A Gorge Trail Summer Standout

Use it to make a refreshing summertime tea.

Monarda didyma is also known as crimson beebalm, scarlet beebalm, scarlet monarda, Eau-de-Cologne plant, Oswego tea, or bergamot. A wildflower native to the Finger Lakes, Crimson beebalm is extensively grown as an ornamental plant, both within and outside its native range; it is naturalized further west in the United States and also in parts of Europe and Asia.

It grows best in full sun, but tolerates light shade and thrives in any moist, but well-drained soil. As suggested by membership in the Lamiaceae (mint) family, Beebalm, as an aromatic herb, has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans, including the Blackfoot. The Blackfoot people recognized this plant’s strong antiseptic action and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds.

An herbal tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Beebalm is a natural source of the antiseptic thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas. The Winnebago used an herbal tea made from beebalm as a general stimulant. It was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence. As a matter of local interest, Iroquois of Oswego, New York, made the leaves into a tea, giving the plant one of its common names.

It is 9:30 am on a July morning Robert H. Treman Park, Ithaca, Tompkins County, Ithaca, New York,

References

Wikipedia, “Monarda didyma”

“The Botanical Garden, Vol II” Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, 2002. Page 284

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Very Old, Very New

Lima is home to 10 million Peruvians and over 1000 historical sites.

View of Clinica Delgado (hospital) from Lima Peru’s Elias Aguirre (street), Huaca Pucllana filling the foreground. Huacas are commonly located in nearly all regions of Peru outside the deepest parts of the Amazon basin in correlation with the regions populated by the pre-Inca and Inca early civilizations. They can be found in downtown Lima today in almost every district, the city having been built around them. Huaca Pucllana, located in Miraflores district, is an adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD. 

This is the New York Times article that inspired me to remember visiting Huaca Pucllana during our February 2016 tour of Lima, Peru. “3,000 Years of History Are Literally Just Beneath Our Feet.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

World at our Feet

On Peter’s Mesa

View North / Northwest from Peter’s Mesa. At our feet is a mature Saguaro Cactus towering over Charlebois Canyon, to the right Black Mountain. Bluff Spring Mountain, middle distance, then Black Top Mesa. Flatiron Peak, of the famed Superstition Mountain, is in distance. Photographed from Peter’s Trail on a March afternoon 2008. Superstition Wilderness, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Bluff Spring Mountain, middle distance, then Black Top Mesa. Flatiron Peak, of the famed Superstition Mountain, is in distance. Photographed from Peter’s Trail on a March afternoon 2008. Superstition Wilderness, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Click Me for the first post of this series, “Bluff Spring Mountain.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Morning / Evening

Can you see the Needle’s Eye?

The eye of Miner’s Needle is clear in both these South / Southeast views from Peter’s Mesa looking across the Music Canyon.

Many wildflowers, sprinkled like stars through the foreground of the morning photograph with Prickly Pear, Cholla and Saguaro cactus. Beware of “Jumping Cholla”, named for its seeming ability to attack passers-by. Another name, “Hanging Chain Cholla”, is more appropriate. Each chain with many hooked barbs is lightly attached to the branch, ready to snag a ride from unwary hikers.

Light rakes across the landscape in the evening photograph, taken from another vantage point on Peter’s Mesa. Miner’s Needle is four (4) miles away “as the crow flies,” i.e., line of sight distance.

Click Me for the first post of this series, “Black Mountain.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

From Music Canyon

Down South

Dutchman Trail follows the outflow of two springs along the canyon floor: Music Canyon and LaBarge springs. Here we are climbing Peters Trail to the eponymous mesa and facing south / Southeast, looking down on Dutchman Trail.

This is rough country below Bluff Spring Mountain. Stag Horn Cholla cactus is lower right with Prickly Pear cactus scattered in the brush. Poles of young saguaro cactus are scattered around the lower slopes.

Click Me for the first post of this series, “Bluff Spring Mountain.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Black Mountain

Million Dollar View

After a respite among the cool spring waters, we headed up Peters Trail for the top of Peter’s mesa where, for all we knew, there was no water.

In this photograph I face northwest, looking down on Dutchman Trail. The peak, upper center left, is Black Mountain. The cleft of Charlebois Canyon is lower middle right. Stag Horn Cholla cactus is lower right with Prickly Pear cactus scattered in the brush. Poles of young saguaro cactus are scattered around the lower slopes. Look carefully and you can make out the pooled water of our rest stop.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Around the Mountain

The beetling cliffs of Bluff Spring Mountain

Here is a recap of the last few Superstition Wilderness posts. The expedition route, in red, starts on the right where Dutchman and Terrapin trails meet. The total distance is 2.6 miles. Photograph timestamps tell me about 2 hours passed — 1.3 miles per hour in this rough country.

I came upon the wildflowers of “Desert Color” a few minutes after starting.

“Ominous Splendor” photograph was taken just before Bluff Spring Mountain Canyon (green text).

“Marked Saguaro” was encountered a few minutes before the Cottonwood tree of “Riparian,” marked with a pushpin.

“Spring Flow” is the endpoint on left.

Here is a gallery of photographs from this portion of our expedition.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Spring Flow

Rest Before A Climb

The expedition party rested where Dutchman Trail intersected the creek, full of flow from Charlebois Canyon, Music Canyon and LaBarge springs. We filled the water reservoirs in preparation for the climb up to the night’s camping spot on Peter’s Mesa, a 1,300 foot climb over 1.2 miles.

Behind Colorado and “Ed’s Horse” (don’t recall the name) is Bluff Spring Mountain.

Click Me for the first post in this series, “Bluff Spring Mountain.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Riperian

Blessings of Water

A view to west on Dutchman Trail between Bluff Spring Mountain and Peter’s Mesa. The creek flowing from Charlebois, Music Mountain and LaBarge springs nourishes this Fremont’s Cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and other riparian flora. The tree is flanked by volcanic rock from an ancient eruption.

Click Me for the next Superstition Wilderness post, “Spring Flow.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Marked Saguaro

Signpost to Gold?

Lost gold mine legends tell of Saguaros bearing secret markings leading to the hidden location of rich gold mines. This specimen, perched on an ancient volcanic boulder, lives in LaBarge Canyon along the Dutchman trail.

Click Me for the next Superstition Wildness post, “Riparian.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved