This is the north wall of Juniper Peak (6,109'), as seen from
the Pine Creek Canyon Trail in Nevada's Red Rocks.
I know this IS a rock climbing paridise. But for some
strange reason, I was more interested in identifying
the multitude of plants.
Plant species that thrive along the Pine Creek Trail
include blackbrush, yucca, cholla, prickly pear
cactus, bitterbush, scrub oak, willow, sagebrush,
manzanita, yerba buena, silk tassel, pinyon pine and
JUNIPER, not to mention the myriad of wildflowers that
bloom in Spring. (Sp-member Anya Jingle has the
wildflowers pretty much covered in her awesome gallery.)
What I found interesting was the Ponderosa pines I saw
TOWERING over the mouth of the canyon. Ponderosas
don't normally grow at this low elevation (about
4,000 feet); they're more common above 5,000 feet,
(like in Payson, Arizona), where the air is cooler
and precipitation is higher. But this "forest" is a
remnant of the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, when
Southern Nevada was much cooler and wetter.
Do you remember that crazy squirrel in the movie
"Ice Age?" Well, I didn't see any squirrels or Bighorn
sheep on this hike, but I'm sure they were there.
March 16, 2008