This is a decent RV park, though our site was not the greatest, any of the sites along the back row would be fine because they have reasonable separation and only a chain link fence separates you from the forest. The very best thing about this park is you can access NFS trails right from the park for miles of lovely forest hiking.
|We hiked the Fat Man's Loop trail right from our RV park and enjoyed wonderful views of North Flagstaff.|
|There were some enormous old alligator junipers on this trail!|
|This acorn woodpecker must have found something really tasty under this picnic table!|
We played a round of disc golf at Flagstaff's McPherson Park. We really liked this course, though there are quite a lot of Ponderosa Pines, you can see through the trees and the tees and baskets are well marked.
Flagstaff was a great place to take care of some shopping and we had an excellent Mediterranean meal at Bananaland Cafe and some tasty brews at Mother Road Brewing.
|Mother Road Brewing!|
After Flagstaff we moved down to Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde, AZ for a few nights. We stayed at this lovely little park in 2012 (you can read my review here), and the only thing I'd add to that review is the park wifi is nonexistent and our Verizon 4G LTE signal was frustratingly inconsistent.
There are numerous Native American sites to explore in this part of Arizona due to the surprising number of streams and rivers flowing through the Verde Valley. Montezuma Well is one source of water in these parts and Native Americans lived near the Well from about 1050 to 1425. The Well's water originally fell as rain on the Mogollon Rim more than 10,000 years ago and has percolated through many miles of rock to arrive here. 1.5 million gallons of water flows through the Well each day!
The water in the Well contains arsenic and high amounts of carbon dioxide so fish cannot live in it. Other creatures, amphipods, water scorpions and leeches, do live here though and, apparently, the water was safe for humans! At one time there were more than 30 rooms built along the rim of the Well. The water that flowed out of the Well and into Wet Beaver Creek was channeled into a canal that irrigated their crops.
|A couple of ruins remain tucked into the cliffside overlooking the Well.|
|Pueblo ruins with a fantastic view.|
After checking out Montezuma Well we repeated a hike we had done in 2012: Wet Beaver Creek. Formally named the Bell Trail, the trail follows beautiful Wet Beaver Creek for many miles surrounded by juniper and pinion covered hillsides topped with red rock and black lava...if you look carefully you just might find ancient petroglyphs on some of the lava blocks fallen from the top of the mountains.
|A perfect day for a hike!|
|Wet Beaver Creek is enchanting!|
|Red rock reflections in the creek.|
|Petroglyph covered lava rock fallen from the mountain top high above.|
We were fortunate to overlap briefly with Steve and Mona Liza so we met up for dinner at Pizzeria Bocce in Cottonwood, AZ. It was terrific fun to catch up since we last saw them in Denver in May and we planned a hike that I'll share in a future post.
|A little blurry but it sure was good to get together once again!|
Steve, Mona Liza, Hans, Lisa.
The last thing we did before moving on down the road was to visit another Native American heritage site: V Bar V. V Bar V is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley and is named after the former ranch property where it is located. The site has been identified as the Beaver Creek Rock Art Style and was created by the Southern Sinagua Indians between AD 1150 and 1400.
This was the most protected rock art site we have ever visited. We walked down a one third mile trail to a fenced in area guarded by a ranger host. The only graffiti added to the site were a couple of names etched into the rock in the 1800's.
|We saw several small tarantulas, it must be breeding season!|
|We've not seen birds like these at any other sites in our travels.|
|Fall colors are just starting to show here in AZ.|
Next we move on to Sedona for a few days...