Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fall Magic at Spur Cross Preserve

The Jewel of the Creek

I'm amazed. It's mid December and Fall color is still to be found around the Phoenix area. Fall seems to last forever here in Arizona. These shots taken at the Spur Cross Ranch Preserve just outside Cave Creek still have plenty of Fall color. And there's still plenty to come. Most of the cottonwood trees were green on one side, yellow on the other.

Cave Creek

A recent winter storm turned Cave Creek into a rich, chocolate-color. This area known as The Jewel of the Creek is a lush ribbon of life with giant cottonwood and sycamore trees. And there's plenty of wildlife here too. Deer, coyotes, javelina, cottontail and Jack rabbits etc. I saw fresh deer sign and tracks while hiking around. Quail and other desert birds were in no shortage either.

Cave Creek and Boca Grande Wash

The Preserve is one of Maricopa County's newest parks. Hiking abounds with every type trail for every type hiker or horseback rider. Serious hikers might enjoy the Cave Creek #4 trail which leads all the way back to Seven Springs over 11 miles away. You can leisurely hike around the creek in the heart of the park or charge up the mountain sides all the while enjoying this pristine example of the Sonoran Desert. I saw all the major players in the plant community: Jojoba, cholla, saguaro, yucca, ocotillo, cottonwood, sycamore, palo verde.

Abandoned Mine near Spur Cross

There's plenty of old mining activity here too. I looked over the precipice into an open hole in the ground, once someone's workplace. A big round hole was next to a skinny slot deep into the Earth. It was hard to imagine someone digging away here... day after day... deeper and deeper. I tried, but couldn't see the bottom. Loose rock around the opening and fear of a painful death had me standing back too far to look straight down...

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© 2013 G. Reid Helms / Arizona Panorama
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