Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hiking in the Springtime in Arizona's Madera Canyon

Elephant Head, Santa Rita Mountains, southern Arizona

Getting into the out of doors is one of our favorite things.  We like to go different places, but when we can't we still love going close to home.  Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains is nearby and we can get out of the desert and into the trees. 

And when you haven't been walking regularly, it's always nice to walk on a trail that doesn't beat you to death.  So we sometimes choose the Nature Trail in Madera Canyon.  You can join the Nature Trail in several locations along the canyon or you can walk the whole length. 
A few weeks ago--in early April--we were ready to enjoy the canyon's spring joys, so we started at the lower end of the Nature Trail which begins at the Proctor Parking Lot. The trail is uphill from this point, taking you alongside Madera Creek.

Can you tell that spring was springing?
The cottonwood trees were happy.

Madera Creek was running.

This is newsworthy in the desert.  Our mountains got quite a bit of snow this winter.  As the snow melts, the creeks run with beautiful cold, snowmelt.  Later in the year, these creeks will be dry.  So, for this desert rat, this blog post will feature WATER!

Next to the Nature Trail is a huge flat boulder that is a metate--a rock depression or hole used to grind things (mesquite beans, corn, etc.) into flour or meal.  A reminder of those who came before us. 

Here is Proctor Road at the mouth of Madera Canyon.  It's a favorite with bicyclists, hunters, and campers.  This road leads to the Proctor Ranch, which was begun by my great uncle Charles Proctor many years ago. 

The poppies near the trail were beautiful!!!

And . . . as we left the trail and headed to our car, one last look back at the mountain with some snow . . .

Be sure you figure out a way to spend some time in the outdoors soon! 

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