Day of rest in preparation

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – Location:  Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, Arizona

I decided to take a day to rest up in preparation for my attack on the Superstition Mountains.  I did a little reading this morning while laying in my lounge chair soaking up this beautiful weather.  They are calling for winds and rain later today and this evening. 

I found that the first place I need to go is to the Lost Dutchman State Park.  Many of the trailheads originate from there and they also have information on what to do in the Superstition Mountains.  These mountains are massive and I don’t want to waste energy hiking in areas that are not interesting and relative. 

Around noon, Yuma and I jumped in the Jeep and drove the five miles into Apache Junction and bought gas for the Jeep and eight gallons of drinking water.  I am now all set for anything.

Got back to the RV and Deb and Riley had a wonderful lunch prepared and invited me over.  I’m getting spoiled! 

IMG_1788As we ate, a trolley car of tourists drove up through our campsite.  I just wonder what the driver is telling the tourists about us.  I believe he is showing them all the many cactus that grow in this area.

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Earlier, this morning I walked a short distance and couldn’t believe all the different kinds there are just in our campsite.

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I walked up that brown dirt berm you see in the above picture to see what was there.  To my surprise, there is a large open pit mine.  Maybe digging for gold.  Not sure.  Lot of No Trespassing signs stuck in the berm, so didn’t go any further.

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Saw this bird on a tree limb as I was walking.  Wonder what it is.  I thought I saw red coloring, but don’t see it in the photo.  The guy on the cactus is a Cactus Wren, so I got one out of two identified.

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A little later a beautiful horse came by.  The horse was making loud whiny sounds as he trotted up the road.  Looked so proud, I think he wanted everyone to know he was coming through and to move aside.  Never heard a horse make so much noise.

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As we broke up after lunch the winds picked up and so did the dust.  The temperature dropped quickly from 69 to around 60 degrees.

Before the winds got too bad, I put up my local TV antenna in hopes to get CBS for tomorrow night’s “Survivor”.  Did the channel scan and came back with 54 channels.  Yeah!  I thought.  Clicked through the channels and got Fox, NBC and ABC and 51 other channels; but no CBS!!!  Couldn’t believe it!

Decided to run the antenna another two feet higher and try again.  This time I got 118 channels.  I was hopeful!.  Sure enough, CBS came in loud and clear.  I am now ready for “Survivor”, if the antenna doesn’t blow down.

I even watched the news this evening and the weather announcers are so excited about the rain tonight and the snow they will get near Flagstaff.  Been a very warm and dry winter and Arizonians are worried about drought this coming summer because of no snow run-off.

Had a pleasant day of rest.  My body is ready to take on a day of hiking tomorrow, weather permitting.  My back-up plan is to drive the Apache Trail if everything is wet and muddy on the trails.  Either way, it will be a good day.

The sun was hazy with dust as it went behind a large cloud bank coming out of the southwest and soon we had dark foreboding clouds.   As I finish this blog I can hear the pitter patter of rain.

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See you later.

Move to Superstition Mountains

Monday, February 26, 2018 – Location:  Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, Arizona

It was about 9 o’clock this morning when I said goodbye to Saddle Mountain and headed into Tonopah to meet up with Deb and Riley of On a long and lonesome highway….  .  Deb had the address of the Walmart in Apache Junction saved in her GPS so she led the way and I followed.

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Off to my right just past Saddle Mountain is the Palo Verde Nuclear Power plant blowing off a little steam.  I hope.

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Stopped at Love’s on I-10 in Buckeye and dumped tanks and took on water.  I drove to a service station just down the road to take on propane because they didn’t have it at Love’s.

The trip went without incident.  Only  around 100 miles but we had to drive through all the cities surrounding Phoenix.  The traffic was heavy but no delays.  Deb and Riley did an excellent job taking the lead.  All I had to do was follow the Igloo!

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Phoenix skyline.

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I believe this is the Papago Freeway tunnel on I-10 in Phoenix.  Had my sunglasses on and had to take them off.  There wasn’t enough light for me to see with them on. 

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Closing in on the Walmart store in Apache Junction.  Those are the Superstition Mountains overlooking the city.

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When we reached Walmart, I had to buy a month’s worth of groceries.  I was out of everything.  Even picked up a prescription. 

Glad this wasn’t us in the Walmart parking lot.

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About an hour after Walmart, we were ready to find the GPS coordinates that Lorne of A Place Called “Away” gave us.   He was right on the money with his coordinates.  Thanks Lorne! 

Unfortunately, there were quite a few boondockers off Hackamore Road.  Lorne had said the road was terrible and filled with big dips and potholes.  He was NOT kidding!  Deb stopped a little ways in and I said I would go on ahead and scout out the lay of the land.  It would be much easier for me to unhook the Jeep and turn around in a tight spot than Deb with her 5th wheel.

Passed by the place Lorne and his friends stayed and almost at the dead end, I found a place we could fit into with breathing room and it was flat.  I texted Deb and said, “Come on up, but go real slow!”.

Once into place, Deb and Riley had an excellent spread for lunch.  I ate like a King.  Thanks mainly to Riley’s great salads.  Yuma was just too excited, so he had to have his lunch in the RV.  Poor guy!

We sat outside after our lunch/dinner and talked till the cool of the evening drove us to our homes for the night.  This is our view as we sat outside the Igloo having our lunch.

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I am as tired tonight as if I had hiked four miles.  Must be the tension of driving in heavy traffic and then having to shop for a month’s groceries.

Hope I sleep good tonight.  See you later.

Short move day

Sunday, February 25, 2018 – Location:  Saddle Mountain near Tonopah, Arizona

Today was just beautiful again.  Cold at night.  Got down to 32 degrees early this morning, but as soon as the sun came up, it warmed up.

