Easter in the Desert

Easter in the Desert

4/21, Easter Sunday
I cooked up mushrooms & eggs with a pear for me and made a pseudo-McMuffin with a banana for Alan. We then drove through the upper area of the Sonoran Desert National Monument park. After that we drove to Casa Grande National Monument, a First Peoples significant historic site. We saw a Great Horned Owl up in the rafters above the ruins, and then saw a Gila Woodpecker as we were leaving.

We left Casa Grande and drove the east loop at Seguaro National Park then hiked Freeman Homestead Nature Trail. We saw a Curved Billed Thrasher, Cardinal, quail, doves, a Round tailed ground squirrel and GILA MONSTER! We were so psyched over the Gila Monster – they are so rare to see and it was one of our bucket list items. We may not have gotten the best pictures, but we were happy with the experience.

For dinner I cooked pasta with mushrooms and shrimp.

4/22, Monday
It was a quick up-and-out this morning and back to Saguaro National Park to hike some more. This time we saw a whip snake, several Gila Woodpeckers, doves, a Verdin, female Anna’s Hummingbird, Cactus Wren, a Black-throated Gray Warbler, one bird yet to be ID’d and a couple of lizards.

Whip Snake (harmless)
Gila Woodpecker and swallow(?) arguing over who gets the top of the cactus.
Ground Squirrel

I talked to a Ranger about the Gila Monster we saw yesterday and she encouraged us to email photos with location info as part of their tracking program. Gila Monsters all have unique skin patterns, so they track them according to information provided by staff and volunteers who spot and photograph the lizards.

Later that day we drove to Tombstone and explored. It was a fun place to visit. We ate at Big Nose Kate’s for lunch.

For the last part of the day we drove to Chiricahua National Monument (park) and hiked a tiny bit. We saw a Gray Vireo, and a Chiricahua squirrel on the way out of the park.

Finally, we drove to our next campground south of Bosque del Apache NWR. The weather was getting ready to erupt east of us in Texas, so we changed campground plans to stay at this one for several days and wait it out. With the big open areas we could see the incredible looking skies as we drove. We got into our campsite at 10:00pm.