Monday, February 4, 2013

Palm Canyon

Between Yuma and Quartzsite, Arizona lie the rugged canyons of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Following the rough dirt and gravel road east for seven miles brings one to the trailhead of Palm Canyon.

Tucked away here in narrow, rugged canyons, these California Fan Palms are likely the only native palms in Arizona.  
They are unique and probably the descendants of palms growing in this region during the last periods of North American glaciation.

The half mile foot trail is easy to follow, but is rough most of the way with some steep, rocky sections.

Palo verde and ironwood trees are found all along the trail and near the top are numerous Kofa Mountain Barberry bushes, found only in the southwest corner of Arizona.

These palms are able to survive in the micro-climate of these narrow, protected side canyons where direct sunshine is limited but some moisture is available.

As you walk out in the shade of the narrow canyon you notice the relative coolness and look out across the La Posa Plains to the Dome Rock Mountains, 30 miles away.  

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