Superstition Mountains at sunset, from Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona


Runtrails' Web Journal
Previous       2019 Journal Topics       Home       Next



Continued from the previous page.


This is the section of the park's trail map that shows this area west of Elm Lake:

The Spillway Trail is the green dotted line that runs 6/10ths mile between Elm and 40 Acre Lakes.

It's a wide, raised path that runs through wetlands, and I've often seen alligators here -- on the trail, as well as next to it or on the little treed islands in the water. Here's one big alligator I saw along this trail in December:

During this visit I didn't spot any alligators along this trail, however, because it was chilly and overcast the day I hiked it.

Here are some photos of the Spillway Trail on this visit.

Water flows from large Pilant Lake under the spillway bridge. This is a good spot to view herons, egrets, and other birds looking for food:







Alligators like to hang out on the warm concrete under the bridge on sunny days, too, but it was too cold for them to be out last week.

A tall observation tower is located at one corner of 40 Acre Lake at the end of the Spillway Trail:

40 Acre Lake is just beyond the observation tower and to the left; large Pilant Lake is on the right.

These signs clearly indicate how high flood waters reached in 1992 and 2017.
Nearly the whole park was under water after Hurricane Matthew 1+ year ago.

Panning left to right at this curve in the lake by the tower:



Staff and volunteers were repairing the tower when we were here in December and I wasn't able to climb up to the top then. That was OK, since I've gone up there in prior years (2010, 2011) to admire the watery panorama of lakes and wetlands.

I took the opportunity to climb to the top again last week to take photos. I've included pictures in two directions here:

Looking east over the Spillway Trail I just walked; Pilant Lake is on the left.

Looking west over the trail that encircles 40 Acre Lake, which is to the left

The loop around 40 Acre Lake is 1.2 miles long. Most of it is flat and smooth except near the picnic area on the southwest side of the lake.


The most common kinds of birds I saw both in December and last week were black-bellied whistling ducks and white ibis. Both birds have bright beaks that help with their identification.

I'll start with several photos of white ibis, which are almost pure white with pinkish-red beaks when mature and pretty mottled brown-and-white feathers while still immature. I assume these are mamas with their offspring:



Juvenile white ibis have attractive "camo" coloring.

I didn't see the drop of water at the end of the beak until I was editing these photos.

When I approached them on the trail -- whether I had a dog with me or not -- the ibis usually held their ground, as in the next photo, but the whistling ducks most often flew away so it was more difficult to get clear pictures of them:


Enough of the whistling ducks did remain on or close to shore that I got a few decent close-ups of them:


The advantage of the ducks flying away was twofold, however: I enjoyed the whistling sounds, and I could see the white on their wings which isn't as noticeable when they're still.


They almost look like an entirely different kind of bird when they're flying! Unfortunately, I didn't get any non-blurry close-ups of the ducks in flight.

Next entrystressed out and glad to be home again -- is this the end of RVing for us??

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Casey-Girl, and Holly-Pup

Previous       Next

2019 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil