We did a lot of birding in the first part of February, but we also walked our favourite loop near our place in Picture Rocks several times. Here’s one of our favourite views of Panther Peak from that trail. Most days were cool in the morning but warmed to about 20 degrees C.

We had a bit of a surprise on February 15, when we awoke to snow on the ground.

We went out into the yard before breakfast to get these photos, before the sunshine melted all the snow. The prickly pear cacti didn’t hold very much snow. The mesquite in the background is just starting to leaf out.

More snow stuck to the chain-fruit cholla.

By the third week in February, Wendy’s leg injury was finally healed enough to do a proper hike. We chose one of our favourites in Saguaro National Park (West): the Hugh Norris trail. It was a cool morning, so there was no need to get an early start. We had our snack when we reached the ridge after the steady uphill. If we’d had our binoculars we could have seen our place in the background.

Here’s Doug from that spot.

We saw a few different wildflowers along the ridge, although the wind made it difficult to get anything in focus. This glandularia was low enough and on a lee side, so it was the “wildflower of the day.”

We headed down the Esperanza trail and linked with the Dobe Wash trail. Just past the intersection, we stepped off the trail to get a better view of one of our favourite “grotesque” saguaros. This saguaro has lost an arm since we photographed it in 2020.

At our lunch spot, we noticed the nearby saguaro had the beginnings of new arms. Here’s Wendy taking a photo, so you have a sense of the scale.

Here’s the photo she took. It’s as if the saguaro has pimples bursting through its skin. We will be sure to return to see how fast it grows.

When the Dobe Wash trail reached the road, we crossed and joined the Bajada trail, which parallels the road for a short distance, then joins a wash. Mostly we walked on sand, but sometimes there was a section of grippy granitic rock. The whole hike was about eleven and a half kilometres and we did it in a leisurely four and a half hours.

On the last day of February, we stopped on our way home from birding at Picacho Peak State Park. It took us about twenty minutes to get up to the gate when we arrived around 10:30. By the time we left two hours later, there was a huge line and it seemed that every parking spot in the place was taken.

It was an amazing sight and worth the effort. We walked up from the De Anza Picnic Area, and soon we were alone on the trail.

So many California Poppies!

Of course, it’s best to get down low for a good photo.

Another view.

And to conclude, here are a couple of views around sunset at our place. This first one is ten minutes before sunset, looking west.

This photo was taken on a different day, about fifteen minutes after sunset. We don’t often see popcorn-like clouds like these.

This post includes photos from our activities on just a few days in February. Part two of this blog will be posted soon and will be all about our birding adventures.

One thought on “February 2023 in Arizona: Part 1

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