Saturday, October 10, 2020

Northern Arizona

Taking our time


Spending 5 of past  the past 6 winters in Arizona for work, we would make a brief stop in Flagstaff. With no reason to rush to Mesa and  record heat, we booked three night at the Flagstaff KOA. Hiking the Fatmans Loop Trail from the campground was a delight with plenty of rock formations and views.

 We had spent so much time away from cities, I was ready for Pita Jungle carry out.
It was quite tasty but Mike is such a good cook and it is nice to sit outside and enjoy our meals at home like in the "olden days"..

Sheri Basey thought this might be Fatman's mask.

As we were finishing our hike, it seemed that everyone in Flagstaff were hitting the trail and the parking area was packed.

Lake Mary

Lake Mary Road is the go to place for Flagstaff cyclists and little traffic. There are three campgrounds on the way to Lake Mary and we chose USFS Pine Grove Campground 17 miles from Flagstaff. We weren't sure what kind of place we would find but the road and sites were paved. There was water available and no hookups. Our hope was for trees to keep us cool. It is Arizona after all.

Next time, we will stay here longer than 3 nights to enjoy the local trails and ride a few more miles.

Lower Lake Mary was a small puddle since the drought is severe and campgrounds very dusty . The next campground was for small tents and trailers. But Pine Grove was just right. Plenty of shade from the towering pines and lots of space. USFS are a great deal on the pocketbook too.
The short time we spent on the Arizona Trail was quite appealing to the eye and feet. It ran by the campground.
We also hiked Sandys Canyon Trail and the Arizona Trail which was not difficult until it was time to climb out of the canyon as it was warming up.

Cottonwood, AZ

Arizona has such nice state park campgrounds. Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood is a treasure. We even scored trees on both sides of us! 

The story of the park's name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.

After spending so much time in small remote towns where groceries are expensive and limited, we got giddy over the Fred Meyers.
Once the sun went down, we headed outside for the evening. But as it got dark, the skunks would come out. Our neighbors would call out "skunk coming through". One couple was so upset by the skunks that they left after one night.
Old Town Cottonwood is recognized in the USA’s National Register of Historic Places. On Main Street, there are buildings that originate from the era of “Prohibition,” and are put to good use today with plenty of wineries and artists in this area.

I had my eyes peeled for rattlesnakes on this trail but didn't see one. Shew!

We found Sycamore Canyon Road a treat to ride on but had to get out early and home by 10 am before it started heating up. Tuzigoot National Monument has pueblo ruins and petroglyphs we enjoyed exploring.

Jerome, AZ

The historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona, once known as the wickedest town in the west, was born a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents into a roaring mining community. 
Holly's House of Joy was even closed. It was morning after all.

Jerome was at one time the fourth largest city in Arizona in the 1920’s and looked like a real ghost town when we arrived. Once a thriving mining camp full of miners, bootleggers, gamblers, and prostitutes, now a bustling tourist destination full of artists, musicians, and gift shop proprietors.
Or so they say. Not one business was open on a Saturday morning.

We had visited the state park of mining in Jerome previously and Clarkdale has a great Copper Mining Museum right in town.

Jerome Taxi One Way with a skeleton driver.

Hoping it is cooling down in the valley.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Hiking the Rim

We were glad to have new batteries for the heat on the cold nights at an elevation near 9000 feet. Our last night was 32 F. It would have been warmer 30 miles away at Jacobs Lake with internet. But we liked being closer to the Grand Canyon much better.
First we headed to Bright Angel Point which is the most popular viewpoint at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, since the other overlooks need quite a few more miles of driving to reach and the Cape Royal Road was closed. A 0.4 mile path leads to the viewing area, starting behind Grand Canyon Lodge in front of the large North Rim parking area,  Although paved, the trail is quite steep in a few places, causing some of those unaccustomed to hiking, especially at this high elevation (8,100 feet), to get out of breath.

Even though the temps were cool, the sun was very warm.

After all of the ooooing and ahhhing while walking along the rime trail, we headed over to the Widforss Trailhead.

Like most footpaths on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the 5 mile Widforss Trail runs across the plateau passing close to the side of a deep, red-walled ravine (The Transept) for the first half then turning away through the forest before emerging into the open near Widforss Point.

Very few people and lots of views to take in.
The cabins were open overlooking the rim even though the campground never opened this summer. 

We squeezed a ride from the campground to the entrance to the Park one evening. 

A three year drought has dampened the changing of the leaves in Southern Utah. They were drying and turning brown before falling to the ground. We enjoyed the fall colors once we hit Arizona.

Cuenca, Ecuador

An Expat Destination The morning after returning to Quito we boarded an hour-long flight to Cuenca. Driving up the winding roads would have ...