Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Hiking and Riding...

Lost Dutchman State Park

Apache Junction, AZ

April 15, 2024 

I think Lost Dutchman Sate Park is the prettiest park we have ever called home.  It might be the time of year we are here.  I wasn't expecting a sea of yellow.  I have never seen so much yellow.  And yellow is my favorite color !

This is the view from our site.

Sally is enjoying her walks and smells.

We were up early for a Sunday hike.  The choice was Siphon Draw.  Siphon Draw is the primary trail from the campground into the Superstition Mountains.  It is a rocky uphill with steep spots that involve rock scrambling. The plan was to go as far as we felt comfortable.  In total, we hiked up hill a mile and a half before turning around.  The rocks are slippery...marbles I say...on the downhill making for a slow go.  Being early birds was not the best choice, but I didn't realize it until I tried to capture the beauty with the camera.  The sun was in my face and caused quite the glare in photos.  



Monday, after a leisurely morning, we decided to take a scenic drive.  I love sharp curves snuggled up against rock cliff walls and the anticipation of what I will see next.  

Heading out of the park and making a right turn put us on Apache Trail...that was easy !  This scenic drive got its name from the Apache Indians who used this trail to move thru the Superstition Mountains.  And in the 1900s, it became a stagecoach route.    

Today, the 40 miles known officially as Route 88 starts at Apache Junction and ends at Roosevelt Lake.  We had tried to take the gravel road when we visited Payson in October 2022, but the road was closed due to a rock slide in 2019.  From our end, the road is paved for about 20 miles and turns into a graded dirt road for the rest of the way to the lake.  The gravel road is still closed about 2 miles after the pavement ends at Fish Creek Vista.   

We crossed two one lane bridges over creeks that run into Canyon Lake. 

It's a pretty lake and although none of my photos show the activities,  we saw several boats zooming by, paddle boarders  and picnics.

We turned around and headed home when we went as far as we could go.  We did make one stop along the way at Tortilla Flats.  It was lunch time !  

Tortilla Flat is nestled deep in the Superstition Mountains.  Back in 1904, it was established as a stagecoach stop and today, is the oldest operating stagecoach town in Arizona.  

Shops are located on 1 Main Street (the only address in town) and boasts a whopping population of 6.  

We had burgers and fries at Superstion Saloon.   The Dutchman's Burger was pilled high with bacon, onion rings, cheese and pickles and smothered in the Dutchman's lost BBQ sauce after the recipe was found.  It was good sauce...a little on the sweeter side and if that didn't feel us up, the thin and crispy fries sure did !


I don't usually post about the restrooms, but don't miss the opportunity to be a showgirl if you make a top there.  I hear you guys can be an outlaw if you have a hankering for that !

And did you happen to notice the $1.00 bills?  Our waitress who provided not only great service also told us there are 700,000 + $1.00 bills stapled to the walls, ceilings, and every nook and cranny in the saloon.   And one more thing, the stools at the bar were beautiful leather saddles and I didn't get a photo.  


We perused the Country Store and bought homemade fudge.  And at the other end of the street, we bought post cards to mail to the kiddos before heading home.  Big doing is Tortilla Flat !  

The afternoon was spent walking and sitting outside with Sally...

and trying to capture the sunset.  The late afternoon glow on the mountains...

and the sun fading away til tomorrow.

Until next time,


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Douglas Spring Trail and Travel Day

Lost Dutchman State Park

April 13, 2024  

Between hair cuts, puppy nails trimmed, and running lots of errands, we couldn't seem to fit our morning hiking/walks in the desert this week.  Knowing it was a busy week, we did something we rarely ever do...we hiked on Sunday.  

It was a little chilly when we woke up last Sunday morning.

We enjoyed a few extra sips of coffee, a hot breakfast and walked Sally before heading out.  The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and we planned a new to us hike in Saguaro NP-East.  

We have parked here a few times and enjoyed the trails in this area, but we have not taken Douglas Spring Trail.  It is a long trail. One way it's 2.9 miles to Bridal Wreath Falls, 6.5 miles to Douglas Camp, and 8.8 miles to Cowhead Saddle. 

Our plan was to hike to the junction of Douglas Spring and Carrillo trails and turn around making a 3 mile in and out hike.  

The first part of the hike is mostly flat desert.  We took our time and stopped to smell the creosote...

admire beautiful bouquets...

gentle colors...

bold colors...

and lots of new growth. 

Douglas Spring Trail is not all flat.  It has a nice climb...

with views as far as the eyes can see.

And what goes up...goes down !

I'm not sure why the saguaro tips look like this in spring and often wonder if it has to do with budding.

And yippee !  I looked up just in time to see buds on a very tall saguaro as we were almost to the parking lot.

Back at the oasis, Monday (and Eclipse Day) was somewhat cloudy.  Our max cover time was 11: 30 ish am and even though we didn't have glasses to view the sun, we were hoping for a little more drama.  It never got dark or looked like the sun was behind the moon in our yard.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching the eclipse on TV.  It was quite impressive, colorful, and scientific.  I had seen a total eclipse once before in 1984.  I was teaching kindergarten that day and we all sat in silence as the classroom turned from bright sunlight to total darkness.  Quite an event to share with 24 little folks.  I'm hoping some fellow bloggers will be sharing their photos of this event.   Mondays skies were very pretty here...

We had the same issue with LED lights that Janna and Michael had last week.  One of the two ceiling LED lights in our garage went out.  And yes, LED lights are suppose to last forever Janna!  Any way, no bulbs so we had to replace them.  Joe ordered two new light fixtures and now we can see in the garage.

