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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jerome

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I did a little hike behind our camp to take this shot of Jerome, up the hillside to our southwest. Jerome is quite a little town with a very interesting history based on mining, tons of money, easy women and wild liquored nights. In fact, the namesake of the town never set foot on the place, but he and his investors became rich. During your research, see what connection this town had with WWII?

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After years of near collapse, the town is now a small haven for artists, shopkeepers and assorted other folks…seen here.

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You are not allowed to walk down there, but you get the idea. The place reminds me of Galena, IL., just steeper and more compact.

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I think you could throw anything over the railing and it would not be out of place.

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Most of the shops are up to the left. Highway 89 splits here.

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Looking north across the Verde Valley towards Sedona.

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That is a cement plant in the distance. Jerome is up the mountain side to the left. Closer in is Tuzigoot. An ancient (well 1100 A.D.) Native American pueblo. The climate was a LOT different back then!

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A better picture at max zoom.

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A view of our rig with the Verde river below (the green trees) and the town of Cottonwood. Jerome would be off to the right.

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A nice shot of one of several lagoons in the state park that Carla took on her walk. Lots of birds. It is strange seeing bodies of water in a high desert.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oak Creek Canyon

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Carla wanted to stretch her lungs out on this day, so she found a one mile hike to the top of the canyon that was strenuous. The hike was north of Sedona, up near the entrance (or end) of Oak Creek Canyon. After searching for a hint of where the trail was along the narrow, twisty road, we finally just parked at the entrance to a Forest Service campground. The map had the trail up the road a bit, so we walked about a quarter mile with no luck. So, back to the Jeep, and there was the trail, just across the road from the parking spot. Bad map…bad.

The trail did indeed start UP right at the beginning and never stopped going up. We eventually ran into some snow about 2/3rds to the top. Above is the view after the 800 foot climb.

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While getting back into the Jeep after the hike this Steller's  Jay allowed us to snap a picture.

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On the way back to Cottonwood, we zoomed up to the airport, which is located on a high plateau in town. Quite a view.

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Sedona has an estimated population of 11,000. I think that many vehicles drive through the town a day, of not more.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Devil’s Bridge

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Deb, Carla and I drove down a very bumpy forest service road to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead on a gorgeous day. We were surprised at the standard cars on this dirt road, more surprised that oil wasn’t splattered all over the road too. We are so happy that we drive a Jeep, and are able to go down these types of roads.  The picture was taken on the climb along the trail.

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Here’s Devil’s Bridge, or a 130 foot high arch.

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A broader view…

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Three amigos…

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Another view from the trail…looking northward. There is a golf course in this picture…

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After Devil’s Bridge, we bumped down to the end of the road. We then took off up the Dry Creek trail, which takes you up along a stream into a small canyon. Just so happens, the stream was not dry, which made for just perfect hiking in the pines listening to gurgling water.

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A curve. The red stone wall was about 90 feet high.

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Tracks in the sand…I don’t believe these are a dog. Probably a bobcat? Too small for a mountain lion?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Llama Trail

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After a day of housekeeping, washing clothes, and checking out a good local eatery, we were ready for a hike. Cottonwood is only about 20 miles south of Sedona, land of red rocks, great views, and spiritual vortices.

For parking anywhere around Sedona at the trailheads, small parking areas, etc., you need a permit. Five dollars a day or fifteen a week. We opted for the week permit and set out for the Llama trail, midway between the village of Oak Creek and Sedona on Highway 179.

The Sedona area has a little bit of everything for the outdoor enthusiast, especially hikers and mountain bikers. But, there is a crush of people, hence the trails are well used. This trail was advertised as a five mile easy to moderate loop with decent views. Carla took the pic above of the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

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As we continued on our hike we noticed several bell shaped formations…

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and buttes, this one is called Courthouse Butte.

IMG_0256 Here, an intrepid hiker ogles the landscape.

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Simply beautiful.

