Sunday, May 16, 2010

Night Hike at Usery Mountain Park

Summer is nearly here with temperatures heading toward the 100 degree mark.  So I'm embarking on my strategy of finding night time outdoor adventures, to avoid going absolutely insane this summer.  I'm starting easy, on a ranger-led family oriented hike on a very wheelchair-friendly trail - the Merkle Trail at Usery Mountain Park.  It was a large group that showed up for this hike, with lots of little kids, so we didn't see too many critters, but the kids were quite entertaining and so darn cute.  These walks are held once a month, the fee is only $6 per car, and the sunsets are beautiful! 
As listed on the Usery Mountain Regional Park website - Animal "Hide and Seek" Flashlight Walk - See nocturnal animals of the desert on a 1-mile walk along the Merkle Trail. The well-manicured Merkle Trail offers universal access and the hard-smooth surface of this trail will accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Please bring water and a flashlight. No dogs, please. Location: Area 6.  For dates and times of future Flashlight Walks at Usery, check their website

We did manage to see scorpions, a big gnarly centipede, a few praying mantis, Arizona's largest moth - the Hawk Moth, and on the way out of the park, a great display of Lesser Nighthawks feeding on bugs under the street lights!

For a more detailed review of the wheelchair accessibility of the Merkle Trail at Usery, see the eMagazine - Accessing Arizona.

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