It is spring time in the Sonoran Desert. It is a balmy 80° F (35°C) with a soft breeze. Plants are beginning to bloom, with the hardy Desert Globemallow pushing its way up through the crusty arid soil. It is amazing that these delicate looking plants can survive a mostly waterless winter.
The Oleander is in full blossom – we have a white and a red in the back yard along the wall. And the Palo Verde tree is now bright yellow-green – a burst of color against a brown landscape.
The Cow-Tongue cacti are just beginning to show buds which will soon be flowers. Continue reading »
In Gold Canyon, AZ lies hidden down a maze of residential streets the entrance to the Hieroglyphic Trail. At three miles, this is a short day trip, but don’t think for a moment this is a walk in the park. This is considered an easy hike, but you have to remember that you are starting at an elevation of 2,100 feet and finishing at almost 2,700. Wear comfortable hiking shoes.
The trailhead can be a challenge in itself, simply to find. You drive through a new residential development and pass older established houses. The streets turn left then right then loop back again before taking you to the parking area.
You enter the trail through a cattle gate, and there is a log book that you are requested to sign before entering, and again upon leaving, to assist potential rescue crews. There are dozens of rescues a year, as well as several deaths, of unfortunate hikers.
You will want to practice proper hiking etiquette (carry in, carry out), and beware of rattlesnakes sunning on the rocks. It is a one and a half mile hike up to the petroglyphs – most believe these were the work of the Hohokam tribe, and that they date back to 700 -110 A.D.
There is a pond filled with cold water most of the winter and spring. You will certainly want to avoid hiking during Monsoon, as the streams and trails become gushing torrential rivers.
Your best bet is to avoid weekends and holidays (and Spring Break) as this is a heavily traveled trail, especially during these peak times. Unfortunately some lame-ass scumbags have added their own graffiti to this irreplaceable landmark.