We set out from the Nature Conservancy's visitor center at a little after 9 A.M. at a cool 43 degrees to hike the trail to the Overlook which winds along Ramsey Creek. After a while it turns upward and away from the stream and traverses through a series of switchbacks of varying difficulty.
As we walked along the easier lower section of the trail I could imagine a brisk autumn walk somewhere in the eastern part of the United States. There were sycamores and maples lining the path that were in various stages of fall attire that once again almost made me forget that we were in the desert.
The Nature Conservancy is a private non-profit conservation organization that preserves plants, animals, and natural communities by protecting the lands and waters that they need to survive. Here in Southeastern Arizona they manage the Ramsey Canyon Preserve as well as the Patagonia/Sonoita Creek Preserve and other properties owned by the conservancy. www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/arizona/preserves/
This was my first outing using my new Canon 7D camera and I am still trying to learn it's in's and out's but I think once I get the hang of it I'm going to like the results just fine. It is substantially heavier that my old camera which almost seems like a toy now. However I got some great shots with that camera and I will keep it for use as a backup.
We didn't see much for wildlife on our journey up the trail in fact it was eerily quiet at times. I had hoped to see the wild turkey's and the magnificent and blue-throated hummingbirds that winter here but it was not to be on this day . identify.whatbird.com/obj/219/overview/Blue-throated_Hummingbird.aspx We did see Acorn woodpeckers, kinglets, mexican jay's, Coues Deer which are a smaller version of white tailed deer and evidence of bears along the trail.
The view from the Overlook were quite spectacular and definitely worth the climb. While it was only an elevation change of 700 feet from 5,500 feet at the visitor's center to 6,200 ft above sea level at the Overlook we were on the trail for a little over 3 hours which included taking advantage of the two loop trails which were very nice. The trails do lead past the Overlook to other trails but we only walked about a quarter mile past and then headed down the mountain.
On the way down we tok a break and could hear Mexican Jays calling in the distance so we decided to use our Droid I-Bird Application to see if we could call them in closer. Sure enough after a few calls from the Droid the Mexican Jays swarmed our location.
On the Bledsoe Loop we stopped at the frog ponds even though there was little chance that we would see the Chiracahua Leopard Frogs because it was still quite cool in the canyon. Chiracahua Leopard Frogs are an endangered species that can be found only in a few places here in S. Arizona.
There are several cabins of varying size and age in the canyon that for the most part are in disrepair and left to the animals to inhabit. It was illuminating to see them and the locations that were chosen to build on, mostly because of the views or proximity to the stream.
Views of the canyon walls and the magnificent trees were the highlight of the day especially the sycamores including the Arizona Sycamore just before the Bledsoe Loop that is 250 years old.
This is one of the cabins on the Grand View Loop that is home to resident creatures. I must say they have a great view from the veranda!