Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Sandhill Cranes Trip
Willcox
January 28-30, 2022
•  The Trip:
    We will be doing the Sandhill cranes viewing in the morning and evening when they roost in the Willcox area. They are big and very spectacular birds. The flock size can be 10 to 1,000. Yes, the 1,000 is not a miss type. They may be doing some of their mating dance, but that mostly occurs after they have left Willcox. During the day we will be hiking in the Tucson and Willcox area. There are other birds in the area, but will plan around the Sandhills. The cranes may be up to 5 feet tall with wingspans of 7 feet. About 40,000 cranes winter in the Willcox area.
    The first day (Friday) is the drive to Willcox. We will stop at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson for a small hike on the way to Willcox. That evening we will go to one of their flocking areas and see if they are there. Due to the size of the museum, we will only do a small part of it.
    Get to Willcox in the afternoon and check out the cranes There are also other birds in the area.
    Second day (Saturday) We view the Sandhill’s in the morning before breakfast. We have to be there a little after the sun rises. Bring coat, gloves because it will be cold. The cranes will be less than 100 feet from us, so you need an ok lens on your camera. We then return to the hotel for breakfast. The cranes leave for their feeding areas after the sun gets up (about 7:30 AM) and the feeding areas are random. After breakfast do a 4 mile hike at Ft Bowie. Then go to Bisbee for an afternoon hike, with maybe a stop in Douglas. Return to Willcox before dark to view the cranes.
    Third day (Sunday) Do final viewing of the cranes and return to Phoenix,
    For lunch, we will eat at whatever place is close to us at that time. All dinners will be in Willcox.

Required:
•  Water: 1 liter when hiking, have more in car to refill for next hike
•  Boots, warm shoes. Ft Bowie only has rocks if we do the high ridge.
•  Long pants
•  Jacket
•  Gloves
Recommended:
•  Camera
•  Hiking stick

Cost: Motel, gas, and food. The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5/non-member.
Best Time of Year: January through early February.
Normal daytime is in the low 60s. Night’s low 30s.
Hotel / Motel Accommodations: I am in the Days Inn. Please check the listing below for accommodations in the Willcox area. In your email to me, please state which hotel you plan to stay in and if you want a roommate. I will assume that you have booked the hotel and can add the roommate later.

SureStay Plus Best Western
Wilcox Inn
Days Inn
Holiday Inn Express
Super 8 Motel
Triangle T Guest Ranch
plus others

Weather conditions: Willcox  Normal daytime is low 60s. Normal nighttime is low 30s.
Meet: 8:00 AM on Friday morning in the parking lot near Einstein Brothers Bagel Shop on the SE corner of 48th Street and Ray Road, just west of I-10. For those of you leaving at different times, please let me know when you are leaving, so I will know when to expect you. No cars may be left at Einstein Brothers.
Drive: From Phoenix, take Interstate-10 east to Tucson.
Get off on the south side at Valencia Rd.
Pima Space Museum, 6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, Az 85756. It is just north of the freeway.
Get off at the Willcox exit (#340, 2nd exit) and go to your hotel.
It is about 240 miles from Phoenix to Wilcox.
We will meet at McDonald’s about 1 hour before sunset.
Trip Leader:
If you would like to go, please email me.
Also, if you would prefer to hike some locations, please include them.

updated December 19, 2021