Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day Hike

Happy New Year everyone!

We spent our afternoon exploring a trail within the Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve which we are very fortunate to have within a ten minute drive from where we live.

The preserve encompasses 14,000 acres of pristine Sonoran desert, and features a new trail head at which there is an amenities building designed and built to have "minimal impact on the fragile desert environment". It is a lovely looking building.

"Green building elements incorporated in the facility include solar power generation, rainwater harvesting, solar water heating, rammed earth walls constructed of native soil from on-site excavation, structural steel made of high recycled content, highly efficient mechanical equipment, native landscaping, and parking lot and path surfaces made of stabilized decomposed granite." Right up my alley!

We wandered around the guided nature trail reading about desert plants and animals.

We learned that pack rats nests are called "middens" and are made of the stuff collected by the rats. The rats then urinate on it all and the urine crystallizes to form cement to hold it all together. This is what one looks like.

I saw loads of desert mistletoe which for some reason fascinates me. Unlike the regular kind of mistletoe, desert mistletoe does not harm it's host tree apparently. Good to know!

After that we wandered around a trail. It was quite busy which wasn't surprising because it was a beautiful day. I still felt like I got a good dose of nature with which to start the new year off perfectly though.

The girls did well. We walked about three miles in total and Emily walked the whole way. I definitely plan to go back again often as I had not realized what an amazing place we have so close to where we live.


leaner said...

I have a post to write about a hike that Gwennie did (2 miles!) without being carried.

I really need to get over to that side of town. We've never hiked over there.

Gail - Fort Rock Glimpses said...

What a wonderful thing to do on the first day of a new year. Your pictures were great. I bet your girls had fun. Looks like a place I would like to frequent also.

Christine B. said...

What a beautiful place. You are lucky to have such a treasure nearby. Send some of that short sleeve weather my way, OK?

Christine in Alaska

fullfreezer said...

How lovely! I agree with Christine B- send some warmth my way! We had a high of 8 today!!!
Have a wonderful new year!

Amber said...

Stunning photos Mo! I can't imagine a nicer way to greet the new year than a hike like that.

Jenn said...

YAY! You came to the Preserve. I volunteer there, and I am always happy to see and hear about folks using the trails that the Conservancy helps maintain.

It's great that you did the Saguaro Loop, too.

Mo said...

Glad to hear that Jenn! We went again this past Sunday we loved it so much. Great place! Thank you for all you do to help it to be there for us to enjoy.