Arizona, September 2016

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#1)  Arizona, September 2016

Postby tsharp » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:13 pm

I hiked into the headwaters of Barbershop Canyon on 9/21/2016. This is located on the Coconino National Forest, Rim  Ranger District, Coconino County. It Is somewhat near the cross-road town of Happy Jack (Clints Well). It is very near to the Mogollon Rim but the drainage flows northward away from the Rim and goes into Clear Creek and the Little Colorado near Winslow. Access is via FS Trail 91 where it intersects with FS Road 139. Elevation is 7700' at the road and 7400' at the spring. The Canyon this far up is not very rugged and I had an easy hike down to a meadow where the Barbershop Spring is located. Supposedly the name stuck after a sheep herder would give haircuts to fellow herders near here. With sheep shears?

The largest trees of seven species measured along a two mile section of trail include:
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) 10.0' x 138.9'
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii var. glauca) 9.4' x 125.0'
Corkbark Fir (Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica ) 9.6' x 123.0'
Southwestern White Pine (Pinus strobiformis) 12.5' x 114.9'
Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) 6.6' x 93.6'
Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) 6.4' x 63.7'
Big-tooth Maple (Acer grandentatum) 2.6' x 54.5'
The colors of the aspens and maples added to the scenery and while I was relaxing on the hillside above the meadow a herd of ten elk strolled past me with the majestic bull sporting a  7 x 7? rack.
If ever in the area I recommend a drive on the Rim Road (FS 300). It gives one a good understanding of the impressive geologic feature known as the Mogollon Rim.

Next stop on 9/23/2016 was Tonto Natural Bridge State Park located near Pine, Gila County Arizona. Trees were measured at an elevation of 4500'. The lack of circumference for some species meant I lost my nerve when getting to close to the 200' drop off  that Pine Creek caused when carving the canyon and natural bridge. This travertine bridge clears the creek by 180 feet.
At this elevation one encounters Sonoran Desert plant communities.
The largest of ten species measured included the following:
Arizona Cypress (Hesperocyparis arizonica) 10.4' x 63.8'
Arizona White Oak (Quercus arizonica) 7.7' x 55.0'
Single Needle Pinyon (Pinus monophylla) ### x 45.9'
Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppenea) 5.3' x 42.9'
Netleaf Hackbery (Celtis laevigata var. reticula) ### x 29.2'
Redberry Juniper (Juniperus arizonica) ### x 27.7'
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) 2.3' @ 3 1/2' x 25.4'
One Seeded Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) ### x 19.6'
Western Soapberry (Sapindus sapornaria var, drummondii) ### x 18.2', 1.8' @ 1.3/4' x 15.9'
Sonoran Scrub Oak (Quercus turbinella) 1.8' x 14.2'
The cashew is a planted exotic, the rest are native.
All Trees measured were entered into the Trees Database.

For additional information about the park see:

Earlier in the month I measured some trees along a trail in the Snow Bowl area in the San Francisco Mountains north of Flagstaff.
Some were remeasured from my first visit in 2012. Since I was first there the Anasazi Trail is now the Kachina Trail. This if probably An example of political correctness between the Forest Service and various Indian nations.
Last edited by tsharp on Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2)  Re: Arizona, September 2016

Postby Don » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:41 am

An excellent report!
From a couple of very nice niches around the Mogollon RIm.  Known as the geography that features the largest ponderosa pine forest, it is but a survivor of once huge pine forests in the descriptions of the early settlers, were large park-like settings that several wagons could ride through side by side.  Of course this reflected the fire-adapted species with its general paucity of undergrowth outside of grasses, that carried the frequent but low intensity fires.  Since then right-hearted but wrong-minded land managers suppressed wildfires as soon as they were ignited (lightning downstrikes here are of the highest frequencies recorded).  A century or more of such suppression has led to Rim-wide dog-hair thickets of dense regeneration.  This abundance of growth, though seemingly lush and attractive to the passers by, provides fuel ladders that takes ground fires into the crown, and with the continuing drought here, leads to catastrophically large wildfires (500,000 plus acres each, most every year), particularly in the late summer and fall with the advent of monsoonal weather patterns (lightning, thunder storms, winds and rain out of the southeast). Efforts have been underway for a decade or more to thin (by controlled fire, or mechanical thinning) these forests, but there's a lot there, and the thinning operations have little commercial marketing to drive it.  Several times a year, when the timing's right for fuel moisture levels and weather components, the USFS has control burns that they undertake, and large plumes of smoke appear on our horizons, most of the time disappearing into remote unpopulated areas.  Most of the time! Earlier this year, smoke became so thick along Interstate 40 that there was a multiple car pileup.  Despite signs up warning of the possibility.  But we travelers are in such a hurry...
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