Aravaipa 2010 Reunion Hike - May 26-28, 2010

March, 1973
May 27, 2010

37 years, from March 1973 to May 2010, Aravaipa Canyon from about 0.3 miles downstream of the Javelina Canyon confluence, looking upstream north-northeast. See the map. The 1973 image was taken later in the day and so the east-facing slopes are more deeply shaded.


A sapling Fremont cottonwood tree (Populus fremontii) slightly left of bottom center, seems to have grown to a sizeable tree. Look to the left of this and up the rocky slope: I count eleven saguaros in 1973 and only four in 2010. This is extremely remarkable since saguaros are very long-lived, reproduction, therefore, very slow. The individuals that disappeared may have been as much as 50-150 years old.


A group of what may be willow saplings (Salix bonplandiana) slightly to right and in front have disappeared. The large cottonwood trees on the right bank of the 1973 image are absent in the 2010 image.


Although much of the floodplain is hidden in shadow in the 1973 image, it does seem like two major differences are apparent. First, the floodplain seems rockier and there seems to be more rubble piled up on both banks in the 2010 image. Second, the 2010 image seems to show more vegetation overall in the floodplain.


The first would have resulted from greater sediment transport and deposition in Aravaipa Canyon. Possibly from more frequent catastrophic floods? The greater vegetation may be simple response to the fact that there is more available substrate in the floodplain.

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