June 27th, 2011
We decided to take an early stroll this morning around the campground areas as the weather is beautiful in the morning but is forecast for some showers later on. This campground is well laid out. It has two main areas, each divided into two smaller sections. The area we are in, the Mallard Loop, has a few lake view sites (If you really look hard through the trees)but is more tree populated. The other area is more open but has some spectacular cliff sites overlooking the lake. The campground is currently busy but not full. The fire restrictions and the fact the fire that has burned a large portion of the area mountain probably has something to do with it. The town presently has a ban on smoking also unless you are inside your home or vehicle. After speaking with other campers we find that most of the campers here stay at least a week or two. This is the first year that they took reservations and from what we were told this is a very popular location and was very hard to get a site as many would stay weeks at a time. Most of the state parks in Arizona are still a first come first serve basis. I am not one to take a chance. Like to have everything planned out and so this one of the reasons we chose this location…not to mention the idea of being in the desert state and still having cool days and even cooler nights. .
As we walk along the edge of the cliff we notice a movement just beyond the trees. Curious, we stop and to our amazement out steps a beautiful fox. (okay not a Willie Coyote…but that was what popped into to my head first) It is cautious but seemed to sense that we mean it no harm and does not appear to be afraid of us, even though Shyla was with us. She seemed as about disinterested in them as they were in her. Slowly it moved between the trees about 30 ft from us. We were so enchanted that it took a moment to realize that there were not just one but two. We have seen foxes on our travels but never together like this and never quite as bold. We stood it seemed like an eternity watching the two look for any morning scraps or prey. With nothing on the menu seemingly to appear they move on and away. This was definitely a treat and we were lucky to have the camera ready to go.
This side of the park does not have a true path to follow as yesterday. We walk past several dual sites, sites in which two campers can park side by side. Many of the parks in Arizona boast these type of sites. I can see them being popular if you plan to have several campers in a party but we are not used to sharing so much privacy. Andrew and I have personal space issues. You would think with a tent camper that everyone can hear every single sound we make (and this includes the snoring…..by Shyla of course) that this should not matter to us. This however is really too close for comfort for us. Luckily I was able to pick a site that was not only made for one unit but was set all my itself in an island in the middle without any other sites close by.
As we continued with our walk we were greeted numerously by tiny, scurrying lizards. Every region has it’s critters. In Dallas it is squirrels, Colorado it was chipmunks, here it is lizards. We must have taken 3 dozen photos trying to get that picture perfect moment with them in it. They really teased us darting out and perching on rocks only to run away the moment we pulled the camera out. But eventually it paid off and I captured a couple of descent shots.
The ranger we met along the way said that we might be lucky and see a snake or two….not sure if I really want to be that lucky! Believe I will stick with the non-poisonous lizard thank you.
Today the lake was very still. We saw a couple in kayaks out on the water. Not sure if they brought them or that is something you can rent. We have not seen anywhere on either side that would have rentals but maybe we will take a drive later and investigate further. We keep toying with the idea of buying something like these to take out ourselves. We spend plenty of time at lakes but never on or in them.
Later that night we (myself and fellow campers…..Andrew and Shyla were exhausted tonight and chose to stay close to the site) were treated to a bird exhibit. The park sponsors a rescue operation for large raptors that have fallen ill. Most of the birds contract a severe respiratory infection that causes them to be unable to fly again. They nurse the birds back to health and then use them for educational purposes. They had a beautiful golden eagle, an owl, and another rapture that I missed before I arrived. The birds were truly amazing to see up so close and when they spread their wings I was totally floored on the span of them. There wings spanned a massive 6-8 ft. I came back to find my birthday lounger was occupied by a slumbering husband and Shyla was at his feet fast asleep too. The poor baby was so tired he left his dinner dish laying on his lap.