Tuesday, January 7, 2014

San Pedro River from the San Pedro House Sierra Vista, Arizona December 27, 2013

                            The river and riparian habitat

Location: Today I am going to begin my hike along the San Pedro River at the San Pedro House.  The house is located off of Highway 90 east of Sierra Vista, Arizona. This is a nice place to begin a hike because many different trails begin here. The San Pedro House is staffed by volunteers who are knowledgeable about access points, trails and historic sites along the San Pedro River.

I am visiting one of the most endangered ecosystems  in the Southwest--the cottonwood willow riparian habitat. In the Southwest rivers have been dammed and water diverted for irrigation purposes. As a result, cottonwoods have declined and riparian habitats have suffered. The San Pedro is important because it is the only free-flowing river in the Southwest, features larges stands of cottonwoods and it also supports a wide diversity of wildlife.

The Hike: I started out hiking along the Self-Guided Walk. The loop is two miles long with twelve stops which teach visitors about the area. After a mile of hiking I departed the trail and then followed game trails and other illegal trails for an extra three miles. I have included my favorite photos of the hike. Bird sitings were scarce because it was in the middle of the day. I did see a couple of Gila woodpeckers and Red-tailed hawks. Snakes are present throughout the year so watch out especially if you are going off-trail.


                         Very picturesque

                      The San Pedro River