond we were told is the home of Chiricahua leopard frogs. I didnt see the frogs but did see a swarm of Ladybugs living in the log pictured here (look closely there are probably 50 in this picture.


I liked the number 9 curl of this grass against the black rock...


... and the way Ramsey creek wiggled...


... all along the Bledsoe loop.


On the way back down the trail I did some looking up...


... at the amazing rock formations ...


and the azure blue sky.


We took the grand loop back passing the James House and were reminded the canyon was originally settled as a mining camp for the Hamburg mine owned by the Hartford-Arizona Copper Mining Company at the turn of the last century.


There is art in nature and nothing reminded me more than seeing this boulder with what could have been a Pena or Gorman painting or ...


... this boulder that could have been a Madonna in the making. It was a great hike and a great day - we will return for the hummingbirds at a later date. I'm not sure we knew where to look.

Quote of the Day ~
"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." ~ Albert Einstein

4 comments:

Rain said...

We were lucky enough to be there and be able to stay in one of the old cabins before Nature Conservancy took it over. We had a coatimondi on our porch at night before the authorities trapped and sent him further from begging territory. He had doubtless left the pack and felt he had an easier way to live. There are some interesting books on their lifestyle if you are interested in them. Ramsay Canyon is a very special place with all its long history, I am glad to see photos of it as it is today as it's been awhile for me

Anonymous said...

Nice photos..where the rest in 2011??
Now ya got me hooked

Joline said...

Beautiful as always, Paul. Thinking of you and Sharyn!

Rohrerbot said...

Lovely pics. We just went to visit there several weeks ago and had a great visit! Thanks for sharing!

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