Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sharing Sedona Area Favorites With Friends

We've spent quite a lot of time exploring Sedona and the Verde Valley over the past few years, it's one of our favorite places in the west. Last summer in Oregon when we hiked with our buddy Linda from Portland, we planted a seed that she needed to see Sedona some time and she'd be welcome to stay with us in March 2018.

Linda took us up on our offer and joined us for five nights in mid March. Linda is an avid hiker and photographer so we planned to take her on a whirlwind tour of our favorite spots in the Sedona/Verde Valley area.

Her visit also coincided with RVing friends Steve and Mona Liza being in the area so we invited them to join us for our first hike: the Hiline Loop. This is an awesome eight-or-so mile loop around Cathedral Rock. This time we parked at the Baldwin trail head and took Baldwin trail, to Hiline, to Slim Shady, to Templeton.

Steve, Mona Liza, Linda and Hans enjoying the views from a plateau on the Hiline Trail.

The next day we rested our legs somewhat by visiting several of the Native American sites that dot the Verde Valley. First stop: Montezuma Well, a sink hole filled with water that fell as rain on the Mogollon Rim thousands of years ago. Water in the desert always draws people and Native Americans lived here from about 1050 CE to 1425.

Cliff dwellings are built into the wall surrounding the Well, upper left.

Linda captures the beauty of Wet Beaver Creek which the Well drains into.

Our next stop was V Bar V Heritage Site, the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley. Security is tight at this site and access is only allowed during open hours and with a host in attendance. V Bar V is named after the former ranch property where it is located.

V Bar V contains several rock panels with hundreds of petroglyphs...and more are known to be below the surface of the soil.

Next stop: Montezuma Castle National Monument. Southern Sinagua farmers built this five-story, 20 room dwelling about 100 feet above the valley sometime between 1100 and 1300. The remains of another five-story, 45 room dwelling can be seen at ground level. Wet Beaver Creek flows near this site as well, and provided fertile farmland for the ancient peoples.

Montezuma Castle.

Our last ancient site for the the day was a visit to Tuzigoot National Monument. Another Sinagua village built between 1000 and 1400, Tuzigoot sits at the summit of a long ridge overlooking the fertile Verde Valley.

Hans and Linda stroll Tuzigoot grounds.

Since it was a Saturday we had to finish the day with a beer and live music at the Spirit Room in Jerome!

Live music every weekend afternoon at the Spirit Room in Jerome!

It was a cool 41 degrees when we arrived at Munds Wagon trail head the next day ready to hike the eight mile Hangover trail. Fortunately we all enjoy hiking in cool weather because we had a few snow flurries and gusty conditions off and on during the hike!

Hans and Linda all bundled up enjoying views of Sedona early in the hike.

As we drop into the canyon the rocks we will scrambling over loom ahead of us.

Linda captures reflections in pools left from the previous night's rain.

Linda bundled up against the cold wind as we traverse the sandstone ledges leading to a dramatic saddle.

Clouds provide an ever changing light show as we approach the saddle.

Fabulous views from the saddle.

Our trail follows the line of trees ahead of Hans.

The saddle is a stunning feature of this hike!

All sorts of interesting rocks along the way.

Rocks hanging overhead may be the reason this trail is called the Hangover.

Great views of Sedona.

Some butt scooting required to get down from the Hangover!
Follow the white marks down the rock face...

All day long we are dwarfed by the incredible formations surrounding us.

Our last full day with Linda we hiked the Hog trails...a series of double black diamond mountain biking trails that we would never consider riding, only hiking!

The usual incredible views of Sedona, this time from high on the Hog trail.

Linda taking it all in.

Hans and Linda enjoying a snack at Chicken Point.

This is the rock face above Hans and Linda's right shoulders...see that thin white line across the rock?
Google "White Line Sedona" and prepare yourself to be astounded!

We bid farewell to Linda, happy to have introduced her to this incredible area and we think she liked it too! You'll want to check out her blog in the next couple of months (it's going to take her a while to process the thousands of photos she took!). I know her photos will be amazing!

Next thing we knew, Mark and Bobbie arrived in town. We took them on a hike that starts out at busy Bell Rock/Courthouse Butte then heads off onto an unmarked trail with solitude and great views.

