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A Walk in the Desert - After Rain
A Trail in the Desert, in the Middle of a City
On rare occasion, it rains even in Phoenix. It usually happens in the winter, though once in a while we might experience rain in the spring or fall. During the rainy days the temperatures are in the comfortable seventies, low eighties. The vegetation suddenly turns green. No matter what else we do, after a rainy day we make it a point to go out into the desert.
Luckily, we don't need to go far. There are places scattered all over the city, where we can take a short walk and feel like we are far away, truly in the desert.
After the last rainy day in the city, we decided not to go too far. We stopped in the dirt parking lot, on a major road, close to our home. We walked through the gate, and after only a few steps, we left the town behind. We were in an area called Reach 11, in its Barrier Free Access Nature Trail. This part of Reach 11 is only open to hikers, though there are miles of trial outside of this area for bikers and horse riders.
As we turned a bend, a mighty saguaro stood alone by the trail, with a bird perched on top.
The air felt clean, the white fluffy clouds, such an unexpected and beautiful sight in our town, were making us happy. We enjoyed the walk though we were still too close to the busy road, with the noise of cars passing by. As we walked, this noise was disappearing, replaced by the music of birds singing, and occasionally the wind blowing through.
We stopped to look at the flowers on the side of the trail. Usually they are all dried up. After the rain they come back to life.
After a while we encountered a bit more vegetation, bushes and even palo verde and mesquite trees surrounding the trail.
Then we arrived to our destination: the pond, an oasis in the middle of the dry desert. There is a family of ducks living there, but this time we didn't see them. Instead we heard the deep, loud croak of a male bullfrog. We even spotted him, half out of the water. Though I tried taking a picture, it is very difficult to see him.
We spent a lot of time at the pond, hoping to see the ducks, and just watching another bull frog poking his head out of the water.
We took another path, this one more shaded, surrounded by trees.
On the way back, my daughter spotted a jack rabbit, then I noticed another one. We have also enjoyed watching the tiny desert rats scampering in and out of their holes, or just sitting, enjoying the beautiful weather.
Reach 11 Recreation Area is overall huge, covering about 1500 acres of Phoenix City Park. It is approximately 7 miles long and about 1/2 mile wide and it runs around the Canal in North Phoenix. There are about 18 miles of trails bisecting the area overall, great for bikers, not only hikers. Because of its proximity to water, the area is abundant in native plants and animals.
Part of the recreation area is Arizona Horse Lovers Park.
The part I have walked with you in this story is about two miles long trail, closed to bikers and horses, called The barrier Free Access Nature Trail. It circles through upland and xeroriparian desert habitat.
For more info, go to Reach 11 City of Phoenix website: