I had driven over the bridges literally thousands of times in the more than 20 years that I lived in the Phoenix area…but something looked very different as I crossed them again and took a closer look over these past couple of weeks. The river bed is surrounded by green…and has water in it…and months have passed since our last soaking monsoon rains. Evidently, the City of Phoenix and the federal government worked together over a span of roughly ten years to restore five miles of the Rio Salado River to the condition that it likely was many decades ago before the river was damned at several places between Phoenix and its headwaters…it used to run continuously throughout the year, so much so that there used to be a ferry service for crossings. At any rate, I went for a hike/walk along the river the other morning and was pleasantly surprised at what I found, just three miles south of downtown Phoenix….egrets, cranes or herons, coots and mallards, geese, beaver or muskrat, coyotes, and scores of rabbits…smack-dab in the middle of the desert. You can click on these highlighted words, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, to be taken to the City of Phoenix’s web-page describing the area.
I had arrived at the river before sunrise in the hopes of capturing the brilliant pink and yellow hues of the sun-drenched clouds reflecting on the surface of the water…but was met with a surreal quiet and low-lying misty wet atmosphere in which I could see my breath…so while the photo could be clearer, I think it captures the essence of my morning walk this past Saturday along the Rio Salado River.
I had passed the sign for the trail-head several times last week…and found that it was compelling enough to cause me to Google-it to learn more about it. This trail is part of The City of Phoenix’s Sonora Desert Preserve…and you can click on the highlighted name…and then click on the link to the map to see exactly where I went. If you click on the link to the map, scroll down to the bottom and then scoot over to the middle of the large map to see the course of the Desert Vista trail. I started at the trail-head, followed the Hawk’s Nest, to the Desert Tortoise, then followed the Valle Verde Trail to the Horned Owl Trail to the Union Peak trail, back down and to the right, following the loop of the Great Trail back up to the Valle Verde, to the Desert Tortoise, Hawk’s Nest and to the trail-head again. I made over 100 photographs during the hike and the following gallery presents what I think are 13 of the better images. Please remember, if you click on any image, it will take you to a slide-show that will give you the opportunity to click on the images again to see them in a larger format. Thank you for visiting and sharing a few minutes of your time with me…I hope you enjoy the hike!
I’m not sure when I learned about Indian Mesa, but I think it might have been when I was researching Lake Pleasant Regional Park and the surrounding area for an earlier post this summer, but at any rate, I’ve been meaning to get out there and see it for myself…and decided to do it after the temperatures cooled off a bit. So, this past Sunday, November 9…when the high temp for the day was supposed to be somewhere between 85 and 89 degrees, I started out early with the hopes of getting there and back before it got too warm. Things didn’t start well for the venture, though…the directions were missing a few pretty important details, or maybe I was just a bit dense that morning…so I didn’t arrive at the trail-head quite as early as I had hoped. It was still a very nice hike…and it even included water and Cottonwood trees….
If you’re interested in learning more about Indian Mesa, you can click on this link to be taken to the Wikipedia site that covers the subject. You can also click on this link to learn more about the Hohokam people who are thought to have lived there…. If you’d like to view the images in a larger format, you can click on any photograph in the galleries to be taken to a slide show…and then click on the “View Full Size” in the lower right corner of each frame to see the larger version.