Posts Tagged ‘SW Bald Eagles’

Tonto News Round-up July 2009

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Our monthly round-up of news affecting hiking and camping in general and the Tonto NF in particular.

Fire Restrictions Have Been Lifted in the Tonto National Forest – just in time for the hottest weekend of the year. Early monsoon humidity has reduced the overall dryness of, well, everything enough to allow open fires once more in the Tonto.

“Although campfires and smoking will now be allowed throughout the forest, visitors should properly extinguish cigarettes in ashtrays, and ashes in a campfire ring should be cold enough to touch before they are left,” said Tonto NF Fire Staff Officer Clay Templin.  “Campfires should be put out by drowning with water and stirring with a shovel to ensure the fire is cold.”

Forest Supervisor Gene Blankenbaker extended special thanks to the visiting public during the fire restrictions which began May 14.  “We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we had to restrict access and activities on the Tonto during this fire season.  We appreciate our visitors’ support of the restrictions.”

Heading out to the desert lakes for the 4th weekend? Well – don’t forget your Tonto Pass, because there isn’t much you can do at any of the lakes without one. Also, be aware of stepped-up enforcement of drunk boating laws.

Oh – and the Bald eagle restrictions have been lifted from most of the desert lakes. As you may recall, portions of the lakes and other desert waterways are closed to traffice throughout spring to allow the more-or-less endangered Southwest Bald Eagles to nest in peace during breeding season. They’re done now. Have at it.

Look Out for Bears! Encounters between bears and humans are becoming more common in the high country, as humans expand their range and the bears stubbornly refuse to evaporate into thin air. The chief instigator in this would be food, which, from the bears’ perspective, includes the garbage.

“We don’t have any habitats devoid of humans. They don’t exist. Bears are large, powerful and unpredictable animals. If a bear constitutes a public safety threat in one location, a change in geography is simply not going to alter or diminish the threat,”

He adds later, “We don’t have any habitats devoid of humans. They don’t exist. Bears are large, powerful and unpredictable animals. If a bear constitutes a public safety threat in one location, a change in geography is simply not going to alter or diminish the threat,”

Speaking of human/animal conflict…

The deadline for the big game hunting Super-raffle has been extended to July 12th. You can stalk and kill (or attempt to anyway) all sorts of critters from elk and buffalo to bears and mountain lions – if you have a permit. More Information here.

One last thing: Native Fish Cam.

Enjoy.

Vineyard Trail

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

[Part of the ongoing Behind-The-Hike series for Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest.]

This lovely hike heads up from Roosevelt Lake towards Four Peaks, and is part of the Arizona Trail which runs through the state from Utah to Mexico.

DATE HIKED: 1 April 2008

COMPANIONS: None.

START TIME: 12:45pm

END TIME: 6:50pm

ACTUAL MILEAGE: 11.3

This was one of those rare combinations of a reasonable start time, good weather, a scenic trail and a working camera. Thus, I have some pictures, but precious little space. So I’ll put a few here, and you can go to my personal site HERE to see the rest.

The above is one of my favorite photos from the guidebook days.

You can read all about the Salt River Project Dams, inclding Roosevelt Dam from their website history here.

The O’rourke camp was named after the the John O’Rourke firm of Galveston, Texas, who one the contract labor bid.

“In 1910, O’Rourke’s Camp consisted of 42 percent white Americans, 15 percent Spanish emigrants, 11 percent black Americans, three percent Mexican nationals and two percent Chinese. No American Indians or Mexican-Americans lived in the contractor’s camp. O’Rourke hoped to attract 300 to 500 workers to Roosevelt, but the most contract workers employed at one time was a little over 200. Common laborers of all types were paid $2 a day; drillers, $2.75; carpenters, $3.50 to $5, and sub-foremen, $3.50. The government deducted 75 cents per day for meals.”

The photo on the left is the heiograph tower.

The photo on the right is pollen on my boots.

Don’t bother picking your way through the rocks and cactus to get to the corrugated shed in the old vineyard. There’s no opening in it. GAFDE. You can see everything there is to see from the trail.

I did actually go down to Buckhorn Springs, put my feet in the water, and had a nice meal.

Last November I returned back up this trail researching an article I wrote on the Southwest Bald Eagle for Inside/Outsde Magazine. I didn’t actually see any eagles on the trip (it was still a bit hot to see them in late afternoon, I can confirm this is a legitmate habitat for this distinct species of raptor.