I hiked on Mingus Mountain near Jerome, AZ this past Sunday. This hike was in mountainous open country. The trail was rocky and didn’t have sign posts like many of the trails I have hiked in the Hudson Valley. I saw lots of new birds and had a great time trying to identify plants.
The location of this hike was about two hours north of Phoenix in Prescott National Forest. The elevation of Mingus Mountain is 7,815 feet and the average elevation of Phoenix is 1,117 feet so most of the drive was an ascent. As you leave Phoenix there are signs on the highway that tell you your elevation and around 3,000 feet the Saguaro cacti stop growing. I was looking for that point on the drive and my boss told me that is a defining line of where the Sonoran desert ends/begins.
Once I left the main roads I had to take some dirt roads to get to the trail and I was happy to have the Subaro Forrester because I think my Honda Accord would have bottomed out at a few points on the road. The temperature was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when I started hiking around 9:00am and I hiked comfortably in pants and a short sleeve shirt.
Some highlights were seeing Parry’s agave in bloom with two-tailed swallowtail butterflies on the flowers. The birds were tough to identify. I believe that I saw Mountain Chickadee, Western Scrub or Stellar’s Jay, and a flycatcher that bobbed it’s tail like an Eastern Phoebe. I had a great look at what I believe to be a Virginia’s Warbler and there were lots of Spotted Towhees (identified by song only) singing throughout the day.