Well, this is more about our little off-road walk than the Hatchery... there were a lot of baby trout in the hatchery, though, they breed them and supply many of the lakes around Phoenix for fishing. Pretty cool, and all up the road (Tonto Creek Road) towards the hatchery, you can go camping. It was a very beautiful place to be.
There were a couple of car parks along the side of the road where we parked and decided to go for a wander along one of the marked tracks.
In the photo above, to the left, just out of sight there was a log across the creek for crossing. To the right there were stepping-rocks which we only noticed on the way back (photo below). These were much easier to cross.... without worrying that the kiddo was going to fall in.
One of the signs mentioned several types of local wildlife. One in particular... black bears. I didn't see any, I have no idea what time of year they're more or less active, I have no idea how to be properly equipped in case we came across one. So, in my mind, we were a little silly going for a walk, completely un-armed with pepper spray or anything else to protect ourselves. Oops. Next time, though, I'll make sure we're better informed and prepared. The photo above is of, what looks to me, bear scratches on a tree. You can tell quite easily that they're old markings and that the tree has had a lot of time to repair itself around the scratches. These marks were about the height of my shoulders.
I couldn't help but stop every now and then, just to look up and take in the canopy. It was gorgeous. The fresh crisp air, the birds chirping, the different colors of the leaves as some of the trees were beginning to change into their 'fall' colors.
Oak leaves. Now, all around Gilbert, around playgrounds and even in the closest playground to where we live, are oak trees. They look a LOT different to these trees though. The ones in Phoenix, where it's so hot and dry, don't grow very tall, the acorns are small and pointy, the leaves are small, about the length of my little finger and look more like a holly leaf. Basically, the trees in Phoenix and around, have to rely on irrigation. The sun is hot and heavy a lot of the year, and I get the feeling that oak trees enjoy cooler climates, rain and clouds.
But these oak leaves! OH! Big, round, oak leaves that were the size of my hand, reminding me of oak trees in New Zealand. Each leaf looked so different from the next, I couldn't decide on one to take home, so I decided I could take them all home in a photo.
My 4 year old loves to play with the acorns around our apartment, the small, dingy ones. He found an acorn in the forest here and called it a 'giant nut'. I told him is was an acorn, and that's the way they usually look.