Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fond Farewell to Arizona

How can it be that 8 weeks have flown by and our time in AZ has ended?  What a wonderful time it was!  We spent a lot of time hiking and on the pickleball court the last few weeks.

Bell Trail to "The Crack" in the Verde Valley

This historic trail was, and still is, used to move cattle up and down the Magellan Rim.  It's a beautiful hike along the scenic canyon walls to a crystal clear creek and "The Crack" which is a very popular swimming hole (we ran into a newlywed couple from Philadelphia here!  They found "The Crack" on YouTube and had to check it out).

Becky on the rock where people jump from.  Not me!!

Kids with more guts than we had (not to mention the water was really cold!)

West Fork Trail - in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Sedona

What started out as a really cold and cloudy day (hard to believe in Arizona - but yes, we had on jackets and were still cold - around 45 degrees plus a wind) turned into a fabulous day with a gorgeous hike!  This trail we took ended at a slot canyon which could only be continued IN the water.  The trail went on for another 10 miles if you chose to walk and swim in the water.  With the chilliness we chose not to but will definitely go back again and take a shot at it.

Parsons Spring Trail near Cottonwood in Sycamore Canyon

Another fabulous hike to a very popular swimming hole.  This trail descended steeply into the canyon and then continued for 4 miles into the depths of the surrounding walls of the canyons.  The variety of the trail was incredible...first being on top with the view out through the canyon, then dropping down to the creek, then climbing on the walls hanging over the water, then up on the hillsides of the canyon and back down to the creek.  Every turn had an incredible view.

Humphrey's Peak - The Highest Point in AZ - 12, 633ft!!!

We bagged another peak!  Ok, so this one was slightly more difficult than Florida's highest point!  :-)  What an incredible climb and amazing views of everything around it...The Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Flagstaff, Sedona and much more.  It's a 9 mile round-trip hike starting at approx. 9,300 feet up to the top.  The first section is among the tall aspens with switchbacks winding our way up the mountain to the saddle.  This is where we get our first view of the Painted Desert and the surrounding areas.  Then we spend the rest of the hike on the rocks and open face of the mountain over 3 false summits to the very top!  We had quite a bit of wind on the way up but it turned out to be spectacular weather on the summit with a light breeze, warm sun and a temperature around 50 degrees.  We surely didn't need the wind jackets, ski hats and gloves we brought along in anticipation of the bad weather you can encounter on top.  We heard it was an unusual occurrence.  We have been blessed with many great weather days on the summits of several mountains!

Yes, that's snow!

our first view of the Painted Desert

The summit - highest point in AZ - Humphrey's Peak - 12,633ft

views from the top - Painted Desert

natural trail markers - the summit is behind me...on our way down

a look back after the long hike - doesn't look like much, does it?  :-)


This little hippy town (once a mining town) is a happening place with lots of great little restaurants, wineries and the famous Haunted Burger.  We were fortunate to get the best seat in the house for our burger dinner (veggie burger for me of course!).

Tom's new job!

our table side view from The Haunted Burger

Dry Creek Trail in Secret Canyon - Sedona

Our last hike in AZ we enjoyed with our pickleball (and now hiking) friends Tony & Marilyn.  After we survived the VERY bumpy (thankfully only 4 mile) off-road drive to the trailhead we were sure glad we made the trek.  We ended up in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful canyon walls, pine trees and only the noises of the birds and wind in the trees.

Alligator Tree

relaxing after our hike

One last gathering with the Pickleball Crew.  This is such a great group of people and we are sad to say goodbye to them.  We will hook up with everyone again in Sept. in Oregon for a pickleball tournament!  Can't wait!  We enjoyed happy hour at Sue & Jack's house then dinner at Concho's and of course we couldn't end the evening without a stop at Dairy Queen for dessert!  :-)

Jack & Sue

The gang



the gang at dinner

and dessert!

We have now arrived in CA just west of Santa Barbara.  Phew!  What a crazy drive through LA traffic and then on the 16 miles of winding roads to our campground called Rancho Oso (Bear Ranch) tucked in the middle of the mountains.  We will be here for 3 weeks before heading north to the San Francisco area.  I'm sure we'll be enjoying lots of incredible hikes in this area, horseback riding and a music festival (father's day weekend - Live Oak Music Fesitval - supposed to be the best in Southern CA)!  We'll keep you posted!

Home sweet home at Rancho Oso Campground - Santa Barbara, CA

Til next time...Happy Trails!

No comments:

Post a Comment