Looking for something interesting to
do with the houseguests who always find themselves in your spare bedroom
this time of year? Let me suggest a one-day road trip to the west
side of our valley.
If you havenít been out to this area
for a while, you will be amazed and this spring there is much to see and
appreciate. With the run off of the Salt River this season, the
area is just beautiful.
First, lets explore the riparian
areas, south of I 10 and north of the Estrella Mountain Range.
This is where the Gila River flows year round and right now, it is
definitely, springtime in the desert. I am most impressed with the
water birds, the Herons and Egrets that are hanging out on the banks of
the Gila River.
I have learned that many of us donít
know that the Gila River flows year round and that you can actually
drive into the area. If you know where Phoenix International
Raceway is, then you can certainly find some side roads that will take
you to the banks of the Gila River.
Since we are exploring the entire west
valley today, then jump back on one of the major streets in the west
valley, such as Baseline Road, or get back on Interstate 10 and head
If you see something of interest just
stop to enjoy, but our next scheduled stop is the World Wildlife
Zoo. Along the way, you will notice that where we once farmed
cotton, we now harvest red tile roofs. Donít get discouraged,
because as development has moved into the west valley, our farms have
simply moved farther out. They are still operating and this area
has some very interesting crops this time of year. Keep your eyes
peeled for fields of rose bushes and grape vines in the area.
Stay with your trek west to Cotton
Lane, and turn north there. Someday, this will be the home of the
Outer Loop 303, but for now it is just a little short cut to
The World Wildlife Zoo is located on
the 303 and Northern Avenue. If you didnít bring a picnic, then
you might want to stop for a little lunch at the zoo and a walk
about. If you like zoos then this is a very nice one to
enjoy. One of the highlights right now is the white tiger cub, and
they are adorable.
If you brought a picnic, then stay on
the 303 to Olive and turn west again. Now, you are heading into
the White Tank Mountains and a fabulous State Park.
If you are a hiker there is a
three-mile hike to a waterfall that is active right now. Anyway
you go however, this is a great time to drive through the park and enjoy
the spring flowers, especially the lupine and desert mallow.
What a great day, exploring the west
valley. If you still have time, drive over to the 101 (Agua Fria
Freeway) and explore this region. Skunk Creek is flowing, and Lake
Pleasant is still releasing some water into the Central Arizona
Project, and this means that the flowers are also beautiful in this
area. On your way home, check out the progress being made on the
Cardinal Stadium. The roof has been lifted into place, and this
really gives the stadium a sense of size.