Follow Me On Twitter

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wetland wildlife viewing


JACQUES MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
Pinetop-Lakeside
Monsoon storm over Jacques Marsh, July 2013

What began as a creative approach to wastewater management has bloomed into  thriving wetlands on a wind-swept, White Mountains  grassland. This 93-acre site is a complex of ponds, nesting islands and wet meadows that attract swarms of birds as well as elk, deer, coyotes, turkeys and bears.  Although there are no actual trails here, visitors can hike along the cattail-choked berms and gravel roads that criss-cross the area. The going is easy, however gopher and badger holes are potential hazards, so keep an eye on your footing. The created wetlands of Jacques Marsh are fed by treated, reclaimed water pumped in from the Pinetop-Lakeside wastewater treatment plant. But, don't worry---although it's not advisable to drink the marsh water, it's perfectly safe to wander around it. And, the only aroma is that of earthy water plants and surrounding juniper-studded prairies.

LENGTH: variable, the circumference is just under 3 miles, if you hike all the berms--up to 4 miles
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6720'
GETTING THERE:
In Pinetop-Lakeside, travel south on AZ260 (White Mtn Blvd.) to milepost 350 and the traffic signal at Porter Mountain Road.  Turn left and go 1.5 miles north on on Porter Mtn Rd (also called Penrod Road in some publications)  to Juniper Dr. on the left.
Follow this paved/gravel/dirt road 0.6 miles (ignore the side road, keep straight and pass over 2 cattle guards)  to the trailhead on the right. The last half-mile is on bumpy dirt.  Low clearance vehicles can park along the road if necessary and walk the remaining distance.

INFO: White Mountains Online:
EPA document:
MORE PHOTOS:

Wetland wildlife viewing


JACQUES MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
Pinetop-Lakeside
Monsoon storm over Jacques Marsh, July 2013

What began as a creative approach to wastewater management has bloomed into  thriving wetlands on a wind-swept, White Mountains  grassland. This 93-acre site is a complex of ponds, nesting islands and wet meadows that attract swarms of birds as well as elk, deer, coyotes, turkeys and bears.  Although there are no actual trails here, visitors can hike along the cattail-choked berms and gravel roads that criss-cross the area. The going is easy, however gopher and badger holes are potential hazards, so keep an eye on your footing. The created wetlands of Jacques Marsh are fed by treated, reclaimed water pumped in from the Pinetop-Lakeside wastewater treatment plant. But, don't worry---although it's not advisable to drink the marsh water, it's perfectly safe to wander around it. And, the only aroma is that of earthy water plants and surrounding juniper-studded prairies.

LENGTH: variable, the circumference is just under 3 miles, if you hike all the berms--up to 4 miles
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6720'
GETTING THERE:
In Pinetop-Lakeside, travel south on AZ260 (White Mtn Blvd.) to milepost 350 and the traffic signal at Porter Mountain Road.  Turn left and go 1.5 miles north on on Porter Mtn Rd (also called Penrod Road in some publications)  to Juniper Dr. on the left.
Follow this paved/gravel/dirt road 0.6 miles (ignore the side road, keep straight and pass over 2 cattle guards)  to the trailhead on the right. The last half-mile is on bumpy dirt.  Low clearance vehicles can park along the road if necessary and walk the remaining distance.

INFO: White Mountains Online:
EPA document:
MORE PHOTOS:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finals days to enter AZGF 2014 wildlife photo contest


ARIZONA GAME & FISH WILDLIFE CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST
Wild burros near Bartlett Lake--NOT eligible subjects

Hikers, have you captured a terrrific wildlife photo this past year while out on the trails? Well, here's your opportunity to submit your best shots for possible inclusion in the Arizona Game & Fish 2014 wildlife calendar.
Deadline for photo submissions is 5 p.m. MST, Friday, August 2, 2013. Click the link below for details. Good luck!
INFO & RULES:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

PANORAMA TRAIL


PANORAMA TRAIL
Pinetop-Lakeside


The energetic, leash-dragging Labrador retriever appeared out of nowhere as I was loitering on the saddle of Twin Knolls.  Her "parents", who were huffing their way up the slope, called out an apology for their companion having escaped their grasp. The well-behaved dog was wearing  hiking booties to protect her paws from the abrasive cinders laid down by the double cinder cone volcanos on which we stood.  The pup's mom crested the slope, took a deep breath and proclaimed, "So, this is why they call it the Panorama Trail".  "This " is a sprawling vista of
emerald forests, crystalline lakes and majestic White Mountain massifs stretching into New Mexico.  The immaculately groomed trail makes a lasso loop around antenna-cluttered Porter Mountain (7595' cinder cone) passing through shaded oak-pine woodlands, sunny juniper-fleeced grasslands and numerous stock ponds with a traipse across Woolhouse Wildlife Habitat Area.  But it's the views from Twin Knolls--cinder cone volcanoes that anchor the route's southern edge-- that give cause for pause.  Here, we scoped out the elongated silhouette of Escudilla Mountain and the still fresh, ashen scars of the 2011 Wallow Fire.   My new friends--who own a cabin in Lakeside, but had never hiked this route before---eagerly pointed out surrounding landmarks like Jacques Marsh, US 60 and the barely discernible rooftops of Springerville while their dog lackadaisically selected a potty spot. After discussing the approaching storm and our various wet weather gear stashes, we walked off in opposite directions into a gentle rain.


LENGTH: 8-mile loop
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 6750'-7300'
GETTING THERE:
From Show Low, continue south on AZ260 (toward Pinetop-Lakeside) to milepost 350 and the stoplight for Porter Mountain Road (FR45).  Turn left at the light and drive 5 miles (watch out at the 1.5 mile point where  Porter Mtn Rd makes a sharp right turn) to the trailhead on the left.
INFO:
Lakeside Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, 928-368-2100
White Mountain Trails System:
MORE PHOTOS:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trek a White Mountain trout stream


SILVER CREEK
Show Low


Silver Creek originates from an underground spring and cuts a meandering course through bucolic White Mountain juniper grasslands.  The creek is managed by Arizona Game & Fish and is part of an 840-acre wildlife/fish hatchery area that’s open to the public for hunting, fishing and bird watching.  Although not usually billed as a hiking destination, creek side fisherman’s trails serve the needs of trekkers in search of great photo opps and wildlife encounters.  Both banks of the short waterway are hike-able. Although the west side is less overgrown, the east side—where slender footpaths are obscured by lush grasses----- offers solitude and a plethora of wet meadow wildflowers. 


LENGTH: 2.5 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6,500’
GETTING THERE:
From Show Low, travel 5 miles east on US60 to Bourdon Ranch Road near milepost 347.  Turn left (north), go 5 miles to Hatchery Road, turn right and drive 0.3 mile on the good gravel road to the parking area at the hatchery complex.
FACILITIES: restrooms, picnic table, no fees. Fishing license is required for anglers.
HOURS: Open dawn to dusk daily.  Closed
Fish hatchery complex
Thanksgiving & Christmas
INFO:  Arizona Game & Fish, 928-537-7513
MORE PHOTOS: