Visit Bridal Wreath Falls at Saguaro National Park East!

Life has been moving so fast while being a butterfly intern at Saguaro National Park, but it has been so fun and productive. I’m really enjoying my time working in the hot Sonoran Desert.

A typical day starts at 6 am, meeting at resources while we gather supplies such as a GPS, a kestrel for taking weather data, walkie talkies, batteries, and any other equipment we need for the specific survey. Then, we hike out in the field for most of the day, and input data at the end of the day, if time permits. Being about a month into the internship, we are wrapping up basic surveys, and we will be starting to repeat surveys to collect more data on specific trails. I have also had time to pick my favorite survey route! Last week we hiked to Bridal Wreath Falls and Ernie’s Falls. It was a very challenging hike, because it was fairly long and there was a lot of elevation gain, but the view was so worth it. Getting to Bridal Wreath was one of the best parts of the day. It’s basically a small nook with a fair amount of shade lots of green trees, and it looked as if it was supposed to be a waterfall. Since this monsoon season has been exceptionally dry in Tucson, Arizona, we haven’t encountered much water, but I was able to picture how magnificent Bridal Wreath Falls would have looked if there was running water in it. Another highlight of that day was also a frightening moment. I was leading the group to the next coordinate point, when all of the sudden we heard a loud rattling sound. I immediately jumped back and stayed still until we figured out where it was coming from. As it turns out, there was a rattlesnake about two feet to my left! We gave the snake some time to cool down, and we slowly proceeded on the trail, since there was no other way to get by. The snake seemed to like our slow, non-threatening behavior, so we were able to get a look at it before we continued to our next coordinate point. That was a scary moment, but it was so cool to see a rattlesnake, and we were lucky that it calmed down enough for us to get past it.

I highly encourage you to visit Bridal Wreath trail – just be cautious of wildlife! Since that day of hiking, we have visited other trails and have seen more and more species of butterflies. There are six families of butterflies, and we have seen at least one butterfly from each family! Everyday I wake up excited to go hiking, because it is a new and fun experience every time! I am having such a blast, and I can’t wait for what new adventures we encounter next!

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