The Sandhill Cranes of Whitewater Draw
& Bisbee, Arizona
January 5th-6th, 2020 Sunday-Monday
$349 (Per Person, Based Upon Double Room Occupancy)
Day One: We’ll leave the Valley with a stop for coffee and goodies on our way to Tombstone—the Town Too Tough to Die. We’ll walk the same blood-soaked boardwalks as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Clanton Brothers in this authentic old west town, home to Boothill Graveyard, the Birdcage Theatre and the O.K. Corral. Now a tourist hotspot, Tombstone is home to a number of saloons and restaurants, where we’ll enjoy lunch on self. Back on the bus, we’ll continue south to Sierra Vista, where we’ll check into the newly remodeled Holiday Inn Express. After a refresh, we’ll all head out to enjoy a lovely three-course chicken dinner and a glass of red or white wine, at Tandem Upscale Dining & Lounge, Sierra Vista’s swankiest restaurant, and it’s all included. After dinner, it’s back to the hotel, knowing that we’ll be looking at a 5:00 a.m. wake-up on Day Two!
Day Two: We’ll hit the road by 6 a.m. headed for Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, one of the best places to view sandhill cranes, with an estimated winter population of over 30,000. The Draw is in the Sulphur Springs Valley, a Chihuahuan desert grassland habitat, surrounded by Arizona’s sky islands. The sandhill cranes spend the night standing in Whitewater Draw’s shallow waters to evade predators, and then fly out each morning at the crack of dawn, to feed and socialize in the surrounding area. With an impressive wingspan of 6 to 7 feet, the early morning mass ascension of the sandhill cranes is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is no visitor’s center at the Draw, but there are restrooms, and we’ll be serving plenty of hot coffee along with a continental breakfast. In addition to sandhill cranes, the waters of Whitewater Draw attract many kinds of ducks, geese, herons, egrets, shorebirds, gulls and terns. We’ll also keep our eyes open for mammals using these grasslands as a source of food, water and shelter. Mammals seen here include mule deer, javelina, coyote, bobcat, desert cottontail and black-tailed jackrabbit. Formerly a cattle ranch, Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area was purchased in 1997 and is now managed to enhance wetland habitats and provide waterfowl habitat, and wildlife viewing. Later we’ll head back to our hotel for a quick refresh, then it’s bags out and we’re back on the bus headed for historic Bisbee, one of the greatest copper camps the world has ever known. First stop—the Queen Mine! Outfitted in a hard hat, miner’s lamp and a yellow slicker, we’ll journey 1,500 feet underground, led by retired Phelps Dodge employees, who will regale us with tales of life in the mines—a life filled with danger and drama. Later we’ll explore this beautiful living ghost town, full of art galleries, coffee shops and antique stores. Bisbee is also home to many wonderful little restaurants, and we’ll enjoy lunch on self. Back on the bus, we’ll visit some of Bisbee’s most notable sites, before heading home through the beautiful rolling grasslands of Southern Arizona. This is a fantastic tour, and we hope you’ll join us!