Our wildlife sighting adventure in the Apache Blue Range Primitive Area

IMG_7264I saw a black bear cub today. I caught a brown Trout. I went to New Mexico and back into Arizona on a fire road through a spot on the map called Blue, Arizona.  I saw the white Blue Cowbells in the meadows next to the stream that is the Blue river. I saw bull and doe Elk and several of their young.  I walked the bed of the windy Blue and parked a chair along it’s banks to watch my boys roll up their pants and stick their bottoms in the air searching for crawdads. They say they caught a grand-daddy!  I walked over a set of stairs put in place by citizen conservationist from the 1930’s to lead the way to a hidden area of petroglyphs along the rocky formations next to the Blue.  And I ended the day watching my sons catch and release Apache Trout from a hidden lake tucked away in a hole surrounded by Pine, Spruce and Aspen trees.

Tonight’s our last night at Hannagan Meadow Lodge. We haven’t taken a family vacation in 6 years and this is only our second family vacation, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. But it’s the best so far!

Every year I usually take the boys to Oregon and Redding, California to visit family. They usually stay for a month with my sister, but this year we broke tradition and the boys went to ZONA camp at Biola University for a week and we all (husband included) went on a much needed family vacation to the beautiful high country in Eastern Arizona. And I am so glad we did.  I wrote 4 poems here. Took up watercolors (I won’t quit my day job) and wrote a list of observations at several places we visited. The time out here has been inspiring, refreshing, quiet and adventurous at the same time.

Hannagan Meadow Lodge, where we rented a cabin, is at 9000 feet elevation along the historic Coronado Trail (a.k.a. Devil’s Highway- it used to be labeled Hwy 666) in Arizona’s Blue Range Primitive Area. About a five minute car ride from Hannagan Meadow is hidden Aker Lake.  I painted two of my water colors there and wrote two poems there. You drive down a forest service road into a valley were at the bottom is a natural, small lake, tucked all around with green grass, Pine, Spruce and Aspen trees. There’s a simple wooden sign at the lake instructing fishermen: Single barbed hook and artificial lures, catch and release only. Aker is full of Apache and Brown Trout as well Greylings. My boys took a fly fishing lesson the first day we were there from Wendy, a pro-angler and sweet, intelligent, strong, active woman. So glad she taught my boys.  Now their hooked!  They want to get their own fly fish gear.

There is so much more I could tell you about this trip. I told my husband I want to write a memoir about it. But I’ll leave you with a list of wildlife (I don’t know all their scientific names, so some of this list is just a description) I personally observed in the past 72 hours. As well as some pictures from our wildlife siting adventure in the Apache-Sitegraves Blue Range Primitive Area.

Black and white butterflies

Monarch butterflies

Bright orange butterflies

Black/white swallows?

Finches with yellow breast

Bull elk (4 of them)

Cow elk (I lost count… more than 20)

Baby elk

Mule deer

Big-horned sheep

Swallows (and their babies in a nest on our cabin’s porch)

Hummingbirds

Brown Trout

Apache Trout

Chipmunks

Grey squirrels

Dragon flies

Red breasted Robin

Bald eagle

Vulture

Wild turkey

Black bear cub

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Fly fishing lesson

IMG_7038Start with yarn
Begin with listen
Commence to lake
Now watch
Make a loop
Pull the line
It’s all in the forearm
Just a whip
Nice
Now do this
Tall young men
Students
Wise fisher woman
Guide
It’s not boring
Constant moving
Scenic views
Meadow
Pine
and Spruce
The breeze slowed
Line now dances
Without folding mid-throw
Whip
Whizz
Drop
Slip
Fly in the water
Now pull
Cast farther

Hannagan Meadow In My Ear

animal avian beak bird
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

warm sunlight
on my chest
cool high-altitude breeze
on my face

sun-kissed skin
cool touch from wind
songs of finch beckon
in my ear

rush of sound
wave of air
through Aspen
Spruce and Pine

wings a flutter
thousands of reps per second
green, blue shimmering wings
in my ear

inches from my face
she shows me her aviary body
royal in appearance
real life fairy

here on the porch
in my ear
by my face
spear for mouth

painted face shines
green and gold
and she’s gone
just a glimpse

her hum travels
behind her
caw of crow
bark of dog

caretakers awake now
moving their load to the lodge
humans aware
slow moving

long hair
find rest
in the fast
hum of air