Javalina, White Nosed Coati, RoadRunner, and Superbowl

It was another sunny day here in Rodeo and I decided to take a drive into Cave Creek Canyon and perhaps take a hike. There are so many trails in this gorgeous region, that one could spend months exploring. I started for the Ranger Station but when I saw the sign for Paradise, I thought I'd take a drive to see what it had to offer. I had heard that there was abundant wildlife in the area of Paradise and I had the camera ready. The sign indicated that it was just 5 miles off the main paved road so I started off. The road quickly turned to dirt, then gravel, and was a one lane steep incline with switchbacks. Today was the day to try out the 4 wheel drive option on my truck! I wound my way up through the mountainous terrain and stopped at the Paradise Cemetary, one mile from town. It was a peaceful place and I snapped some photos as I wandered through the gravestones imagining the lives of the people buried there. One must be a very hearty soul to live in this region. It's isolated and the desert is a harsh environment but I can see the appeal.

While I was photographing at the cemetery, another photographer joined me and I recognized him from Rusty's RV Ranch. His name was Jim and he was hunting quail with his camera. He used to work for the forestry department and knew this region well. We met up again just outside Paradise and he was gracious enough to act as my guide through this small remote region. We encountered a group of javelina (known as a squadron!) and followed them into Paradise. The town consists of about 4-5 rustic houses perched together in a small stretch of this dirt road tucked into the canyon. You've got to be a very adventurous sort to live here! One gentleman and his wife who had just moved into this settlement invited us to photograph the white-nosed coati (also known as the coatimundi) hanging out in his backyard. He led us through the gated fence surrounding his house and sure enough, here was this beauty who roamed around on the ground and then scampered into the trees with the agility of a squirrel! She was hunting the abundant birds in the surrounding trees.

After we left the Coati, we got a good shot at the javelina who were feeding in the nearby ravine. There were several adults, some teenagers, and two small babies. What an opportunity to view them up close and personal!

On the way down the mountain, I saw this doe hiding in the woods.

Once back at the campground, I started to process these pictures and noticed a bird outside my window. It turned out to be this beautiful roadrunner! I snuck out to the truck and retrieved my camera to capture these photos.

What a day for wildlife! I got back in time to join the fun watching the big game at the clubhouse with the other residents. There was, of course, plenty of food and lots of fun. It's too bad the Patriots didn't pull off the win, but my day in the mountains more than made up for it!