North of Flagstaff: The Fort Valley Experimental Forest, a young ground squirrel, and a native thistle with honeybee

On Wednesday July 15 my wife Sarah and I drove north on Hwy 180 past the Arizona Snowbowl road, stopping well short of the Grand Canyon and joining a tour of the Fort Valley Experimental Forest, home to roughly a century of forestry research— and to lovely flora and fauna! Of course my goal was to discover all things beautiful and photographable. I attach two photos— of a ground squirrel and a native thistle being visited by a honeybee.

Young Ground Squirrel (Experimental Forest 15 Julyy 2015) 7047 Instagram
This little guy—a very young ground squirrel— was trying his best to hide from the group walking through the Experimental Forest station.
The Flagstaff area is home to both native and invasive thistle varieties. Isn't this native one gorgeous?
The Flagstaff area is home to both native and invasive thistle varieties. Isn’t this native one gorgeous?
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