Owls and Bunnies and Snakes, Oh My! – Sonoran Preserve Hiking Area
I heard about a new place to hike recently that is not too far from our house, and just north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. My husband and I enjoy hiking a lot, and it is always fun to find new places to go so we headed out there last weekend. The area is called the Sonoran Preserve, and there are many trails to choose from of all different lengths. We chose the Hawk Nest Trail because a friend of mine told me she had seen a mother owl and her babies in a nest along this path. I had never seen an owl except at the zoo so was very excited about the possibility of seeing one.
The Sonoran Preserve is a beautiful area, and the paths are well maintained. Most of the trails are easy to moderate in difficulty, meandering up and down and around small hills, although once in a while there will be a steeper incline.
There are many different types of cactus everywhere you look a long the way. We went early to avoid the heat, and I loved how the sun shone through the chollas making it look like they were glowing.
Saguaros stand watch all along the trails.
If you want to see saguaro blossoms (our state flower), May is the time to go. They were just starting to bloom.
We saw a barrel cactus along the way.
It was blooming also.
The desert was full of one of our favorite plants, the creosote bush. We love it because during storms it lets off a delicate, fresh scent that those who live here associate with rain. Because we get deliriously happy when it does rain, this smell brings good memories with it. Besides the good scent, it has tiny little puffy balls all over it this time of year.
We eventually came to a fork in the road and were standing there , trying to decide which trail take, when another hiker told us he had just seen a snake on one of the trails. We decided to take the road less traveled by, at least by snakes. That is the only thing I don’t like about hiking. I hate snakes! Winter is a much better time to hike here, as they are hibernating then. They are starting to wake up now, so it pays to be careful and watch the trail. I make Jeff go first. Not that I’m a coward or anything. Okay, maybe I am a coward when it comes to snakes. Fortunately, Jeff doesn’t mind. But all this nervousness about snakes was worth it in the end, because we got to see an owl! I couldn’t believe how big the nest was and that it was in a giant saguaro cactus.
It had such a cute face!
I can now cross seeing an owl off my bucket list. That really made my day.
I know that the beauty of the desert can be an acquired taste. I was born and raised here and have come to love it over time. Pretty much, if you stare at something long enough it starts to look pretty because you get used to it and see its uniqueness. I’m hoping this works in marriage too!:) But if you enjoy seeing different kinds of cactus, beautiful scenic vistas, and possibly some native Arizona wildlife, the Sonoran Preserve is a great place to go. Be sure to take plenty of water with you and find out which trails are the best match for your endurance level. No matter which trail you choose, you will get to experience the uniqueness Arizona has to offer!
(Near Jomax & I-17 Freeway –
click on link for specific trail