This “bucket list” project we’re working on has given me a neat opportunity to ask other people the big question: “What’s on your bucket list when it comes to experiencing Arizona’s amazing wildlife?”
One thing I’ve learned is, people tend to call on memory rather than dream—to tell me what they’ve done, rather than what they want to do. Some creative folks blend the two, describing what they’ve done in the past that they’d like to do again.
I’ve asked this question of some fascinating people, longtime or even lifelong Arizonans who have made a career in the outdoors: biologists, wildlife managers, naturalists, sportsmen, educators. So I’ve been privileged to hear some fascinating answers:
- “Stand on the Navajo walking bridge at Marble Canyon in the spring as the California condors fly overhead, so close you can hear their feathers flutter in the wind.”
- “Watch a rattlesnake combat dance.”
- “Listen to the deep-throated, challenging bugle of a bull elk across the forest as a full moon rises over Escudilla Mountain in eastern Arizona.”
- “Watch a tom turkey strut through an old-growth ponderosa stand in the early morning and walk through rays of sunlight coming through the canopy, like an actor on a stage.”
- “Catch a native trout on a fly in its native habitat, and let it go.”
- “Watch a herd of mule deer feeding as they move through a snow-covered stand of cliffrose, on a very cold morning in White Pockets (this area was a victim of the Bridger-Knoll Fire in ’96).”
If that list doesn’t make you want to lace up your boots and get outside, I don’t know what will! Hearing these stories and so many more has been very inspiring to me, and I hope it will inspire readers of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine, too, somewhere down the line.
What about you? What’s on your Arizona wildlife bucket list?