Adventure awaits. Whether we’re trekking one of Europe’s iconic distance trails, exploring our nation’s backroads or simply enjoying a day out with family and friends, we’ve learned to expect (and appreciate) the unexpected. Join us as we live a life with less baggage!
We normally prefer circular hikes that allow us to avoid retracing our steps, but there was only one way out of Boynton Canyon…at least only one safe way out. We followed the dusty red trail in until it dropped us down into the forest, beneath a cover of evergreens. Climbing began toward the end of the trail where we scrambled up a narrow channel of boulders, emerging onto a large, smooth rock outcropping, scattered with handful of other determined hikers enjoying the view.
I try to remember to stop and look up every so often when hiking rather than carefully watching where I put my every footstep. The views were on our return trip were incredibly rewarding.
We took the day off hiking to explore several sites just a stones throw from our RV park. First stop: Montezuma Castle National Park where the cliffs hold the history of the Sinagua people, cliff dwellers who populated the area from 1100-1425. We thoroughly enjoyed the park, but were glad we arrived early. The relatively small parking lot filled quickly.
Our next stop: A natural limestone sinkhole surrounded by lush vegetation. Montezuma Well appears as an oasis in a desert setting. An incredible 1.5 million gallons of water bubble up each day from this natural spring so it’s easy to understand why the waters have been used for irrigation since the 8th century.
Our third and last stop was the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, home to the largest collection of Sinagua petroglyphs in the Verde Valley. It was a pleasant stroll out to the site where a ranger was ready and waiting to provide a history and explanation of the ancient art.
To secure a parking spot, an early start is mandatory for any of the Sedona area trailheads. The Big Loop Trail, Courthouse Loop Trail and part of the Llama trail led us around 8 miles of spectacular scenery.
This big horn sheep proudly posed for a crowd at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, while I posed with the resident vulture. A combination zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium and art gallery it’s an attraction not to be missed.
Tubac was established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio and was one of the stops on the Camino Real (the “Royal Road”) from Mexico to the Spanish settlements in California. Thanks to our RV Park neighbors, full-timers Bill and Heidi, who mentioned the charms of the tiny town, we managed to squeeze in a visit on our last day. Now a thriving artist colony, shopkeepers are a trusting lot. On the door of one closed shop (center left) were instructions to drop cash or checks through the mail slot for any purchase of wares displayed outdoors.
The Pima Air and Space Museum entertained us for several hours with nearly 300 aircraft spread over 80 acres. Tram tours are offered, but not required, for the outdoor displays. Indoors, numerous volunteers are scattered about to answer any and all questions.
I’m fascinated with the desert saguaro cactus. Thousands upon thousands are spread across the Sonoran Desert, each one as unique as a human fingerprint. And since I brought up the comparison, I thought you might like to see the chart I found at The Saguaro (east) National Park Visitor Center.
We’re calling Tucson, Arizona home for a few days while we explore all the area has to offer…and hopefully enjoy some warm southwestern sunshine.
Our first stop: Saguaro National Park, home to the iconic Saguaro cactus featured in so many of your favorite westerns.
After a quick stop at the Visitor Center, we found ourselves armed with a trail map and directions to the Sendero Esperanza Trail which would lead to what the ranger described as, “The best wildflower showing in years…a desert super bloom.”
As we climbed higher along the trail we reached the poppy fields where acres and acres of bright orange petals were strewn across the hillside. The desert bouquet also held red, yellow, purple and white blooms of all shapes and sizes. I gave up trying to capture the scene on film and simply enjoyed.
As the trail snaked uphill, we climbed out of the flower fields toward the top of the ridge. Our map indicated a picnic table that we thought would be the perfect lunch destination before our journey back down the hill, however it proved elusive.
Last week, Reg and I had the pleasure of speaking with the multi-talented Dan Mullins, writer, singer/songwriter, broadcaster, podcaster and host of his weekly My Camino The Podcast. You’ll find the link at the bottom of this page.
Proving that it really is a small world, Dan interviewed us from his home in Australia (Saturday morning his time) while we kicked back in our living room on a Friday afternoon. An excellent interviewer, Dan led us back in time with thought-provoking questions, about the who, what, when, where and why(s) of our Camino adventure. He also had some kind words to say about Reg’s book, Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.
Yesterday’s blue sky was simply too inviting to ignore. While the temperature was just a little cold for much in the way of outdoor activity, the day was perfect for getting out of the house and scouting out a lunch spot south of the border.
We have a soft spot for The Dutchman, a quaint hometown cafe in the center of the sleepy, little community of Montague, but we pulled up to see a “Closed Monday” sign hanging in the window.
Not ready to call it quits, we continued south along a 2-lane road toward the larger California town of Weed…to another of our favorite local cafes. The view of Mount Shasta was irresistible, and by the time I finished taking photos, Reg had (patiently) worked up quite an appetite.
On a good day, 14,000 foot Mount Shasta is visible for miles in Northern California and from some spots of Southern Oregon, but yesterday’s clear view was a rare wintertime treat.