Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Lake 10 Minutes from Home

Who knew?  I certainly did not.  For six long, hot years we have been living in the desert.  If I wanted to see water I headed to the coasts.  When water comprises only 0.35% of the area within our state's boundaries, it never occurred to me to look closer at hand.  The pool in our backyard sufficed.

But Margo checked out Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park here in Tucson last week and invited me to join her on a circumnavigation.  She promised a smooth track and lots of water.  She was right on both counts.

Do you see the fish on the welcome sign?  
This lake is stocked every other week with  channel catfish ....delivered all the way from fish farms in Arkansas, rainbow trout ...grown and delivered from sources in Colorado, and sunfish ....from farms in Arkansas, according to the Urban Fishing Fact Sheet

Who knew? Apparently these folks did.
I know.  I know.  This photograph does not look like Arizona to me, either.
I spent an hour circling the lake and saying "Where are we???"
Our trek began with these Mexican Fan Palms.... somewhat like the ones in my yard, but 10 times taller.  There's no need for irrigation; the roots steal nourishment from their watery neighbor.
The fisherman under the palms glanced over his shoulder at us and then returned to contemplating the water's surface.  I'm not sure what he hoped to find.
This fellow was more enthusiastic.  He actually stood up to cast his line. 
The trees all clustered around the shoreline.
They know where their bread is buttered, so to speak.
The water was blue and green and clear enough for us to see the fish carcasses which had been returned from whence they came.  I'm not sure what the thinking was behind tossing dead fish into the lake, but it was certainly a better solution than this one
I spent some time wondering why the javelinas and the coyotes and the bobcats were uninterested in this already harvested source of nutrition, before I was distracted by the ducks.
Ducks in the desert? 
Yes, indeed.
This picture could have been taken on Long Island.
There were honking swans in the middle of the lake, but they refused to cooperate.
Every time I focused, they turned and swam the other way.
Plus, the noise was annoying.
So much for Arizona swans.
Along with the empty soda cans and snack food bags, there were more permanent markers of human habitation.
But mostly there was peacefulness....
and shade
and all that water.

How nice to know (now) that this exists just down the road.


  1. WOW! That's beautiful and you never knew this treasure was so close. And you are right, this doesn't look like what I would expect in Arizona. Nonetheless, it's amazing.

    I'm dismayed that people would be so careless and leave their trash. A rare place like this should be cherished. Hopefully someone fishing, didn't leave that fish to die on the coast.

    Thanks for sharing this treasure with us too. BEAUTIFUL! :)

    Megan xxx

  2. That's AWeSoMe! We are big fans of the URBaN RiPaRiaN PoNDs up here in the PHoeNiX area. When they stock them for trout in the winter months, my son really enjoys casting his line (okay, I'll admit I do as well). It makes for a nice relaxing nature experience that we enjoy year after year! I'll bet there are some GEOCACHES at that park! Also a fun FaMiLy activity that we enjoy.


    Glad to see you are getting out...NaTuRe itself is so therapeutic! Great pics too....as always, thanks for sharing! <3

  3. I'm still reeling from the oddness of it all, T'Mom and Megan. Didn't think to bring the GPS and look for geocaches..... I used to do that in Marin and loved finding the treasures... and leaving my Magic:The Gathering Grateful Dead-like card as an "I was here" note.

    Nature is therapeutic - I'm out to enjoy some more today!

  4. Should you find yourself out on the east side (far east!) you should check out the Agua Caliente Park.


    It's a park with a permanent spring. Flat walking around the lake, and it's just beautiful. It used to be part of a cattle ranch, developers almost got it, but Ray Drachman stepped forward with money and saved it. It is an absolute jewel of a park.

  5. I knew about Agua Caliente, Allison, and you are right - it is "an absolute jewel". It's also a looooong drive from the northwest side to the much lusher shores of Agua Caliente and its ducks and picnic tables and shade.

    You are right - it's "far east"!


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