February 28, 2012
Before leaving Nogales yesterday morning, we stopped at a truck stop for a lube and oil change on the motor home. Jim measured the pit before pulling in to make sure the Bronco on the back could be pulled over the pit. The width of the Bronco was fine.
But, as we tried to pull out, the Bronco’s oil pan would not pass one piece of equipment in the pit and had to be removed anyway. It was a good try, anyway.
I’d heard everyone talk of Patagonia Lake as a beautiful State Park. It was a cold, windy gray day. The mesquite trees don’t have their leaves yet and the scenery looks like the aftermath of a forest fire. Beautiful was not the adjective I’d have chosen for this area. It has a reputation as a birding paradise and there were plenty of crows hanging around.
We took a walk to look the park over. The lake has a designated swimming area cordoned off. Every campsite and a generous group picnic area is roofed over from the sizzling Arizona summer sun. Water is scarce here. I began to get a feel for what this lake must mean to people who live in the surrounding areas.
The campgrounds weren’t full but there were a number of rigs and two tent campers, but not a boat on the lake. We spotted a single fisherman casting his line.
In shallow spots, cat tails grew in abundance and rock lined the opposite shore.
We came to a steep wooden walk-over bridge. Delightful. It was meant to allow sailboats under it.
From the top of the bridge, you can see the lake has a lot of character. On the opposite bank is a point with a telescope mount to view the area mountains or boaters below.
Huge layered boulders provide a great place to catch some sun or dive into the water below, although a sign says “No Diving”.
I circled around and discovered this nice marina with rental paddle-boats, kayaks, canoes and fishing boats. Not available just then because the visitors center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the “off” season.
Then I saw this sign and got a new respect for the “beauty” of Patagonia Lake. No jet-skis, personal watercraft or water exhausted boats, jet-boats at anytime on this lake nor ski boats on weekends or holidays. Oh, what a treat to enjoy a weekend away on this lake without the motors and noise intruding. Beauty isn’t always beheld by the eyes alone. This lake is a lovely jewel in the desert.
Then I met Eileen and Bob, both avid birders and volunteers at this park every year. Another couple work here as volunteers for six months staying in their 5th wheel and then spend the other six months on their boat. Eileen told me there was a bass tournament with 70 boats in the water over the weekend. They assist with these events. Eileen and Bob take people on bird walks every Wednesday, too late for us. They told me where to go to see birds and showed me a picture of an elegant trogon. They had seen the elegant trogon nearly every day on their own walks.
I looked up the trogon and found wonderful information on-line including the sound they make at this site:
So, today we walk and hope to see Arizona’s most famous and sought after bird.
I took 25 pictures if you’d like to see more: