Hey Everyone… Wayne Drop here! There’s nothing more fun than going sledding! A February winter storm watch has been issued for Flagstaff and Mogollon Rim today with snow predicted to reach anywhere from 8-16 inches. That’s when I love to visit the Mogollon Rim (pronounced “Muggy – own”), a sheer cliff that runs a stunning 200 miles diagonally across Arizona. The rim is much higher in elevation, and that is why you can find snow up here even when it’s warm and dry in Phoenix.
The Rim starts southwest of Flagstaff and travels through three National Forests all the way to the Arizona and New Mexico border. Every year, the rim gets 18-26 inches of precipitation, mostly falling as snow during the winter where “those flakes” tend to stick around as snow pack. But wait, I should back up a minute and point out that us water drops are like the original “Transformers”… you know the toys that can turn into different things? Well water can shape-shift into three different conditions: liquid, like me; solid, like ice or snowflakes; and gas, like steam or clouds.
Don’t look down, Wayne!
The first time I visited the rim, I was high up on a cliff and could see about 100 miles east, south, and west. Digging around through the snow, I found pieces of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, evidence of a terrific geologic history that created these cliffs. My ancestors carved this land through the process of erosion. I wonder how many water drops it takes to move all that rock and soil?
Because it was late winter, I decided to take a ride on some of the snowmelt that was running off the rim. Yikes! It was the steepest ride of my life, as I traveled about 2,000 feet down through creeks and streams along the way (Don’t try this at home kids – I’m a water drop!)
Later looking at a map, I saw that most of the streams flow from the rim into creeks and rivers that eventually join the Salt and Verde rivers and fill important reservoirs where water is stored. Can you believe it? It turns out the Mogollon Rim is the birthplace of some of my favorite rivers that support animals, plants, and communities of people living in the Valley of the Sun.
Q: When the snow melts off the Mogollon Rim, where does it go?
- It flows until it reaches the San Francisco Peaks
- It flows in streams and creeks to join local rivers
- It flows into the San Pedro River in Tucson
What these words mean:
Precipitation – rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls to the ground
Snow Pack – layers of snow that gather in very cold areas, usually at the top of a mountain
Igneous Rocks – rocks that are formed when magma from a volcanic eruption cools and becomes a solid
Sedimentary Rocks – rocks that are formed from the slow accumulation of material that eventually bonds together
Metamorphic Rocks – rocks that go through intense changes due to heat and pressure
Erosion – the gradual destruction of something by natural forces (such as water, wind, or ice)
Snowmelt – water from melting snow that becomes runoff, feeding streams and rivers
See additional water sites visited by Wayne in his The Arizona Water Adventure Book.
Until next time, don’t forget to reuse your towels!
Wayne Drop is the official spokes-drop for Water – Use It Wisely. For over 20 years, he has been visiting community events, schools, and libraries to help talk about water conservation and why it’s so important to our state. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, boating, and sledding in the snow. Find more blogs from Wayne Drop.
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