Sixteen hikers from the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club strolled along 5.2 miles of well-developed trails in the Maeveen Behan Desert Sanctuary, a part of the Arthur Pack Regional Park west of Thornydale Road. Their efforts proved how much fun it is to discover and explore an easy hiking trail where one can view many desert species—most especially saguaros in their many shapes and sizes.
Maeveen Behan, for whom the sanctuary was named, was instrumental in bringing together local groups to establish the Desert Conservation Coalition. Along with saguaros and other desert plants, the ironwood tree grows prolifically here and is highlighted on an interpretive sign.
Birder Jerry McAllister helped the group identify several bird species, including the Phainopepla, the Gila Woodpecker, the Costa Hummingbird, and a Harris Hawk. The Harris Hawk posed for several minutes on a tall saguaro for all to admire him. Jerry informed the hikers about the cooperative way that Harris Hawks help each other capture rabbits.
The hiking group members concurred that the Arthur Pack Loop is a great hiking trail for newcomers to the Sonoran Desert. The trail is flat except for some wash crossings. Views of the Tucson Mountains, including Sombrero and Panther Peak, loom nearby. Guides for this outing were Francois Brault and Elisabeth Wheeler.