Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Verde Headwaters

A friend at the Citizens Water Advocacy Group asked me to blog about local rivers yesterday. It was a day on which many bloggers celebrated the environment; I chose the Upper Verde, an area I came to love over the years -- and an area that could well dry up to accommodate the demand for water as population piles into the Prescott region. My computer balked; now that my software has been tamed, I can continue....

The dam at Sullivan Lake. This is the spot where the Verde River officially starts, give or take a few feet. There's a small, narrow canyon at this point. Upstream, the same watercourse is called the Big Chino Wash; at one time in history, it, too, was a running stream.

A mile or so downstream, the canyon deepens and widens...

...revealing a grassy bottomland spread...

...with a line of deciduous trees in the background. These trees mark the spot where the springs begin...

...filling what has come to be called Stillman Lake. My late husband and I walked and climbed this area many times during the late 80s and early 90s. For many, many years, this was a favorite playground for outdoor type families from Chino Valley. The land to the south was still ranch land; it has since been developed. Access was primarily by climbing down one of the little side canyons. For the record, these pictures were taken June 3, 1991; I say this because of the surprising amount of water in the lake (and in June, a dry month.) In visits in later years, it seemed to us that the water level had fallen.

We first ventured down into the canyon from the north rim when we spotted what I always called the "monkey" petroglyphs. Obviously, early Amerinds found this to be a bonnie locale!

We found that there was almost always a signature glyph at the sites we visited over the years. In this case, it was the pregnant deer. Most striking was the glyph above; the art below was placed for visibility from the rim and difficult to photograph. I believe that there is a third preggers animal, but couldn't find any photos in our archives.

The Stillman Lake area is located within a large swath of state land (see map here). It and some parcels downstream have come under management by Arizona Fish and Game, including most of the final mile of Granite Creek as it joins the Verde. F&G is restocking its holdings with native fish; one has to hope that their actions are not in vain. Everybody should take a long look at the Upper Verde before it's too late.

Environmental Tuesday? sheoflittlebrain has proposed that bloggers devote their Tuesday posts to the environment. If that includes my assorted critters and wildflowers, I'll go along with the idea! Anyone else?

9 comments:

Prescottstyle said...

Great shots of the Verde Julie, your film scanner is a real boon!
I would love to hike that area sometime, perhaps you will share with me your trailhead.
Did I beg your pardon last week?
Whats up Sister?

Granny J said...

PS -- The scanner is great; I now have access to the LH's many wonderful slides, such as these. If I remember, I'll bring a hand map Saturday. As for apologies -- I had meant to link your Navajo Mountain post a long time ago & never got to it.

Jan said...

granny j, your photos are always fascinating to me!

I especially like the petroglyphys..they make me wonder about the person who left them there all those many years ago.

I never tire of reading about the Amerinds!

Granny J said...

jan -- I've got boxes of slides of rockart taken by my late husband. If you know guys, they always need a Goal to go on a hike. Locating petroglyphs turned out to be an excellent goal to get the LH hiking & me exploring new places.

meggie said...

Another extremely interesting post.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I love this post GJ!

Granny J said...

meggie & brain -- I'm so glad I got a chance to show you both one of my favorite places in the nearby outback!

Lucy said...

It must be very exciting finding those petroglyphs...

Granny J said...

Lucy -- it is indeed very exciting. Especially since being civilians in a world of archeologists in the know, we had to figure out how to locate sites quite on our own.

 
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