City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

September 26, 2016

September 26th

Just a Short Walk

4:00 p.m. Just a short walk between the Guardhouse gate at mile 0.0 and along the first quarter mile, individual variation in leaf turning within tree species can be seen. Today, in the parking lot at Guardhouse gate are several large horsechestnut trees, and as noted on September 23, their leaves are turning brown at the edges. But a short distance away at picnic site 1, there is another large chestnut tree that experienced the same cold weather, but it remains completely green. Similarly, just past the gatehouse, there is a large, apex narrow leaf cottonwood tree, but 200 yards up canyon, there are two immature cottonwood trees that have completely turned a bright yellow. Within the first 50 yards of the gatehouse, there is a Box Elder tree that has almost completely turned and one that has only begun to turn.

There is some type of ordered distribution to this seeming randomness. I pull out my field note pad, and I am tempted to record a list of road positions, type tree, and percent of leaves turned. I have made such lists in the past for birds and animals in the canyon. But I remind myself that I am here for solitude and not to start another project, and the notebook is put away.

Along the first mile, gnats have returned, but at a lower density, and so their predators, the dragonflies, have also returned. But the dragonfly population is now counted by the tens and not by the hundreds as before the cold overnight weather. The waterskimmers are completely gone from their pool at picnic site 5.


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