Friday, 20 May 2011

24/04/2011 - 19/05/2011 - Parker - Flagstaff. Arizona

24/04/2011 - 06/05/2011 - Parker Dam, Arizona / California.  Well after a month of enjoying the sunshine, seclusion and taking it easy, we decided it was time to move on.  Before we left Jim and Melanie and their dog Spike took us for a boat ride on the Colorado River, Parker Dam.  We had a lovely day, it was unusual in the fact that everyone drives their boats up to the Dam Wall, then they turn off their motors and float down the river. 

We also managed to get in two games of golf at the Parker Golf Course.  On our second outing Jim came and enjoyed the course with us.

06/05/2011 - 08/05/2011 - Phoenix, Arizona.  We spent two nights in Phoenix just to have a look around the city.

08/05/2011 - 10/05/2011 - Tombstone, Arizona. The most famous event in Tombstone's history was the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which didn't actually happen at the corral, but in a vacant lot on Fremont Street. On October 26, 1881, members of the "Cowboys" had a run-in with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with help from Wyatt's friend Doc Holliday. 24 seconds and 30 shots later, Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were mortally wounded. In many peoples opinion, it was this one event that has kept Tombstone alive for all these years. 

Tonight we went to do the ghost tour at the Bird Cage Theatre - not sure if the Big Fella was really keen or not but he came along anyway. The Bird Cage Theatre was a saloon, theater, gambling hall and brothel. Legend has it that no self-respecting woman in town would even walk on the same side of the street as the Bird Cage Theatre. It opened its doors on Christmas Day 1881 and ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year until closing its doors in 1889. In 1882, The New York Times reported, "the Bird Cage Theatre is the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." Evidence of this can still be seen in the 140 bullet holes that have been found in the walls and ceiling. The Bird Cage was named for the cage style crib compartments suspended from the ceiling. It was in these "Bird Cages" that the "ladies of the evening" entertained their customers. The story goes that they were the inspiration for the song, "She's only a bird in a gilded cage", which was quite popular during the early 1900's.  Well we didn't see any ghosts, but in our photos were white circles - supposedly orbs.  Apparently orbs have been broadly interpreted as a highly variable range of paranormal phenomenon without verifiable causation — including invisible spirits, auras, angels, ghosts, energy fields, psycho-energetic artifacts, energy balls, etc

09/05/2011 - Today we went for a walk around Tombstone.  We did stop and go into the OK Corral and watch the reenactment of the gunfight. 

10/05/2011 - 11/05/2011 - Casa Grande, Arizona.  Today we drove from Tombstone to Casa Grande - an overnight stay to fill up the fridge, oh there was also some outlet shops that we did visit.  Just another stop in the desert.

11/05/2011 - 13/05/2011 - Camp Verde, Arizona.  We have decided to stay for two nights at Camp Verde to go and see Montezuma's Castle and Well and also to get ourselves set-up for 5 nights camping in the National Forrest - which doesn't have electricity, water or a dump station. 

12/05/2011 - Montezuma's Castle and Well.  Montezuma Castle is near the top of a Verde Valley cliff and is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. It was built by the Sinaquas about 700 years ago.  The name Montezuma Castle was a mistaken name. Early settlers who discovered the cliff dwelling ruins erroneously connected them to the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but in-fact the Sinaqua ruins had been abandoned a hundred years before Montezuma was even born. And the dwellings weren’t a castle at all, but a multi-family “prehistoric high rise apartment complex”.

Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole through which some 1,400,000 gallons of water flow each day through two underground springs. It is located 11 miles (18 km) northeast of the castle. The well measures in at 368 feet across and 55 feet deep. The water is highly carbonated and contains high levels of arsenic - I'm surprised the Big Fella didn't throw me in.

13/05/2011 - 18/05/2011 Sedona, Arizona (Coconino National Forest).  Today we drove into Sedona - OMG what a spectacular drive.  The Coconino National Forest is one of the most diverse National Forests in the country with landscapes ranging from the famous Red Rocks of Sedona to Ponderosa Pine Forests, alpine tundra to Oak Creek with Rainbow Trout.  We first notice as we are driving into the campground that there is a hummingbird feeder with about 4 hummingbirds having a feed.

After we got set up, the campground sites for RV's is tight, we went for a drive and walk to see the Sliding Rocks.  (Which is basically a slippery waterfall that you can slide down.  We chose not to as the water is the melted snow coming down the mountain so it is a bit chilly.)

