Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hike out on the Bill Williams River NWR

December 2, 2010. Bill Williams NWR
The last couple of Days we did some hiking off Planet Ranch Road within the refuge. 
Our dusty Rubi on Planet Ranch Rd.
Yesterday, we hiked a short distance past the slot canyon at the 1.5 mile marker on Planet Ranch Road. Our hike was short because we came across a barbed wired fence. Today we went back and finished the hike after learning that the fence was left over from when cattle used to roam around Planet Ranch Road. We bypassed the fence today by hugging the canyon wall and climbing over a small bluff. Looking back through the slot canyon you can see the hole in the rock below.

Once past the slot canyon walking in the direction of the Bill Williams River, the fauna gets thick with cactus, Mesquite, Palo Verde and Creosote. We came across a number of very tall Saguaro Cactus.

The magnificent Saguaro Cactus, the state flower of Arizona, is composed of a tall, thick, fluted, columnar stem, 18 to 24 inches in diameter, often with several large branches (arms) curving upward in the most distinctive conformation of all Southwestern cacti.

The skin is smooth and waxy, the trunk and stems have stout, 2-inch spines clustered on their ribs. When water is absorbed , the outer pulp of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion, increasing the diameter of the stem and, in this way, can increase its weight by up to a ton

The Saguaro has a surprisingly shallow root system , considering its great height and weight. It is supported by a tap root that is only a pad about 3 feet long, as well as numerous stout roots no deeper than a foot, emanating radially from its base. More smaller roots run radially to a distance equal to the height of the Saguaro. These roots wrap about rocks providing adequate anchorage from winds across the rocky bajadas.

Joyce enjoyed the hike!
After completing the hike through the slot canyon and along the river, we decided to drive to the end of Planet Ranch Road and try one of the trails that lead away from the river into the desert toward the Buckskin Mountains.
Buckskin Mountains is a mountain range in La Paz County in the state of Arizona (AZ). Buckskin Mountains climbs to 1,496 feet (455.98 meters) above sea level. Buckskin Mountains is located at latitude - longitude coordinates (also called lat - long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 34.155298 and W -113.830771.
A large wash surrounded by the Buckskin Mountains
We enjoyed our hikes and decided to call it a day as the shadows were getting long! The contrast between the desert and the riparian area around the river is amazing.
Tomorrow we are back to our 3 day work/ volunteer schedule here at the refuge so we'll see what's new!

1 comment:

  1. Jim, Gayle and I did that same slot canyon hike the day we met you, and also crossed to the other side of the barbed wire fence. We should have gone over the bluff as you did, but instead, we wimped out when the vegetation became dense and turned back. I don't know if you've spent any time around the Tucson area, but if you want to see saguaros, that's the place! Debbie