Earlier in the month, we rode our bikes down the very hilly road to the entrance to Patagonia Lake State Park (see photo above), but did not go in. This Wednesday, we drove down to the park from town and paid the $10/car fee to enter. The forecast was for a very windy day, so riding our bikes there would not have been fun and might have been dangerous with the wind gusts. And frankly, I couldn't face hills like this again!
While not a good day for cycling, it was a fine day for checking out the park and escaping at least some of the wind on the long Sonoita Creek birding trail hidden among the green trees.
Upon arriving at the park, we headed directly for the Sonoita Creek Trail, knowing that the birds would be most active in the morning. We could check out the lake later. When we first started out, the trail was busy with other birders, but once we got farther down the trail, it thinned out, and we saw very few other people.
At the beginning of the trail, we were at the eastern edge of the lake and got to see some ducks and shorebirds.
After checking out the shorebirds, we made our way on down the trail. The riparian environment near the creek was absolutely gorgeous -- green and lush. I couldn't get over how different it was from the typical southern Arizona Sonoran desert landscape. Since it is now migration season, there were many birds singing in the trees. This was no fitness hike as we had to stop many times to check out birds.
Right before we turned around to head back on the trail, we came to the most fun creek crossing. I made it across in both directions with no wet feet!
We did see quite a few birds on our hike, but we'll save those for a later blog post on Patagonia birds to keep this one to a reasonable length.
After coming back on the trail, we walked around looking at the rest of the park. Patagonia Lake is a 265-acre man-made lake. It would be a great place to kayak or canoe since only low-power motorboats are allowed (and no jet-skis -- yay!) The lake is also very popular for fishing. There are two campgrounds that were pretty full, though the folks in RVs were faring much better than those in tents on this blustery day. We saw a couple of tents that were just about to take flight with the migrating birds! Wish we'd snapped a photo....
There's a highly arched pedestrian bridge over part of the lake. Perhaps they built it so high to let small sailboats pass under (just a guess). Walking across this bridge was a good workout with the steep slope on each side. On the other side of the bridge is a day-use picnic area.
I took the shot below from the top of the bridge. The folks in the canoe were really fighting the wind but finally got the boat back to shore. I don't think I would have been out there paddling today!
Despite the wind, we had a great day visiting the park. We hope to come back for another visit one day!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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