Occasionally you find in your own back yard, neat places to take visiting friends. One such place was the Hassayampa River Preserve, three miles south of Wickenburg. I had visited there many years ago but it was nice to rediscover the 730-acre quiet and lush river habitat that is home to more than 280 resident and migratory bird species and other wildlife. It is also considered one of the desert’s best remaining stands of the rare and threatened cottonwood-willow forests.
Although the waters of the 100-mile-long Hassayampa River are rarely seen except during flood stages, it flows above ground within the Preserve. Six trails take you through various terrains including around the cattail thickets surrounding Palm Lake. I wanted to do the short but strenuous hike to Lyke’s Lookout, more of a workout than the other hikes, but l left that for another time. I enjoyed part of the Palm Lake Loop and the Mesquite Meander Loop and a couple of other hikes that took me through the river bottom area where you can see the power of the floods that come violently pushing through the cottonwood-willow forest during our rare monsoons.
It was a pleasant outing and close to home. I didn’t happen to see anything live except ducks, coots, and a few birds I wouldn’t know how to identify. It certainly would be a wonderful place to visit for those keeping a species checklist. They have discovered exciting winged observations within the Preserve such as the brilliant Vermillion Fly Catcher, but also a fair amount of different animals makes it their home.
Listed on Arizona’s State Register of Historic Places, the Visitor Center has the history of this piece of land that dates back to 1871. They also have interesting displays that will keep you busy for a while.
As always, if you are living in or visiting in the Wickenburg area for a period of time, they are always looking for volunteers as Visitor Center Hosts, Preserve Stewards, Trail Docents and those willing to work in Administrative or Maintenance. They provide training, job shadowing, procedural manuals and every possible encouragement. God Bless until next week.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, and her fourth edition of RVing Alaska and Canada are available through Amazon.com.