New River Exploration

It’s been over a month already since I went looking for something new, a local place that contained a bit of wildness, a place that I hoped contained something like wildness, anyway.

I cross a bridge on my way to work every morning that spans a desert river that was a mere stream when I encountered it on January 5th of this year.

At this particular location, the river runs between the Glendale Municipal Airport to the west and the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium to the east….

…so it’s not exactly far away from anything civilized…and one might even suggest that it’s still smack-dab in the middle of it all.

I “had” to hop the fence that you might have noticed in the very first photo above.  I wanted to walk and explore along the actual river, so I had to get away from the cemented and fenced bike and walking path.  It was only upon my return to the walkway that I noticed the No Trespassing sign with its warning of prosecution, fines, and jail time.  Good grief.

Anyway, I found a free-flowing river, of sorts, one that happened to still be alive and moving in the desert.  I’m not sure how much of it will still be around come summer, but it was pleasant enough during my few hours out there.

One might consider that the riparian vegetation and bird life was enough to make this something approaching “wild.”

When we look closely we can see microcosms of life beneath the desert trees; we can see the tiny flora that can’t help but enrich the soil of the waterway.

There was an unexpected diversity of riparian trees, bushes, grasses, and other assorted growing stuff along the way.

You may already know of my admiration for dew drops on morning desert grasses….

It was almost easy to forget that I was close to an airport and football stadium when I didn’t look around or hear an aircraft overhead.

There was a feeling of being “away,” as long as I focused on what I could see and not so much on what I could hear.

I’m not sure of the particular variety, but there were many cottonwood trees along the waterway.

And even a fairly grand assortment of bird-life, as well (more to be highlighted in a following post).

Even a richness in the winter-colored ground-cover….

I don’t know what they’re called, but I think they’re fascinating little Japanese lantern type things that I found in only one spot along the river.

After going south and exploring close to a mile along the waterway, I encountered a significantly boggy stretch of ground that would have prevented me from keeping my boots dry if I continued heading in that direction.

So I went back north and past the roadway that I drive every morning, under the overpass, and into another stretch of the riparian wilderness that was more densely packed with trees and reeds and tall wild grasses and other thriving things.  I had to skirt quite a bit of the more slowly moving water and take a broader view of the area.

I finally made it close enough to the water and found the above setting; it was almost like being under a forest canopy.

A final image of the New River plant life.

10 responses

  1. If it borders the airport, it’s probably why there were no trespassing signs.

    Interesting place to walk around. Did you whistle and make lots of noise to alert nearby snakes of your impending arrival?

    February 23, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    • It’s actually about half a mile or more from the airport’s property…and the no-trespassing signs said something about Maricopa Flood Control District…so they’re likely trying to protect the Public from themselves…and maybe the habitat at the same time.

      And yes, it was rather interesting, Emilio…and while I am always concerned about snakes, especially in the long grass and proximity to water (good hunting grounds for mice and such), so that I can introduce myself and snap a few photos, I wasn’t especially worried during this excursion, as the night-time temps in the city neighborhoods were still in the low 40s at night, so they would probably be a few degrees cooler in the above area. My thinking was that they were still underground.

      March 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    • . . . or out sunning themselves as soon as the sun is out . . . the main thing is you’re aware of the possibility.

      March 1, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      • Yes…and yes…very aware. I have heard the rattles while out hiking in the past…and have even heard an unexpected hiss, as well.

        March 21, 2020 at 11:02 am

  2. Wonderful. I think we do better in the wild.

    February 23, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    • Thank you, Cindy…and I agree. 🙂

      March 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

  3. I love places like these – any place wildlife and plants manage to survive – and often to thrive – in the midst of cities has always been magnetically interesting to me. 🙂 Your photos are beautiful! Good thing no one bothered you, but too bad you’ll have to think twice about going back. Maybe that’s why it’s as pristine as it is though. The interesting lantern plant – I think usually called Chinese lanterns – is, as you would guess, not native. I love the photos with those big trees, whatever they are! 😉 And thanks for including the first photo so we have the context. Nature is tough! And not far away. 🙂

    February 28, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    • I think these places are treasures, Lynn…for the reasons that you described above, specifically, where wild animals and plants can survive and thrive in the midst of our cities from which we have mostly pushed them out.

      And yes, it’s a good thing nobody bothered me while I was out there. I’m not sure my actual ignorance of my trespassing would have been believed.

      Thank you for the likely name of the Chinese lantern plant…and yes, I would guess that its origin is likely as an escapee from someone’s garden…all the way back East.

      March 1, 2020 at 2:26 pm

  4. Thanks for providing the link to this post I must have missed during my ‘hibernation’ spell…. I have mixed feelings about all of this. First, it’s great you found this bit of escape from civilization. Then again it’s sad that it’s such a tiny bit compared to the places you long for… Hang in there, dear Scott! Now back to your bird selections and a closer look at them! 🤗

    July 23, 2021 at 2:55 pm

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