We're back from a hike into the Toroweap area. We were seeking the ancient Shaman's Gallery, perhaps the oldest rock art in the Grand Canyon.
Here's the view to the east as we start our descent from Tuckup Canyon Trailhead.
On the way down, we see the remains of a million year old lava flow. The lava (which hardened into the black rock seen on the right) flowed 2 miles and formed the mile wide triangular fan that appears in the center of the photo.
This old fence gap frames the trail.
Right below, we see limestone boulders loaded with fossils. Some are crinoid stems. As we descend1800 feet, to about 4000 feet above sea level, temperatures warm, and signs of spring appear.
The cliff rose sprouts leaves.
An Indian paintbrush brightens the path.
We find phlox,
this tiny purple flower (milkvetch?),
and another dark purple bloom on Thamnosma montana, a species of flowering plant in the citrus family known by the common names turpentine broom and Mojave desert-rue. This desert bush has such diminutive leaves that it conducts photosynthesis in the succulent green stems. It has a pleasant lemony scent. According to one study done in the Mojave desert, individual plants can live up to 1000 years. Do you see a honey bee, hard at work on the trumpet-shaped flowers?
Several miles and a couple of hours later, we enter this wide, gravelly wash. This is a great place for rock art, with all of the Supai sandstone ledges and panels. But we don't see a single human-made mark. Are we in the wrong place? Only time and a lot of searching will tell us for sure...