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.