In the Wash

An environmental portrait of a desert cottontail sitting in Apache Wash in Phoenix Sonoran Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

Most of the desert washes I cross when I hike are fairly small but not so Apache Wash, there are signs as you approach warning you not to enter when flooded and the large debris scattered around tells you why. It was damp on the morning I crossed on my first visit to Phoenix Sonoran Preserve but the rains and thus the danger had long since passed the day before, so I and a pair of desert cottontails enjoyed the quiet before the sun came up.

An close-up portrait of a desert cottontail sitting in Apache Wash in Phoenix Sonoran Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

Flight

A black-tailed jackrabbit sits next to a foothill palo verde along the Apache Wash Loop Trail in Phoenix Sonoran Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

On the trails my glimpses of jackrabbits are normally rather brief but this one I got to watch for a while as it casually moved through the desert, feeding as it went. It was aware of me and the others on the trail, mostly mountain bikers and hikers (none of whom stopped to watch). Our time together came to an end when the jackrabbit took flight as a loud plane passed overhead.

Life in Miniature

An ornate tree lizard (I think) clinks to the vertical surface of a granite slab on the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail in Phoenix Mountains Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

An ornate tree lizard (I think) perches on the vertical face of a granite slab, the jagged top a miniature of the mountains that surround. We met on my first visit to Phoenix Mountains Preserve on the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail as it flitted about the rocks, each unique in appearance. I was especially delighted when it returned to this one and arched its tail to match the curve of the granite. I was not as deft on the rocky trail and didn’t make it to the summit, there was a place where the trail got a little too narrow and triggered my fear of heights.

Oh little one, that I could climb as you climb.