Later on in the afternoon,

14/05/2011 - Today we have decided to go on a hike on the West Forks Trail.   West Fork Trail is touted to be one of the best trails in Arizona and one of the top 10 trails in the United States. The trail is approximately 13.5 km round trip and is rated easy. Although, there are a few areas where short uphill stepping stones are used. There are also numerous stream crossings which are done with stepping stones and logs. At the end of the trail a pool of water surrounded by cliffs is encountered. Just awesome hiking.  Tonight we sit around the camp fire and have a couple of drinks with our two hitch hiker friends - Lea and Alberto.  Lea is from France and Alberto is from Italy.  So Dave being so good with names has nicknamed them Frenchie and the Italian Stallion (he eventually called Alberto the Pony).

15/05/2011 - Today we all head off to do the Cathedral Rock Trail. This is a short 2 km hike but rated as a strenuous hike as it quickly rises 608 feet in elevation. The midsection of the trail has a near vertical segment which requires climbing.   On the top, there is a narrow plateau with steep slopes on each side. The width is about that of a wide sidewalk and several stones are perfect for sitting.  Once we got to the top we sat down for a while and enjoyed the view, probably not a great hike if you are afraid of the heights. Another spectacular hike. 

Well we have finished this by about 10:30am - yes I got the Big Fella out of bed early.  So we decided to go do the Devils' Bridge Hike.  Devil's Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. From a trail head elevation of 4,600 feet, there's a mere 400 foot climb in altitude during this moderately difficult 4km round trip; the journey to reach the top doesn't leave you breathless -- but we would never say the same about the views you witness when you finally get there.  To get to the trail head is about a 3km car ride along a dirt track - recommended for 4wd vehicles only.  Of course not everyone takes notice of the sign and we did see a couple of sedans make the drive.(Must have been company cars...)  When we were leaving there was this large Jeep (fairly new) and the driver was asking if it would be okay for them to take their 4WD on the dirt track, a sedan had just left in front of us - I have no idea why people who buy a 4WD wouldn't drive off road.  Shooter managed to get us there just fine.  I had to remind the Big Fella that we needed to keep at least three wheels on the ground at any point as we climbed over a few large boulders.

16/05/2011 - After two strenuous hikes yesterday - the Big Fella has a sore right Achilles, so we have decided to have a rest day.

17/05/2011 - Well we woke up this morning and I checked on the Big Fella to see how his right Achilles was, well - he lets me know that his right Achilles is okay but now is left one is sore.  So that counts out the 20km strenuous hike we were going to take.  We decided to do the Courthouse Butte Loop a 6.5 km easy hike.  This is a hike which goes around the Courthouse Butte and the Bell Rock formations.  This was a beautiful hike but for me not as spectacular as the other 3 hikes.  Yet again we had finished this hike by around 10:30 am - so we decided that a nice game of golf was in order.  The Big Fella is playing some unbelievable golf (it really is annoying me) he has been going around most of the golf courses (sight unseen) only about 5-6 over par.  I must admit it is taking us a lot longer as we need to get the range finder machine out every time he has a shot - I'm just surprised he hasn't used it for putting, YET.

18/05/2010 - Well it is time to leave the stunning Sedona area.  Our black (sewage tank) is nearly full and we have just about run out of fresh water - we have decided that we can only stay out 5 nights without having to dump our tanks or fill up our fresh water.  (We use 10 gallons of water per day.)  We have really enjoyed our time here and would recommend it to anyone who likes to hike etc.  We have been blessed with great weather the days go up to about 26 degrees and the nights down to about 10 degrees.  A couple of the evenings were windy so we were not allowed to have camp fires.

18/05/2011 - Flagstaff, Arizona.  We have only about a 35 minute drive to our RV park in Flagstaff - but the weather is really deteriorating.  (Flagstaff is about the same elevation as Mt Kosciusko's.)  By the time we get to our RV Park it is snowing - it's Spring.  So much for the warmer weather.  We no longer need the air conditioning during the day - we had 3 heaters and one electric blanket going last night as it was extremely cold.  The weather station said it got to -2 however with the wind chill factor it was about -7. 
Whilst we have a few places yet to go we are really looking forward to hiking into the Wave.  Considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to hike to.  It is not a place marked on any of the maps, it has no marked trail, and the Rangers only allow 20 hikers a day. (It is a ballot system.)  You can view it on Google Earth. "The Wave Arizona."