Wintry Day on a Sky Island

Winter on a Sky Island

Winter on a Sky Island © 2013 Bo Mackison

In every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks. ~ John Muir

Snow in Arizona?

Sure. Arizona has its share of mountain ranges. The state, when viewed from far above, might resemble a piece of brown corrugated cardboard. Mountain ranges alternate with valleys, and those mountains peaks, many which near 10,000 feet in elevation, get plenty of snow.

A couple of days ago the snow moved even further down the mountains, and I headed for the nearest mountain range, the Santa Ritas, and drove towards Madera Canyon. Before I reached the road climbing upwards through the canyon, I saw clumps of wet snow hanging on ironwood trees, acacias, palo verdes. A few cholla had a snowy mitten on every arm. The prickly pear and yucca wore coats of white.

What a sight! it was the first time I’ve seen measurable snow in the foothills, mostly a thornscrub habitat.

Sycamore Snow Fall

Sycamore Snow Fall © 2013 Bo Mackison

In all things of Nature, there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle

As we drove to the higher elevation, several inches of heavy snow covered everything. The wind was breezy and it seemed wherever I walked, the sycamore trees were throwing the snow off their leaves and branches and aiming for me.

Sycamore Leaf Creek?

Trail of Sycamore Leaves in Madera Creek © 2013 Bo Mackison

The sound of water says what I think. ~ Chuang Tze (c. 360 BC)

When we reached an access area for Madera Creek, I hiked along the creek. Water was flowing amidst a bed of red sycamore leaves. Surrounded by the whitest of snow, the creek seemed more sycamore leaf than tumbling water.

I enjoyed my brief foray into the wintry weather, especially while standing in the rays of the warming sunshine.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Yesterday she traveled to a wintry sky island in southern Arizona to play in the snow. Nature is truly a wonder!

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Marvelous images and a fun story. When I think of Tucson, I don’t think of snow. Hope you enjoyed.

  2. Beautiful photos Bo! The sky islands are magical in normal weather, but even more so with the snow! Those are rare scenes.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It was breathtakingly beautiful, Montucky. And I even had a small chuckle when the other visitors didn;t share my enthusiasm. 🙂

  3. Loved this!

  4. How very beautiful, Bo! I’ve never seen snow in the desert – what a treat you are getting!

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