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If you’re interested in learning the names of the myriad wildflowers that bloom along Arizona trails each spring,
Patrick Fuchs of Phoenix is your go-to guy. The Iowa-born, Arizona-raised hiker and avid photographer hits the trails almost daily in search of colorful plant and animal sightings to share in the Arizona Hiking Facebook group he helps administer. Armed with a copy of Plants of Arizona by Anne Epple, Fuchs researches each bloom then posts photos with plant names and where he found them in Phoenix-area preserves. “I love to see the poppy blooms in the spring,” he says. “They really paint the desert yellow and gold. I truly love the Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake. It’s just outside of Mesa and has water, wildlife, wildflowers and all sorts of views.”
A confessed foodie with a restaurant job he loves, Fuchs – who says he got hooked on wildflower hunting after a spring sighting of a colorful pincushion cactus – spends as much time as possible outdoors when not in the kitchen. “Hiking seems to bring together my passions into one neat package. Exercise, sunshine, wildlife, wildflowers and social experiences with others.”
— Mare Czinar
IF YOU GO: Butcher Jones Trail
LENGTH: 5 miles roundtrip
ELEVATION: 1529’ – 1600’
FEE: A Tonto Pass is required. $6 daily fee per vehicle.
GETTING THERE: From Mesa, go 27 miles north on SR87 (Beeline Highway) to exit 199, Bush Highway (FR204). Turn right and continue 2 miles to the signed turnoff for Butcher Jones Recreation Area. Follow the access road (FR116) 2 miles to the site. Trail begins at far east end of the beach.
INFO: Tonto National Forest (www.fs.usda.gov)
Next month: From fir-fleeced mountain peaks to open grasslands where antelope play, a Prescott local shares Mile-High City hiking secrets.
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