Desert beauty turns on night light during full-moon hikes - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Desert beauty turns on night light during full-moon hikes

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Posted: Friday, March 5, 2004 9:45 am | Updated: 6:10 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The last time Johnathan Blyer led a full-moon hike, participants were treated to a kit fox and black-tailed rabbit sighting.

"We heard coyotes," Blyer said. But the desert dogs avoided human encounter, as is the preference of both species.

Blyer, interpretative ranger at Usery Mountain Regional Park, has been leading fullmoon treks for years and is always amazed at the beauty of the desert at night.

"The moon does a great job of illuminating the trail and then, off to the side, there is the shadow of the giant saguaros," Blyer said. "Sometimes we even see a great horned owl."

The 2 1 /2-mile walk on Cat’s Peak Trail is rated "easy," but participants should wear closed-toe shoes and bring water and a light jacket. Those interested in sitting around the campfire afterward should bring folding chairs and refreshments. Marshmallows and toasting sticks are an excellent choice.

Another full-moon hike is planned on a three-mile trail at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, four miles north of Fountain Hills on McDowell Mountain Road.

Full moon hikes

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Usery Mountain Regional Park, 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa Cost: $5 per car Information: (480) 984-0032

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday Where: McDowell Mountain Regional Park, four miles north of Fountain Hills on McDowell Mountain Road Cost: $5 per car Information: (480) 471-0173

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