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The return portion of the trail took us by the highway leading to Sedona and our parking spot after an easy hike.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

North…

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The evening of the 24th was our last day at Lake Pleasant before moving north out of the Phoenix basin…and to higher elevations.  So we invited our friends (Jim,Gayle, and Deb) who were camped at a nearby park over to the outdoor restaurant at the marina for some camaraderie. It was a bit chilly and the onion rings were great.

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On the 25th we drove north on Interstate 17 to Dead Horse Ranch State Park on the outskirts of Cottonwood, AZ. It was an up and over trip, climbing to nearly 7000 feet before lowering back to near 3000 feet. The interstate descent was long and relatively steep, but we made it handily with judicious use of the breaks.  The park is on the northwest side of town along and above the Verde River, which supports quite a number of large cottonwood trees. Hence the town name. The park used to be a family ranch. The story is that the family were looking at ranches in the area. Upon reaching this one, a dead horse was lying in the road. After looking at other ranches, the father finally asked the kids which ranched they liked the best, and they all said, the one with the dead horse. So, the name stuck and was part of the deal when the state took it over.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pipeline Canyon

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Today was a hike day. Unfortunately, there is only hike in the park, through Pipeline Canyon, four miles round trip. Luckily this hike took us through some nice wildflower stands. Those yellow flowers are California poppies. I noticed that they curl up at night and open during the day. It was cloudy from several overnight showers, and many flowers had not opened by 10 AM. That’s all I know about the flowers…

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We crossed a rather deep inlet on this floating bridge. A very expensive floating bridge I might add. You can see out into the lake toward the east.

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A close up of flowers, I think there is a lupine in there.

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The park and surrounding BLM land have wild burros. We just happened down a gravel road at the right time. They are such an exciting animal…

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Just north of the park, the roads turn to gravel and then to river rock. This is why. It was very evident that a flash flood had occurred while driving in the riverbed from the heavy rains of January.

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Lastly, this is a shot of our rig and campsite. Chaence, our eldest grandson is a big fisherman, so I bet he is jealous of this.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

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Maricopa County has several nice parks around the outskirts of Phoenix, and this is another. Its more for boaters and fishermen, but they have camping as well. Our site was right next to the water along a small inlet. The lake is at its highest level now. That inlet will be dry by mid-summer. We were surprised when we discovered that we had high speed internet, especially since we are in a mini-canyon.

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Carla snapped this nice looking Blue Heron next to the water’s edge at our campsite. The sites have a mini-ramada, very nice tables, fire pit and grill. We hardly ever use that stuff, except for the tables. As long as we have some sunshine, water and propane on board, we are set. When we arrived, it was crowded and noisy. The spring break crowd had not left, but by evening; it was back to normal, i.e., no neighbors.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ford Canyon

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Another hike, another canyon. The flowers were blooming a bit more along the hike in this canyon as compared to yesterday. This location is just before entering the main canyon itself. It was an interesting hike, considering we had to contend with an organized trail running event. We saw plenty of crazy males and females running the trail for 25 and 50 kilometers. We encouraged each passerby, but it is still madness!

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Plenty of ankle breaking opportunities, and this was a relatively mild portion of the trail!

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This trail had easy access to white tanks. It was obvious that a flash flood had occurred here recently.

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In amongst the rocks…getting a sunburn.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mesquite Canyon

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A view of Phoenix metro to the east after a 45 minute climb. We hiked up Mesquite Canyon for about a five mile round trip adventure. As you can see in the picture, a nice incline to move higher.

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Here are some of those white tanks

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A closer shot…

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Cholla beginning to bloom.

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And of course, more flowers…

Thursday, March 18, 2010

White Tank Regional Park

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We left Parker, AZ today and traveled to White Tank Regional Park on the western outskirts of Surprise and Glendale, AZ. The Cardinals stadium is to our east as is Luke AFB. The campground is dry camping only with about 36 sites. Since it is still spring break, there are families camping as well. Spacing is good as are the showers.

The park is named after natural water collection basins which are called tanks. Carla took the picture above of a small waterfall, which I understand is normally dry, but not this year. This was after about a mile hike.

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The picture taker herself, nice hat!

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Petroglyphs along the way.

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Flowers…

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The rear portion of our campsite, looking toward Phoenix.