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Ben Lilly

Aug 14, 2010 Leave a Comment

For the past four weeks, I have stayed at a lovely little campground in the middle of the forest called Ben Lilly.  I have no idea why it's called that.  Probably after some old rich dude who gave the forest a lot of money.

Anyway, it's pretty.  Here's what I woke up to one morning when I looked out of my tent.


The stream that runs through here is called Willow Creek.  It's a smaller stream that feeds into the Gila River.  There was record snow pack on the mountains this year so it's flowing really well.  It was nice listening to it rushing by as I fell asleep at night.  Very peaceful.

The camp site is pretty high altitude so there are a lot of cool trees I don't usually see like Engelmann and Blue Spruce.  But the elevation drops off pretty quickly as I get more into my mapping area and it looks really different.

A lot of what I'm working in is in the Ponderosa Pine forest, which is a couple columns, or climate zones, lower than the Spruce/Fir forest.  It's different looking, but still really pretty.


Then there's a huge part of my mapping area that is really weird.  I'm still trying to figure out what's up with it.  It's a lot like the Ponderosa forest in terms of grasses and forbs (flowering plants) but there are hardly any Ponderosas at all.  Instead, there are scattered junipers and a bunch of open grassland.  Here it is with a storm brewing overhead.


A possible reason for all this open area is fire.  There are a lot of areas with burned trees, so it's definitely prone to it.  This part has just had enough time to get back to a juniper grassland, and the Ponderosas in similar surrounding areas indicate that it's trying to get back to a Ponderosa forest.  This is what I am trying to show with my mapping. 

So that's just a little bit about where I'm working and what I'm doing.  I won't bore you with all the details but hope you enjoy the pictures.

4 comments »

  • Off-Black said:  

    'Ben' is also an old Celtic (Scottish/Irish) word for hill or mountain. Might explain the place name.
    How big an area are you mapping?

  • cgbookcat1 said:  

    Wow. I'd happily wake up to that view for months at a time.

  • Chloe said:  

    Yes, I did enjoy the pictures!
    They are beautiful!
    What is the weather like?
    Is it hot?

  • Maureen said:  

    Sam - That's interesting! Maybe you're right. We map 7.5 minute quads. I'm mapping two full quads and two partial quads this season.

    Carol - Yeah, it's pretty awesome. I'm kind of disappointed I'm moving to a new campsite this week, but it has a pretty cool view too.

    Chloe - The weather can get pretty hot during the day but it's monsoon season so we're getting quite a bit of rain which makes it colder, especially in the mornings and evenings. The higher elevation also makes it pretty chilly.

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