I was lucky enough to get an invite to take up floor space at Santa Rita Lodge while Ambika was on her photo workshop. This sounded like an opportunity I shouldn't pass up and in light of my injury from the weekend before, I thot hanging out here would be the perfect cure. I had planned to meet up with Randy, he would camp, and we would hike but circumstances changed so I was on my own with the hiking (hopefully next time Randy). I hadn't done any Rx. In the future, I will do some Rx in case this type of thing happens again. Ambika recommended this loop so that's what I settled on.
I walked down to the TH and started hiking around 7AM. Fortunately there was a trail map at the sign/self pay area for Madera Canyon Picnic area. And so off I went. Soon I realized this trail was going to be UP. I mean obviously it was going to be UP but little did I know. I did end up having to put my shirt on over my tee though as the temp and slight breeze put a chill in the air.
My first stop was to photograph a couple little cascades into a pool of water that had a pretty nice reflection. And then it was onward and upward on some sort of old road. There were a couple intersections along the way and I felt certain I was following the trail I wanted to be on for Bog Springs. I came upon a sign that said Bog Spring 1.7 miles so I continued on the way I thot the arrows were pointing.
At one point I could hear a bit of a waterfall but I couldn't see it so I recorded the roaring sound (it's in the movie). About an hour into the hike I see this HUGE bird land on a branch of a tall tree. It is a brilliant red-chested bird surrounded in black feathers. And the sound, wow, what a sound; so unusual. I was able to get a few photos and I did a movie to record the sound. I would later be at the bird watching area at the Lodge and found out I had captured the ellusive Elegant Trogon. Oh the birders were jealous. When I explained and pointed to where I had seen the bird, they realized it was not the hike for them.
I finally come to a spring but it's not Bog
, it's Sylvester. WHAT! Oh well, I'll worry about my direction after I check out this pretty cool box as it has a nice reflection in the water framed by the outline of the box. When I pull out my map I discover I must have somehow veered right instead of left
. Oh well, gotta keep going at this point as I've already come up all this elevation. So off I go in pursuit of Kent Spring.
1/2 hour later I reach Kent Spring and am rather grateful as I've spent most of the hike so far climbing and climbing and climbing
. I'm so glad that I encountered water along the way to break up the trip and that the temp was near perfect.
At the Spring I encountered the 3 hikers I had seen at the parking lot and asked if I was indeed heading for Bog Spring. They said yes and did mention I needed to watch the trail at the bottom or I would end up at the Bog Spring Campground rather than the parking lot.... famous last words. They also felt the trail wasn't well marked.
Now I go from the wide road to a very narrow trail running alongside the mountain. You walk in a level (though the trail is slanted left) direction for quite some time. Eventually you start switchbacking your way down. I do think this would be the easier way up. I soon found myself back in the canyon where the birds were talking up a storm. Once again I would have to stop and film so that I could share the racket with you. I also heard hikers (it was amazing how loud they were) from way above and encountered them just after this area (no, I did not record them
I would get to the Bog Springs junction and head over to the Box. You could really call this the "Three Springs Tour". I saw some birders off in the distance. I went back to the junction and continued on down the trail. When I got to the old jeep road, I consulted Scout (GPS) to see if I was on the right trail. It appeared I was but soon I would find myself at, yep, you guessed it, the Bog Spring Campground. SHOOT!
So now I could go back and figure out where the trail went but I thot, "What the heck, let's see where the road ends up." I also thot, "It's not a bad thing for me to hike on a road considering I did an eye/forehead plant last week." I like to joke that when Kelly and John said, "Let's hit the trail" I took them literally
. I had to try and remember to put on my sunglasses when I encountered folks so they wouldn't get that "OMG, what the pumpkin happened to her face?!". The road went along a little further than I anticipated but I finally got back to the Madera Picnic area where the TH starts. I saw the other 3 folks I had seen at the beginning and at Kent Spring.
I decided to walk across the road and take the Nature Trail back up to the Lodge. I actually ended up walking past the Lodge before I found a trail that heads back up to the road and down to the Lodge. I then hear a couple turkeys gobbling so I go back across the road and up the hill to where I can see the turkey. I took a couple pics and a movie before heading back to the Lodge.
I planted myself on one of the bird watching benches for a little while. I was telling the folks sitting next to me about my bird encounter. They said I had probably seen a Trogon. I played the sound and they said, "yep, that's it". They were thrilled as they told me birders find a trogon sighting a big "get" . I spent a lot of time with birders this weekend and I have to tell you, they are the nicest bunch and are so willing to share information. I particularly like the story of the "cow birds".
After lunch, I went back out to take photos of all the birds. I talked again with many of the birders as I enjoyed watching the hummers, the Jays, the acorn Woodpeckers, the orioles, the sparrows and many others. My camera finger got a good workout. My last great catch of the day was a flame Tanager.
Video of hike: http://youtu.be/0Y_3frWluNU
PS. If anyone would be interested, I'll have birding video including the crazy turkeys at the end of my Madera Canyon Nature Trail Trip Report.