Miami High School at Gila River Canyons Passage

On February 13, 2019, 10 students from Miami High School explored a nearby section of the Arizona National Scenic Trail to hike and to enjoy some nature. This is the second time we made the long drive from Tucson to Miami/Globe, leaving our home base while it was still dark. It’s all worth it, though!

As we started hiking up the wash, I began counting how many different wildflowers I saw. Encouraged, the students would call me over anytime they saw a new wildflower to have me identify it and add it to our list. We saw over 30 species of blooming flowers on our hike, and we’re sure there were others that we didn’t see.

The trail quickly picked up in steepness and elevation and we weaved back and forth up the hillside to a big saddle. From this saddle was the perfect vista view and rest stop. To be honest, the hike was a lot steeper than I expected! Later, I calculated the elevation change per mile and realized this was a pretty big commitment for the kids. You could tell that we were all struggling with the elevation gain toward the end of the hike, but we all pushed through. In fact, the students agreed that although the hike was hard, they felt proud of themselves for completing it and it didn’t seem so bad after we had finished.  

 It is apparent that this group of kids is going to be the next generation of conservationists in Arizona. They have such a great practical knowledge of their surrounding lands and how it’s used in multiple ways to support human industry and outdoor recreation. It is exciting to see youth get interested and hopefully involved in conservation associations!