That is a good thing...lots of good stuff goes on in the garage.  Joe changed and refilled fluids in the Jeep and checked nuts, bolts and belts.  Pearl is well into the hundred thousand miles club and we are not ready to part with her ! 

We see a lot of Gamble's Quail these days.  It's funny because our neighbor across the street asked us where they all go in the winter...we have no idea !

I chuckled when I took this photo...it reminds me of my childhood and going to a  Morrison's Cafeteria where you choose your "home-styled cooked" food from behind a counter and they served
it for you.  

The Bottlebrush trees in the front yard are so pretty.  I'm not sure who enjoys the vibrant red blooms more...me or the hummingbirds.  

And in the backyard, I am loving our cactus...

and these happy little yellow volunteer violas coming up in the back yard from last years plants...  

and Desert Marigolds are scattered all along the cart path.  Have I mention I love yellow?  


Sally had a pedicure this week...

and rediscovered ice.

And Saturday was a travel day.  We are nestled in a beautiful site at Lost Dutchman State Park for the next five nights.  

Until next time...


Friday, April 5, 2024

It's April ! Camaro Loop Trail, Sahuarita Trail

Corona de Tucson

April 5, 2024 

Saturday morning...

Jamie, Andra, and Ozzie came over to spend Easter week-end with us.  We were all up bright and early on Saturday as we had hiking plans in Robles Pass Park. The park is a 1,000 acre parcel purchased by Pima County and located in the Tucson Mountains.  The trails are designated multi use trails for hikers and bikers.  Ledge Surfer Trail which winds its way up and down and all around connects to Camaro Loop Trail and was our choice for the day making for a scenic hike at a little over 5 miles.  It was a gorgeous Saturday with partly blue skies, interesting clouds, and a gentled (much appreciated) breeze. 

The trailhead for Ledge Surfer Trail is on the opposite side of the road from where we hike.  The 4 lane highway divided by a median is always busy...sooo, the safest way to cross the road is walk thru a culvert under the road.  It's kind of spooky...dark and damp and I can barely stand up in a few spots.  Some of us had to stoop more than others.


Ledge Surfer Trail was lined with lots of little blooms... 

Desert Stars


Desert Onion

nice views, and lots of ocotillo and cacti.

We took the short Stone House Spur Trail.  I have done more than one search for information on the stone house in the Tucson Mountains, but have not had any luck. I love the rocks and think it must have had a gorgeous view of the mountains back in its day.   It's a nice place to stop for water and a snack.   

Camaro Loop is my favorite part of this hike.  

It twists and curves thru a nice saguaro forest.

The prickly pear and cholla cacti were full of buds. 

But the saguaro are not showing any signs that its spring.

The birds however, are keeping busy.

An old, rusted out camaro gives the trail its name. 

That is me...March 4, 2017

That is me...March 30, 2024 (I was a little more concerned about snakes on this hike!) 

It was such a fun morning. We love it that Jamie and Andra love to hike too. And it is so awesome to share some of our favorites with them.  

Ozzie makes himself at home.  He has jobs... and keeps a watchful eye.

A stare down between these two....

But his favorite job is sharing the sofa with Grandaddy.

Joe cooked toad in the holes on Easter Sunday.

And before we knew it, it was time for them to get ready for the upcoming work week.  

Our second hike this week was a hike about five miles from home.  The Sahuarita Trail is a small section  of the much longer Arizona Trail.  The AZ Trail traverses from our state's southern border to our northern border about 800 miles long.  This AZ Scenic National Trail links desert, mountains, canyons, forests, history communities, and diverse peoples.  And it is celebrating its 30th year.  

Sahuarita Trail is an easy hike.  We have a turning around point at a crossroad about 1 1/2 miles in making a nice 3.2 mile walk.  

There is a nice variety of desert plants, but no saguaro here.  Mesquite trees, Palo Verde trees, ocotillo, yucca, grasses, wildflowers and prickly pear and cholla cacti fill the desert...all very showy without obstructing the view of the mountains and our beautiful deep blue sky.      

New leaves on the Mesquite trees...

Orange/red blooms on the Ocotillo...


Desert grasses...

Fairy Duster...the most prolific wildflower of the day...

Prickly Pear Cactus...

Back at the oasis, we flipped the calendar...it's April already !

And Edith loved her stickers, but only put the yellow bunnies on her shirt.  Yellow is her favorite color...mine too !

Our weather this week started just like last week with a couple of rainy days.  

Steady rain showers on Sunday...

Off and on again showers on Monday...

I snapped this photo on the way to an appointment Tuesday morning...snow capped peaks in the Rincon Mountains with low hanging clouds....

Afterwards, we took the long way home...

It never gets old...

The tulips Jamie and Andra brought me for Easter bloomed mid-week.

Our Desert Willows have a few leaves.

And the usual backyard visitors stopped by for a morsel or two.

We are in the midst of a home invasion.  The mosquito hawks have taken over.  Thank goodness they just aggravate us and do not bite.  They line up on the screen at the patio door and just wait till we open the door to fly inside.  Lamp shades, ceilings, windows seem to their favorite spots to stay.  

Sally had her third injection of Librela this week.  It is for pain control for osteoarthritis.  The results have changed Sally's life.  She is more active and actually hops around the house, her appetite is better, and she can stretch her back legs to clean her feet which she hasn't done in a really long time. 


And I loved the clouds at sunrise this morning when Sally and I went out.

So until next time,