Earlier this week we took a trip out to the wildlife viewing area on Willcox Playa. Willcox Playa is a huge expanse in Sulphur Springs Valley, aeons ago it was once a huge lake, Cochise Lake, and indigenous peoples lived on its shores.
Today Sandhill Cranes winter here and ‘Wings over Willcox’ is a famous festival held each January to celebrate these huge graceful birds.
We took 186 South out of Willcox and then turned right onto the Kansas Settlement Road and after about 3 miles we came to the parking area for the wildlife viewing area on the right.
It’s a non motorised area, so we walked the 2.4 mile round trip trail to the lake. The sign said that they couldn’t guarantee that we would see cranes and quite honestly as it was the middle of the day we hoped rather than expected that we might see a couple.
The trail led through some trees and then out onto the vast area of open playa.
Parts of the playa were at one time used as a bombing range and there is unexploded ordinance in places, so it’s not somewhere to venture off track. We followed the blue signs and eventually arrived at the viewing area.
If you look very carefully you can just about see a thin blue line this is the closest you can get to the lake, no wonder they recommend bringing binoculars!
This was our best view of the lake.
Needless to say we couldn’t see any sign of the sandhill cranes, hardly surprising as probably the best time to see them is dusk or dawn. I suppose we could get up extra early and drive the 60 odd miles to the playa to see them, but…………………….
We stayed for a while then followed the trail back to the truck.
Have fun, we are!