Monday, November 21, 2011

out and about in Arizona

Arizona is a truly beautiful state, with lots of variety in climate and scenery, mountains and forests in the north, desert and rocky mesas in the lower half of the state.
We took a day trip up to the Grand Canyon, trip # 5 for me and # 2 for Fred.  No matter how many times you go to the Grand Canyon it is unique.  The light, the reflections on rocks, the air are always different.  It is incredible and not something to miss.  We started our visit at the Watchtower.
http://www.scienceviews.com/parks/watchtower.html




art work inside the WatchTower


effect of winds on tree

big guy we saw near ranger residence. what is he doing on the lawn? anything he wants!
Next day it was snowing in the canyon.

Some other sight seeing in the local area where we are - Tuzigoot National Monument.  This is a site just 15 mins away, consisting of stone rooms built on top of a hill.  The location gave the families living here great views of the surrounding area.  There was lots of hunting, gathering and water from the Verde River near by.  You can walk around the dwellings and get an idea of what it was like to live here. The museum has lots of artifacts found in this compound.  When you see this location on Google map, it says it is next to Pecks Lake.  It is now just a dry expanse next to the ruins.

http://www.nps.gov/tuzi/index.htm

view of Pecks Lake




Another local site we visited, which is well worth seeing is Montezumas Castle.  This is cliff dwellings.  Until the late 1950s, visitors were allowed to climb up into the dwellings.  That was stopped due to the highway being built and bringing too many wanting to climb up to see what they could see.  It is a fascinating site to visit.

http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm

http://phoenix.about.com/cs/daytrips/a/montezuma01.htm

It was now time to get in a bit more baseball and some warmer weather.  So, we went down to Phoenix, which is about 1.5hrs from here and saw another Fall League game. Was about 77degrees for most of the game and sunny-just what the doctor ordered!  We spent 2 days in the Phoenix area.

Day 2 we went for what I thought was going to be  nice hike in Phoenix, Squaw Peak.  Who came up with this idea anyway, oh me.... Was a 4+mile hike up, over, around, up and over other side and then down again.  It is listed as moderate/difficult.  It was the hardest hike we have done in many a year.  It was a lot of STEEP rock climbing both up and down.  Idiots that we were, we thought oh, about 2 hr hike, so did not even take water with us.  I had gum.  oh great you say, well it was enough to keep moisture going in my mouth.  It did end up being about 80degrees and took us 3.75hrs to do the hike.  The end was a steep rock covered descent, which was like a freeway, full of people going up and down the summit trail, which is what our big loop trail ends on.
I was grateful that no one pushed me down or out of their way as I carefully negotiated my way down.
I ended up by throwing water on myself in the ladies room at the end to bring life back into my exhausted body.  We were able to get enough water into ourselves to replenish what we had lost in sweat.  We can now cross this one off our "bucket lists", not that this was really on there, but its definitely off it now!!!!
So how did we celebrate this incredible feat....went to Starbucks to get 2 mocha frapachinos (sp?) and ice water.  Wonderful!

http://phoenix.about.com/cs/sports/a/piestewapeak01.htm

We then went to visit friends, Keith and Gladys in Florence, AZ.  spent 1.5 days with them and their dog Louie.  Was a really great visit and we will be happy to see them again in Seattle area next spring.  They are snow birds and have a house in Florence where they winter.  We spent a really fun time visiting the local museum, which was run by a docent who we swear was an old school teacher.  She kept saying that we missed such and such an item, when we had not even gotten to it, in such a stern voice.  She also made us each take a copy of the information sheet and kept saying we had not read what was needed on the sheets......she really was something!!!  We were sure there was going to be a test and we needed to answer the questions right to be able to get out again!!! It was a blast.

http://visitflorenceaz.com/

Well we are now back in Cottonwood and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Jenn and Jeff arrive on Wednesday and it will be really good to see them again.  Fred is planning our meal and there will be many hands willing to help if he lets us...he is kind of a one man show.  As I said to Jessica, there will be more meal options that we can all pull together.
We will be leaving the area on Monday 11/28 and heading east.  We will be "winter Texans" for Dec and Jan.  Staying in the rv park that we know just south of San Antonio.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends!
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!