Hiking to Josephine Saddle with Andy
In my previous post, I mentioned having breakfast with Adam and Andy on my first morning in Tucson. I met them a year ago. Andy had found my blog through a comment that I had left on another Tucson blog- probably either Homer's or Cobban's. Adam and Andy do prairie restoration on the 400 acre farm in southwest Wisconsin that Andy's parents own. Leon and I have enjoyed getting to know them over the past year. Over breakfast, we discussed my plans for the coming week, and Andy expressed interest in joining me on one of my bug hunts. On Monday we drove down to Madera Canyon to hike up to Josephine saddle.
MilkweedThe day started cloudy, and the threat of rain was forecast. We were lucky, rain never materialized and the sun eventually came out. Because it was cloudy and we were hiking up a north-facing slope we did not see any insects at first. It's hard to get too disappointed about this- the scenery and botany are both amazing. Among the many interesting plants that we saw was a beautiful milkweed with maroon flowers.
We ran into John, someone we had just met the day before while swimming with Homer. He had mentioned plans for a similar hike, but I hadn't expected to encounter his hiking party. Shortly after we ran into them, we began encountering more insects, including a bunch of butterflies.
Gold-costa Skipper (Cogia caicus)
The saddle is an interesting destination, but still enough in the woods that there are not spectacular views there. We stopped for a snack of almonds and a few photos.
The trip back down was on a south-facing slope, which meant different plants and drier conditions. We saw lots of fat lizards along the trail. Much more interesting was the coral snake that we got a quick glimpse of.
As the hike wound down, my only disappointment was that we had not seen an Arizona Hairstreak, a species I wanted to photograph. We were nearly back to the parking lot before I saw one.