Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mesa, AZ (3/3/2017)

This was my first visit to Mesa, although I have been to most of the cities that surround it.  I have been greatly impressed by the road system, widely dispersed shopping, great variety of restaurants and overall appearance of the community.  There are many new planned communities and RV parks, but they are tastefully designed and "cookie cutter" complaint here.  Most of all, I'm finding a large number of activities available that match my interests.  I may well return in future years and stay longer.

During my stay here, I had the pleasure of having lunch or dinner with several sets of friends with whom I share Jeeping or photography adventures.  I gained significant local knowledge and tips that helped me enjoy my time here.  One of the day trips suggested included stops at Lower Salt River Recreation Area, Coon Bluff Recreation Area and Saguaro Lake.  On my way, I saw lots of interesting houses, including one perched on the top of a hill.
A roadside stop was in order when I spotted some golden-yellow poppies mixed with a little lavender lupine.
The area around Lower Salt River is home to several herds of wild horses, maybe 150 altogether.  What a surprise when I found a group of 30-40 horses milling around a large parking lot.  Not wanting to photograph horses on asphalt, I walked out into the desert and found others grazing there.  I have to say, these were some of the healthiest wild horses I've seen.

Not far down the road, Coon Bluff is another place the horses can sometimes be seen.  They weren't present at this time, but other wildlife certainly was.  The river otters were having a good time playing and posing for me.

 There were also plenty of birds, some of which I had not seen (and still haven't identified), but most of which are very familiar.

Common Merganser

American Egret

European Starling
Saguaro Lake is one of several lakes formed by dams in the Salt River.  It is a prime recreational spot for people in the greater Phoenix area.

  In addition to mountain biking, hiking and boating, the birding here is pretty good, too.  There were quite a few ducks on the lake, but only a couple species ventured close enough for a photo.

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