So we usually write “epic” (I hear that word a lot now and my 7 year old loves to use it!) blog posts with big themes that take us days if not weeks to complete, if we ever do get them finished! I’ve decided to start keeping it simple for the sake of keeping up a bit more.
We are in the desert and, as everywhere, water is really important here. Animals of all kinds flock to it and people use up more than their fair share in more ways than one. Needless to say we have been enjoying the protected riparian areas we find. This week we visited three…Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to see Arizona’s wintering sandhill cranes, Benson’s Waterfowl Viewing pond, and Ramsey Canyon Preserve.
The cranes at Whitewater Draw are cool birds and it is neat to see them in the desert, plus we saw many raptors, a female vermilion flycatcher and a black-headed grosbeak. In Benson there were a few ducks but it was largely underwhelming. On the other hand, Ramsey Canyon, managed by the Nature Conservancy, is a very special place.
The hiking trail there takes you up in elevation from 5500’ to 6200’ along the cold, clear, spring-fed creek. Along the way we saw not only the old foundations and cabins left behind from settlements long past, but also the bridled titmouse, painted redstart, Hammond’s flycatcher and gould’s turkey and deer literally feet in front of us on the trail. It is hard to imagine what life might have been like in this canyon in the early 1900’s. The kids had a wonderful time playing in the creek and marking off their bingo cards provided by the friendly staff at the visitor’s center (upon their return they got to pick a prize for each “bingo”). We will definitely visit Ramsey Canyon again!