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.
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.