This blog post is about our hiking and biking. We have also included several flower photos, since the wetter season has meant a spectacular flower bloom.

We took advantage of the good weather in early March and went hiking. The first hike was one we do every season right from our gate: Panther Peak. The beginning of the trail is pretty standard and easy to follow. The route goes up a gully and soon we were navigating boulders. Doug is standing on the “trail” in the photo below.

Here’s a view of Wendy on the descent. (We’ve included plenty of summit photos in previous blogs.) Marana and the town of Oro Valley are in the mid-ground. Snow is visible on Mt. Lemmon.

The next week we joined our friends from Cranbrook on a hike in the Tortolita Mountains. The photo below was taken at our traditional snack spot on the Alamo Springs trail. We usually sit on the bench and admire the interesting rock formations. This time there were a couple of Canyon Wrens singing and flying around. We thought maybe they were nest building.

We continued along the ridge. This photo was taken as we started our decent back to the Wild Burro wash.

We also got out on our bikes again. We rode on “The Loop” a couple of times to get in shape for mountain biking. The photo below is of a huge bird sculpture by a newly rerouted section of the trail. It’s near the Ina bridge, where the Santa Cruz River flooded in mid-January. (See the January blog post for photos.) The sculpture is titled: Big Year and the artist is Trevor O’Tool.

We finally got to Tortolita Preserve for our first mountain biking of 2023 on March 15. We were trying to beat the rain, but is started sprinkling on us shortly after we started our ride. We rode almost half-way, then turned around. Coming back, we got a photo of a recently fallen saguaro. It started pouring just as we reached the truck.

Here’s a view of a different section of the Tortolita Preserve trail on a beautiful day.

This Pipeline Swallowtail was beside the birding trail at Patagonia Lake State Park. It was near where we were hoping to see a Green Kingfisher, so it was our consolation prize.

With the rainy weather, wildflowers bloomed all over. This Notch-leaved Phacelia was on our local trail we’ve named “Panther Wash Loop.”

There were also many of these flowers. They are Blue Dicks or Purplehead in the Brodiaea family.

We watched this Desert Spiny Lizard one sunny day at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Parry Penstemon is the most common native Penstemon in the desert around Tucson. It adds a lot of colour to the cactus garden at the Desert Museum.

This hedgehog cactus was also blooming.

This year was the first time that we had seen an Organ Pipe Cactus bloom.

These California Poppies were blooming beside the road through Saguaro National Park (West). We passed them almost every day, so we stopped one time for photos.

The unsettled weather meant we had some interesting sunrises. This one was on March 15, the same day we went mountain biking and got caught in the rain.

Later the same day, it cleared up, but started sprinkling again, which gave us a good view of this full rainbow.

The next day was also cloudy, but there was still enough contrast to see this Gambel’s Quail on its perch. This is one of our favourite snags along the road to our place.

Our first dinner outside was on March 28. In 2021, we ate dinner outside several times in February.

To wrap it up, here’s our favourite sunset photo of March.

March was a busy month. We’ll be posting two more March blogs; one about the birding around Tucson and another about our trip to Cochise County (Willcox, Portal and Cave Creek.)

One thought on “March 2023 in Arizona – Part 1

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