Nature Walk in the San Pedro River Valley with Naturalist Ralph Waldt
Registration fee: $35/member, $50/non-member
Trip difficulty: Moderate, 2 1/2 miles roundtrip over mostly level terrain with a few short, uphill/downhill areas near or at the river’s edge. Includes walking cross-country, (without trails). Restrooms will be available at the start of the walk.
The wildest section of the San Pedro River lies between the towns of Benson and San Manuel. There, southern Arizona’s last large, undeveloped valley hosts a rich assemblage of native wildlife, mesquite bosques, and miles of precious riparian forests.
Join naturalist Ralph Waldt for a walk along a rare stretch of the San Pedro River, where perennially flowing water enables a magnificent riverside forest of cottonwoods and willows. We will begin with a walk through open grass and scattered mesquites flanking the river, then make a gentle descent into the riverbottom forest. We will pause for lunch at river’s edge, then briefly explore the forest before returning via the same route.
Our walk will focus on a broad range of ecological subjects – bird life, native plants, reptiles, animal signs, insects, etc. This is a beautiful time of year, when the trees are glowing with spring-green foliage, birds are singing, and a resurgence of life graces the land.
A good pair of boots, and snake gaiters – if you have them – are recommended. Along most of the route, we will be walking cross-country, (without trails). Rattlesnakes do inhabit the area. Long pants are recommended. Sun protection is essential – a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bring a lunch, plenty of water, and binoculars. Limited to 10 participants.
Carpooling will be arranged from Tucson with other participants. We will leave Tucson at approximately 6:00 AM and return by 3:30 PM.
Directions: From Interstate 10, take Exit 306 and follow the sign directing you toward the tiny town of Pomerene. From the exit, you will drive about 3 miles into Pomerene, where you will see the first stop sign since leaving the Interstate Highway. There will be a sign there indicating the Cascabel Road. Turn right at the stop sign. After another half mile or so, the road becomes known as the Cascabel Road. Follow it for about 12 miles, paying attention to the mile markers as you go. As you pass mile marker 12, start watching for some corrals painted white off of the right side of the road. Immediately across from the corrals (i.e., on the left side of the Cascabel Road), is a driveway with a metal gate and a mailbox numbered 3988. Orange surveyor’s ribbon will be attached to the driveway gate. Go through the driveway gate and please be sure you close it immediately afterward, then follow the driveway down 1/4 mile to a lone house, where we will meet for our walk. A bathroom will be available at the house. Driving time from Exit 306 to our meeting place is approximately 30-35 minutes. We will meet at 8:00am, and our walk should be completed by approximately 1:30pm.
For anyone interested, Ralph will have signed copies of his latest book, The Life of the San Pedro River, available for sale @ $40.00 each after the walk.
Leaders: Ralph Waldt and Kirsten Howe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About the leader: Ralph Waldt is a professional naturalist, author, musician, and photographer. He spent nearly 20 years working as an interpretive naturalist employed by The Nature Conservancy in Montana and Arizona. Ralph has led more than 1,600 educational hikes and field trips, taught natural history field courses for many different organizations, and has given presentations and lectures in universities, public, and private schools throughout the United States. His love of the natural world has led him to write two books, Crown of the Continent, published in 2004, and The Life of the San Pedro River, published in 2020. Currently, Ralph lives in the Middle San Pedro Valley where he works independently as a naturalist and writer.
Register here beginning March 11, 7:00 AM.
Header Image: Great-horned Owl by Erik Wahlgren