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Dixie Mountain Loop with Owls, AZ
mini location map2020-04-13
45 by photographer avatartibber
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Dixie Mountain Loop with Owls, AZ 
Dixie Mountain Loop with Owls, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2020
tibber
Hiking4.85 Miles 804 AEG
Hiking4.85 Miles   2 Hrs   10 Mns   2.43 mph
804 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Our owlet, we think, fell off the ledge. My boss saw it on the ground on Sunday afternoon. When I came into work, it was no longer there. I didn't see feathers about and I don't know that it would make the best eating so I'm thinking that somehow it managed to fly off with the parents and is somewhere safe. Nonetheless, I wanted to check on its cousins so decided to do this loop counterclockwise. I was hoping the parking lot wouldn't be full around 3 and it wasn't.

The clouds were looming in the sky so I was happy about that as I made my way up the Hawk's Nest Trail. I do think they should rename it. As I approached the saguaro and went up by the fence line there was a photographer there with a big lens. She said she had been clear over at the other preserve too and so now was going to wait for better light to shoot them. Meanwhile I took some pictures and video and pressed on.

I was surprised at how much wildflowers there still were. I was actually hoping there wouldn't be so I could just hike but I had to resort to filming. I also didn't realize how many little uphills there were going this way. But I was okay with that; it was a lovely day. I made my way on the contouring trail around three mountainsides. Fortunately, there weren't a lot of people out; maybe saw 1/2 dozen until the northeastern saddle.

Heading west there were lots of wildflowers on both sides of the trail: lupine, owl clover, brittlebush and the cactus were starting to bloom as well. The sun dashed in and out between the clouds so that was nice along with some virga in the far mountains to the NW. I rounded the corner and headed south again toward the cholla saddle. Some of the wildflower patches I had seen in mid-March were no longer there but it did seem there were a few new ones. Cholla saddle did not disappoint so I lingered here for a moment as the light changed.

And then down to and thru the wide wash I went. There were still the patches of Owl Clover and lupine I saw in mid-March. The sky darkened a bit for the rest of my hike. And now it was time to tackle that west side hill. It's very gradual and then RS gave me the 4 mile notice but then 3 minutes later a 5 mile and then a minute later 6 plus the battery is down to 34% notice. So I turned off RS and then the whole phone, Kemosabe I call it, went dead. I had brot my brand new battery charger but that was not even enough to revive it so the heck with it and up the hill I continued.

A family of four passed me by and they kept a nice pace that I stayed with them until this young teenager with a gallon of water in his hand runs by us and we all stepped aside in amazement as he jaunted up the hill. I know he wasn't breathing hard at all :o and then his girlfriend came along and then pretty soon they're both coming back down the hill.... a little strange. Anyway, once we got to the flat at the saddle I passed the family and we all commented about the event.

I finally made it back to the owls and the gal that was originally there photographing was still there. She was telling another photographer about other bird sightings. All of a sudden we noticed all these mosquitoes and then the weather started threatening so she and I decided to skidaddle. He was going to set up his tripod. As we went down the hill I found out she was an American living in Hong Kong and she and her husband travel the world seeking wildlife. They are at the Marriott right now and she hopes to get back in a few weeks. She was an educator that retired when the situation in Hong Kong started changing a few years back. By this time the gnats and rain were coming and we reached the parking lot and said our good byes. I had so many more questions. I did ask what her favorite spot was and she said @gummo, Uganda.

On the way home it poured so I'm glad we got out when we did. Tonto Jr enjoyed the wash. Stopped by DQ for a hamburger and a pack of chocolate dilly bars but all they had was butterscotch; haven't had those in a coon's age so took them home too. FYI, The expression “in a coon’s age” dates to the early 1800s, and to the folk belief that raccoons are long-lived https://www.straightdope.com/columns/re ... coons-age/

Videos:
[ youtube video ] owls and hiking around to the north side
[ youtube video ] hiking from the north side to the TH and more of the owls
Fauna
Fauna
Great Horned Owl
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
HAZ Member
tibber's
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