Thought about running into Buckeye to the Walmart for groceries, but since I’m heading that way in the morning, why waste the time and gas.  So I sat around and drank my coffee and did nothing. 

A couple came by the RV this morning and I told them where the petroglyphs were.  I should get paid for doing this!  They didn’t know there were any.  They are new full timers having retired early and sold their home.  This is their first winter on the road in their trailer and a motorcycle.  They have a website named 2 Hearts & 2 Wheels

Did drive over to Deb and Riley’s place after breakfast, but they weren’t home.  They are heading out tomorrow also, so we decided to head east together for a bit.  Got a new place in mind, but you’ll have to wait and see.

Around two o’clock went back over and they were home.  We made travel plans and I let them know I was going to move down from the mountain today in case I got stuck on the way down.

Went back to my MH and quickly packed and drove the MH about half mile down the mountain, walked back up and drove the Jeep down.  Didn’t have any problems but did leave several deep gashes in the gravel where the hitch slid along.  Did that one more time then found a site to stay for the night close to the blacktop, W. Courthouse Road.  Finally!  A flat spot.

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I’m settled in for the night.  Now I have to put the Dish back up.  Earlier today, Dolly told me “Walking Dead” starts their season tonight.  This is a TV program Dolly got me hooked on several year ago, so got to watch that tonight.  Got my alarm set so I don’t forget.

Don’t have many pictures tonight.  Just didn’t go anywhere today.

The other day when I was in Tonopah, I did see several other things worth mentioning.  If you are in the market for a really old Willys Jeep, they have one for sale there.  About as basic as they come.  Didn’t have a price and I didn’t ask.  Not in the market myself.  I thought my Jeep was small, but this thing is about half the size of mine.

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Tonopah also has a Hot Spring 1/4 mile down the road.  Looked a little rough, but who knows.  I didn’t go inside to find out. 

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And they have a cantina also.  Oscar’s Place.  Serves Mexican food and I bet it’s good.

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A Ranch and Land Office if you’re interested in living here.

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And I even saw some places you could grab cheap.  Fixer upper!

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Time for “Walking Dead” and dinner.

See you later.

Another mountain hike

Saturday, February 24, 2018 – Location:  Saddle Mountain near Tonopah, Arizona

This morning after the sun was up and we had breakfast, I decided to walk down to the next RV.  Actually, it is a fifth wheel.  A couple had stopped by yesterday and mentioned they were a young couple making a living full-time on the road.  They have a website, Love your RV.  Curious, I wanted to meet and talk with them about how they were doing.

As I was walking down I noticed two vehicles and a tent between my place and the 5th wheel.  Wasn’t there last night, so I guess they just moved in.  Yuma quickly noticed they had dogs, so I said hello and we stopped for a chat.  They had three dogs, two were older and the third was a two year old male Malamute/German Shepard mix. 

Yuma and Phoenix (their dog’s name) wanted to run and play so bad, but both were on leashes and we kept it that way not knowing how long the friendship might last.  Yuma is handsome, but I must say Phoenix had beautiful form and coloring.  He had black longer hair, but underneath it was brown similar to Yuma’s color.   Very intelligent and playful.

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They were just setting up their tent so didn’t stay long.  I walked down the road a little further and could see the truck was gone at the 5th wheel, so Yuma and I walked back towards our MH.  As we passed, Yuma stopped and would not go any further.  He wanted to play so bad but they couldn’t because Phoenix’s masters were busy.

About noon, the weather was so beautiful, and my feet and legs were feeling better, we decided on a short hike.  I can tell you it was a mile up and a mile back which is about right it seems.

I have been staring at this leaning tower for a week now and just had to know what was on the other side.

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So we got prepared and started up the road towards the leaning tower of rock.  Of course, the road doesn’t go there, but it was a good start.

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Sure looks easy as I zoom in on my destination.

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Looking back.  You can see my MH on the right center.

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I’m much slower than Yuma so he has to sternly watch me to make sure I’m still coming along.  Notice how big the boulders are.  From the first picture looking up, it looks like a cake walk.  But looks from a mile away are deceiving.

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I’m up against the wall looking back.  I’m following a sheep path.  Much easier when I can distinguish a path.  Those big horn sheep know the best way to navigate the mountains.

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Getting close to the top now.  Just got to keep climbing these boulders.  The bigger ones, I go around.

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We’re at the saddle and I’m yelling at Yuma to stop because I have no idea what is just over that edge.  Could be a sheer drop-off.  It was a drop-off, but not sheer.  More than I could handle, but Yuma would probably make it being four legged.

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Standing in the saddle, me and Yuma are looking up at the leaning tower of rocks.  He’s ready to go on up, me not so much.

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Looking back across the valley.  My MH is in the second line of green, center right.  Over the top of that hill of boulders and rocks.  The camera doesn't’ convey how steep the terrain really is.   I do a lot of three touch scrambling when going down.  It hurts to fall and I try not to do any more than I have to.

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That MH is below on the other side of the saddle.  Quite steep

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Yuma heard gunfire way across the valley.  That’s his sitting stance when he is concerned or frightened.  I was hoping I wouldn’t have to carry or pull him down the mountain.

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Looking east across the way on the other side of the saddle.  Pretty over there too.

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No more gunfire.  Yuma heads down!  Thank goodness.

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Looking west across our valley again.  More beautiful I think.

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Not going to show the downward hike, but we made it with no problems.  Got back to the RV and had lunch.  Then we sat outside all afternoon.  It is just beautiful today.  Bright sunshine!  Cool in the shade and perfect in the sunshine.  Hardly any wind. 

This beautiful day is fading away.  Those Saguaros have been standing guard for many many years.

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The sun is shooting its last rays down upon our MH.

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I-10 traffic is relentless.  Never rests.

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See you later.