Monday, March 7, 2011

Canyon Curiosity 1

Rusted metal in lower right, photo by Carol Tornow
The first in a new series on the blog, this canyon curiosity is demystified by none other than David Lazaroff, author of Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis; as well as Amphibians, Reptiles, and their Habitats at Sabino Canyon, among others. If you don't already have the former, I urge you to stop in at the visitor center bookstore and pick up your very own copy. You can see how much the canyon has changed (and remained the same) since 1993. (I have it from a reliable source close to the author - okay, from David - that a history of Sabino Canyon is forthcoming. I'll be sure to alert you as soon as that is available.) If you like frogs and lizards and the like, do pick up a copy of the latter at the same place.
David writes: All the artifacts on the bluff here (including the bit of concrete also shown in your photo) are related to the water gaging station that once stood at this site. It measured stream flow continuously from 1932 to 1974. Oddly, the "Gaging Sta" is still shown on the Sabino Canyon Quadrangle (USGS topographic map), even though the gage is long gone. The gage has left us an invaluable scientific record of changes in Sabino Creek during the years it was operating.  I used the data from this gage (as well as data from the gage that now stands just upstream from the dam in  Lower Sabino - Anne says: See photo below) to create the graphs for the "Changing Flow Patterns in Sabino Creek" sheet. I also designated the old gaging station site as the boundary between Upper and Lower Sabino in the book on Sabino amphibians and reptiles.
Anne says: To see evidence of the former stream gage, hop on the Bluff trail from the road. About mid-way there is a large rock outcropping (on your left) that juts out over the creek. Look for the metal piece there. It's about as long as my foot. (So take me.) 

Still existing stream gage upstream from dam, photo by Carol Tornow
To see this stream gage, stand in front of the dam, facing toward it (upstream) and look up and to your right for the box-like shape. 

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