Mark, Bobbie and Hans and lovely Sedona for a backdrop.

Every single one of these folks we've just spent time with are friends we've made on the road! We love these connections we've made through full time RVing and blogging!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lovely Arizona, How We've Missed You!

After almost four months in San Diego it felt great to move on...first stop, a couple of nights in Yuma at my sister and brother-in-law's sweet little retreat. We made a quick trip into Los Algodones to get our teeth cleaned at our favorite dentist, Dr. Maria Fonseca, plus I got an excellent $5 haircut at Saira's.

A stunning Yuma sunrise.

Next stop, six glorious nights at one of our all time favorite parks: McDowell Mountain Regional Park. We LOVE the huge campsites, big views and terrific site separation at this park. And best of all is the miles and miles of trails through wide open Sonoran desert..

Mountain biking is sublime here. Long, gentle ascents on mostly smooth decomposed granite trails lead to swoopy, flowing, exhilarating glides downhill.

Another gorgeous Arizona sunrise.

Long gently ascending trails bring us to the rocky eastern face of McDowell Mountain.

We hiked the North Trail for the first time, an easy three mile loop in the northern section of McDowell Mountain Park, one of the few areas of the park that was not devastated by the enormous 1995 Rio fire when 14,000 of the parks 22,000 acres was burned.

Shall we dance?

There are far more saguaros in the north part of the park, spared from the 1995 fire.

We hiked the Scenic Trail one day and enjoyed the fantastic long distance views from the top of the ridge.

Notice the lack of saguaros on the hills beyond Hans, the small pocket directly behind him was spared from the fire.

One of two crested saguaros I've found at this park.

Another day we walked the Bluff Trail and had a surprise visit from a coyote...can you see it?

This lovely creature popped up over the edge of the bluff about 30 feet from us.

Rain on the way!
It's been a very dry winter and the 12 hours of light rain overnight was welcome.

Big vistas everywhere you look at McDowell Mountain Park.

Six days at McDowell Mountain Regional Park went by way too fast and we never even left the park! Onward to red rock country and a visit from a good friend...

Happy Rosie in her element!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Not Done with San Diego Just Yet...

After a second month at Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego, which I think of as a parking lot in a good location, we were thrilled to move down to Sweetwater Summit Regional Park this week. We now have a huge site, excellent separation from our neighbors, wonderful views and decent walking right in the park.

This was going to be our exit point from San Diego but some medical issues have come up that are going to keep us here a little longer than originally planned. Seriously, I think that dealing with medical issues on the road is the hardest part of this lifestyle...fortunately we are in our former home town so we have access to a medical system we are familiar with.

It can be challenging to find RV sites for a stay longer than a few days in San Diego if you don't plan ahead...this city books up fast! We'll hop around to a couple of different places over the next few weeks and if all goes well we'll be back on the road in early March.

How about some pretty pictures of the past few weeks in San Diego?

We enjoyed the new Africa Rocks exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, where the habitats go from savanna to the sea and
baboons are a big deal!

The botanical exhibits at the Zoo are worth the trip as well.
Succulents in bloom at the San Diego Zoo.

On Free National Park day we hiked the bay trail at Cabrillo National Monument where stunning views are the norm.

Historic lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument.

I participated in the San Diego Women's March with good friends and tens of thousands of other like-minded souls.

A -2.0 tide at Sunset was fun to poke around but disappointing that we saw very little marine life.

Seals at the Children's Pool in La Jolla.

Cormorants nesting on the cliffs in La Jolla,

Hollenbeck Canyon was a pleasant surprise just a few miles from our site at Sweetwater Reservoir.
The one rain storm in January provided enough moisture for the canyon to green up like it was spring!

Hollenbeck Canyon trail.

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park is one of our favorite places to stay in San Diego. Sure, you have some freeway noise, but you're in the middle of a giant city, that kind of goes with the territory.What we like about this park are the giant sites, excellent site separation, views and decent walking trails...all for $33/night for full hookups, and excellent Verizon and AT&T signals.

That's us in site #84 at the end of the row, nothing but big views from our patio.

After a month of asphalt and close neighbors at Mission Bay all three of us enjoy the open space at Sweetwater!