We have an insane calling to be where we aren't

Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oak Creek Valley

Up in the valley

Not ready to return to the heat of the city, we were able to book some days at the Cave Springs a USFS campground north of Sedona along Oak Creek for the week. Sedona is a
beautiful but congested area even during the week.  Once through town, the traffic really did not improve as the road narrowed and became more winding.
Of course, a picture of Bell Rock is required as we enter the canyon from the south. The north route has hairpin turns and steep ledges from the south is the way to go for us.

View from our campsite
 The temperatures were 10 degrees cooler in the canyon. Sedona was also experiencing higher than normal temps. The leaves were at their peak fall colors. Nothing to compare to New England but very nice for Arizona. It was good to hear the crunch of the fallen leaves as we walked along the cliffs.

  West Oak Creek Trail is said to be one of the most visited trails in Arizona. As we drove by the trailhead, the parking lot was full and cars were parked along both sides of the road for 1/4 of a mile. The gate opens at 8am and the cost is $10 a car. The next morning we happened to be up early and decided check out the trail. A camp host had mentioned that there were three parking spots outside of the gate that allowed access before the gates opened. We arrived at 7:15, got the third parking spot and paid our $10 to hike.

Approximately 11 miles from Uptown, the West Fork Trail parking lot is on the left. There’s a Call of the Canyon sign post evoking memories of Zane Grey’s famous western of the same name and the time of a different era. Grey is said to have written the novel in one of the historic cabins that eventually evolved into the Mayhew Oak Creek Lodge and the 1923 movie was filmed here.

 The  fall leaves were past peak but still quite nice. The trail is an 6 mile round trip of rolling hills along the creek. The temps were in the low 50s as we started out with only an occasional person on the trail. As we were returning, the closer to the end we got, the more people we came across. On our return, we met a very nice couple from North Carolina that walked with us and had a nice to visit that made the miles pass quickly. Hi Jim and Susan!
The trail is three fairly flat miles one way with 13 creek crossings.

Most of the pictures were taken pointing up at the walls of the canyon.

Most of the pictures were taken pointing up at the walls of the canyon.

 I am not sure if we would hike this trail again with so many trails to choose but were glad to spend a morning in the canyon. It was good to sit in our recliners after the hike and read as the wind blew leaves from the trees. We would wake after dozing off and be covered with leaves. You have to admit, a good book and a nap after a hike is just a great day.

We were dry camping this week, using our solar panels, which are not very big, to keep our batteries charged. It worked great in Prescott since we had sunshine all day. In Oak Valley, the sun was not shining on our site until after 9 am and down by 4 pm in a very shaded spot also. We woke one morning to the sound of our furnace sounding funky and realized the batteries were dying. Using the truck for a charge, we managed to get the slide in. Mike used a ratchet to lift the hitch so we could load up and return to Mesa a day early. It would have been good to stay one more day. With temps in the 30s at night, our charge probably wouldn't make it until midnight. Yes, I am a wimp and like at least a few amenities like electricity and heat.

After a month in one place, it was good to get away for a week in some places we haven't visited before.  We are enjoying our friends and new acquaintances at Val Vista Resort and think it is a pretty good place to stay for a while.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

This is one great Slot Canyon

With a sunrise like this, how could it not be a good day?
We stayed at the Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Cochiti near the Cochiti Pueblo which had electric and water hookups. Many people stay in Santa Fe and make a day trip to both Tent Rocks and Bandelier National Park. Lake Cochiti was just a couple of miles down the road from Tent Rocks making an early start much easier.
Arriving at the monument at 7am as they opened and the sun rising gave us the entire place to ourselves until we were leaving. We took the Cave Trail to the Slot Canyon Trail which is a 1.5  trek through the slot that finished with a 630 foot climb to the mesa top. The views were breathtaking. It was a nice 4.2 mile hike before things started heating up and the wind started blowing once again. This is one of our favorite slot canyon hikes so far.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks was designated a national monument for protection of these unique geological landscapes. It is know for its light colored, cone shaped formations that are the results of  eruptions from the Jemez volcanic field. It is located 35 miles south of Santa Fe and 52 miles north of Albuquerque.
Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

The Park's care is shared between the BLM and Cochiti Pueblo.

It was difficult to chose which pictures to use so sit back and check it out. Or you can bypass it all together but why not just peruse the views. It was 1.5 miles long.

I should have brought those knee pads along.

Mike cleared the canyon for me.

We could see the sun rising above us as we walked through the canyon.

We made it to he top.
The Veterans' Memorial Scenic overlook was a 1 mile loop 3.5 miles down a rough road. It had the same views that we had at the top of the mesa. We decided against the drive.

I don't believe I have ever said "WOW" more on any hike before this one. Even with the whitish color of this desert instead of the usual red rocks we are used to, every corner brought a new eyeful.

It has been fun visiting some of the lesser known and visited National Parks and Monuments. We know how fortunate to be able to wander around learning so many things and seeing new places.
It has been fun visiting some of the lesser known and visited National Parks and Monuments.
There is so much more to see in this Jemez area when we return including a waterfall, hot springs and hikes.
We are staying put for a while will not be blogging much. I don't think anyone wants to hear about our visits to the grocery store. I am returning to the hospital in Mesa, AZ one or two days a week for the next few months. I thought I was ready to retire totally a year ago but found Banner Health had a great program for nurses to return for the winter season and leave for six months in the summer.

Mike will be working as a work camper starting in January for 3 months delivering beer, wine and food to the different resorts. 
We are in a condo while our trailer gets some maintenance done on it. This place is huge and echoes when we talk but much smaller than the house we used to own. I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. 
It has been fun to hear from our followers along the way and brightens our days. We aren't done yet (we hope), just taking a breather. I am sure the itch will hit again sooner rather than later.