Catalina State Park Sunday, Nov 29 2015 

Birding Trail Vista

Birding Trail Vista

Our post-Thanksgiving trip took us to the Catalina State Park for another outing with our Via 25T motor home. After setting up camp, we connected with the Bridle Trail, a flat, easy trail that terminated at the Trailhead parking lot a little more than a mile from our campsite. From there we crossed a wash and joined the one mile Birding Trail which loops up and down the foothills allowing us to experience the following three bird habitats: desert scrub, mesquite bosque, and riparian vegetation.

Romero Ruins

Romero Ruins

On Saturday morning we explored the .75 mile Romero Ruin Interpretative Trail. For nearly 800 years this area was home to Hohokam people. According to archaeologists, around 1190 the Hohokam built a wall around their village atop this ridge. In more recent time, the mid-1800s, a Mexican rancher Francisco Romero  built a house on the ridge and lived here for a short period of time but left because of encounters with Apaches.

50-Year Trail Vista

50-Year Trail Vista

Saturday afternoon we hiked about 2.5 mile on the 50-Year Trail. The trail starts at the Equestrian Center. We returned around at the park boundary gate. This trail is probably rated as moderate because of the loose rocks in some places. The trail follows a ridge with views of development in the west and the mountains to the east.

On Sunday, we hiked the Bridle Trail to the Trailhead parking lot where we took the Nature Trail. We had hiked this particular trail on two previous visits to the park. Our return trip to Phoenix was on Highway 77, Oracle Road to Florence before crossing over to Highway 10 for the final leg. Another interesting adventure and learning experience with our motor home.

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Isle of the Tiger Saturday, Nov 21 2015 

Isle of the Tiger

Isle of the Tiger

The Phoenix Zoo recently opened the Isle of the Tiger. This exhibit improved the viewing opportunities of the Sumatran tiger. An elephant, possibly Reba, paraded by us in her nearby compound. We found one baboon carefully preening a sister. The mandrills always amaze with their colorful faces. The white rhinoceros was feeding in a spot for viewing. The Arabian ornyx were also feeding. A nocturnal fox eyed us from a hole in a tree trunk. The speckled rattlesnakes were active. A small nowy egret poised for a picture as did a turkey vulture. The prarie dogs were enjoying the sun and breakfast treats. The burrowing owls showed how far they can twist their heads. A golden eagle eyed us as a worker watered down its exhibit. Another good day visiting the Phoenix Zoo.

Highlands Center Meandering Saturday, Nov 14 2015 

Lynx Lake Dam

Lynx Lake Dam

We saved our last “Take a Hike!” to meander on the trails emanating from the Highlands Center for Natural History. We started on the Stretch Pebble Loop Nature Trail #443. We followed along Elderberry Creek on Highlands Trail #442. We joined the Lynx Spillway Trail #445 along Lynx Creek. Nice views of Lynx Lake and its dam greeted us from the north parking lot. We returned to the Highlands Center via Homestead Trail #305. Two workers, one operating a chain saw, were cleaning the ground near the Center. Friday afternoon was a pleasant time to enjoy the fall leaves.

Longview Trail Friday, Nov 13 2015 

Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain

The Longview Trail, constructed in 2014, is another segment of the 50-plus mile Prescott Circle Trail. The small trailhead parking area is located on Williamson Valley Road just beyond the Pioneer Parkway exit. The trailhead is at 5,500 feet with a low point of 5,420 feet and a high point of 5,550 feet. Initially, we hiked beneath Granite Mountain before seeing the snow-capped Spanish Peaks in the distance to the north. To the east near the 1.8 mile turnaround point for us we could see Glassford Hill, the Granite Dells, the Bradshaws, and Mingus Mountain. We did not encounter anyone else on our Thursday morning “Take a Hike!”

Halloween at the Phoenix Zoo Sunday, Nov 1 2015 

Reticulated Giraffe

Reticulated Giraffe

Most children and some adults were in costume today at the Phoenix Zoo while the animals are always in their finest. For the first time we took the Safari train. Our guide seemed to know the individual names of all animals on exhibit, although the speed of her speech and the sound system sometimes made it difficult to discern her interesting tidbits of trivia. While waiting for the 10 a.m. departure of our train, one reticulated giraffe splayed its long, black tongue to retrieve leaves just outside the exhibit rather than joining three of its mates at the trough provided by the zoo. Two common elands cracked a pumpkin and shared in this treat. The Visayan warty pigs from two Philippine islands with their tufted hair were active. A black swan was busy crooning itself in the same exhibit with two orinoco geese who were grooming each other. The king vulture has a distinctive, colorful head. An Aldabra and Galapagos tortoise each looked for ways to escape. A western crowned pigeon wanted to build a nest. A spotted-necked otter curled up in sleep. Visiting the Phoenix Zoo is always an opportunity for me to take interesting snapshots.