On Easter Sunday I packed up my rig in left Phoenix area after a month long stay. From there I headed southeast about 200 miles to Roper Lake State Park just outside Stafford Arizona. I have a three night reservations at this park. When I arrived on Sunday afternoon the park was jam-packed. The campground was full for that evening and the day use part of the park was very very busy. Anytime there’s water in the desert it makes for a great little oasis, both for wildlife and people. The park consists of a 30 acre lake (a reservoir fed by a natural hot spring). The park was developed in the early 70s when the state purchased the land from the ranch to form the reservoir. It’s a natural refuge for birds of all types that winter here and migrate through the area, and other wildlife. It’s a great getaway for locals to do some swimming and fishing. No motors are allowed on this Lake due to its size. As I said the park was jam-packed but by evening the day use area cleared out, and the campground got quiet. On Monday morning me and Maxine got up early and headed out for a walk the check out the park. I had planned to be just a short walk, but it turned into about a two hour hike. The park has a small hot tub that is fed by natural hot spring which in turn feeds the reservoir. The temperature of the hot tub is about 92° year-round. Here’s a picture of the hot tub as Maxine checks it out.
As we headed from the hot tub to walk up the trail we ran into two ladies that were there to give a guided bird watching tour, at 8 o’clock it was about eight and no one was there to join them yet. They told me this area makes for a birdwatchers paradise. The head guide was an elderly lady (retired professor from the University of Arizona), she was a biologist and avid birdwatcher for many years, her and her assistant seem very knowledgeable. As we talked a few people started to show up, so Maxine and I decided to head off on our walk and said our good days. Maxine and I headed up the trail that went up to the top of the Mesa with great views of the lake and the surrounding area. I saw lots of rabbits some quail and a coyote run off in the distance. Here are a few photos I took of the area and as you can see there’s still a little snow on the distant mountains.
As we headed back to our campsite I snapped a few shots of some of the thousands of yellow headed blackbirds that winter in the park. This is the first time I’ve ever seen these blackbirds but the park ranger told me they stay here all winter and then migrate north in the summer. There beautiful birds, but quite noisy at times, make a chattering sound like all blackbirds do, during the day they head out into the surrounding areas to feed, but in the evening and morning they roost in the trees around the park.
Most of the people that were here for the weekend were heading out Monday morning. By the time we got back from our hike the campground it was two thirds empty. And it’s been quiet and peaceful here with very little day use the last couple days. Here’s a photo of the view from my campsite looking up at the mountains how spectacular.
It was a lovely day on Monday, temperatures warming to the low 80s and light breezes, so I decided to get my inflatable kayak out and take a paddle on the lake. Here we are heading out.
As you can see by these photos it’s a nice little lake with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
There are eight little cottages that can be rented also located in the park, the state owns all the property around the lake so there are no private homes or cottages like most of the lakes in Wisconsin have. But by Wisconsin standards this is nothing more than a large pond but it is sure great to find an oasis here in the desert.
As we paddle along Maxine spotted something.
It was a greater an egret, and I managed to get a couple photos of this majestic bird.
It got quite windy overnight and is forecast to be windy all day today Tuesday my last full day here at the park. The forecast highs today are only going to be in the mid-70s but it is still quite pleasant. Maxine and I already did our morning walk. And after finishing this journal I think me and Maxine will head out for a ride around the area to see what there is to see. Tomorrow will be packing up with plans to head into New Mexico, I plan on heading a couple hours east of here to City of Rocks State Park. Friends of mine were there a few weeks ago and talk very highly of the area. I should be able to get a first come first serve site at this park. So the plan is to stop there for a night or two. That’s it for now more to come later take care.