Monday, 31 March 2014

More of Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood is really pretty. The story goes that the Ireys family was looking for land to ranch in the late 1940’s. At one ranch they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After 2 days of viewing different ranches, he asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “The one with the dead horse, Dad”. In 1973 when the Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Irey’s made retaining the name a condition of the sale. 

The RV sites are level and quite large. 

Our first site

Then we had to  move...

The day after we pulled in, there were 6 Airstreams in our loop. Several days later some had moved on, but there were 3 in the overflow campground [no services]. This is the most we have seen in one place during our whole trip thus far. We booked for a week; however, there is so much to see, we extended our time. The good news was that we were able to extend, the bad news was that we had to move and could only get 3 more nights.
We spent 2 days in Jerome, a small town up on the side of the mountain.
That is Jerome way up on the mountain, from our Campground
Once a roaring copper mining boom town of 15,000 people, to Arizona’s largest ghost town, and now Arizona’s most unique art and history destination. As you drive up 89A, you come to Clarkdale. At first we thought it was Jerome, until we looked up. There was Jerome perched on the hillside far above us at an elevation of 5246 ft, founded in 1876.

The story of Jerome

 As we got closer, driving up the switchback roads, we saw the sign for Jerome State Park, and decided to see it first. Several hours later, we had seen the Audrey Mineshaft, 

The Headframe

How miners were taken up or down into the mine

one of the main mineshafts of the Little Daisy Mine, just outside the Park, magnificent views of the countryside around, and an excellent museum, in the historic Douglas Mansion, 

Douglas Mansion
depicting the life and history of the mine and the town. In 1916, Douglas designed the house, built from adobe bricks made on the site, as a hotel for mining officials and investors, as well as his own family. 

The second day we decided to walk around the town and climb down the stairs instead of walking the switchbacks.

Looking down on Jerome from the Hotel at the top

The Grand Hotel

About the fifth level!

The second level of stores, hotels and homes

The views are magnificent. We could actually see Jerome from our second campsite, and could see the Park from Jerome. We decided to see where the road through Jerome went. Well, it continued to go up the mountain. We got high enough to get magnificent views of the valley, 
Looking back down to the valley
but decided to return to Jerome to explore.

We spent several days in Sedona, one walking the Upper Town and into Tlaquepaque, This is an Arts village, the fulfillment of a dream of businessman and entrepreneur, Abe Miller. He wanted to build a beautiful place for a living arts community reflecting the vitality and charm of Old Mexico. He finally acquired a nursery with a magnificent grove of sycamore trees. It is named for Abe’s favourite Mexican city. He and his contractor flew all over Mexico, visiting villages, photographing, and documenting life and architecture, looking for the look and feel of life in rural Mexico. They bought artifacts of Mexican culture, iron grillwork, carved doors, hand-made lanterns, clay pots, and benches. It is a delightful village with a wide variety of interesting shops, restaurants and galleries, and relaxing squares to sit and relax.
John enjoying a rest in one of the squares.

Note the cottonwoods

Unique shops

A quiet courtyard by the chapel

We spent the second visit hiking the Soldiers’ Pass, and then later, John hiked the Airport Loop by himself. We had been told the “Sedona is alright, if you like red.” Well, you certainly had to appreciate all shades of red, and it was more than “alright”, it was spectacular. 
Our first view of Sedona

A Sinkhole on Soldiers' Pass Trail

It is beautiful, a garden of cactii, set in red

Part of the Path, Soldiers' Pass

the Seven Sacred Pools

Steps on the Path

Everywhere you turned, beside, behind, around a corner, even sitting in a cafe having lunch, the colours were vibrant, the layers and the shapes fantastic. The cones and spears rose out of the ground, or shrubs. Words alone can’t describe the impact of this beauty. 

Looking down on Sedona from the Airport Loop

Airport  Loop Vista

Airport Loop Path

You have to love the RED!

Airport Loop Path- why I didn't go...

As we drove to Jerome or drove around our Park, we could see what appeared to be a ruins on a hill.

From Our Campground
Its name ,“Tutzigoot”,  fascinated us so we drove in. It was the site of a Pueblo, occupied between 1100 and 1425 AD, which once housed 300 people of the Sinagua culture, hunter-gatherers. 

Each room was for one family

One room

Each family would usually have its own room, or maybe two, plus larger common areas. The access to each home was through a ladder leading from the roof. One end was an excellent interpretive centre and museum.  

 The other interesting ruin we looked at, but could not get up to was Montezuma’s Castle. This was a pueblo-style dwelling of the Sinagua culture, 100ft above the ground in a huge cave in the rock face.
From the Museum, how a room might have looked

Montezuma Castle

Newer pueblos nearer the ground

 Access to these was by climbing up ladders. The museum and interpretive walk explained life for the early farmers.

In the Park, we met a rockhound and his wife. They spent part of each day going to various sites. He would come back with beautiful rocks, and cut them, then often share his finds with us,

Time to move on! We decided to go back south to Tucson for a few days, then head for New Mexico. We stayed at Catalina State Park, just outside Tucson.
We couldn't get into the Park so we stayed in the Overflow! - no services...
One of the interesting trips was to the top of Mount Lemmon, What an experience that was! The road winds up around the mountain to an altitude of over 9000 ft. 

We just came up this road!
You travel from the Sonoran Desert around Tucson through semi-desert grassland, to oak woodland, the Ponderosa pine forest and to the mixed conifer forest. There are lots of places to pull off the road and get a good look at the vistas around you.

Looking down on Tucson

Every 1000ft elevation change, is like travelling 300 miles north, in environmental changes

Getting higher.. more rocky hillsides

Good strong guard rails...

There were a lot of cyclists trudging up, and flying down

There was snow at the top, and even some on the ski-hill. 

John was in snow too, in sandals and shorts

Just before we left Tucson, we enjoyed wonderful lunch with friends who have a house in Phoenix. When we were at Lake Pleasant S.P., we were only 10 minutes from them, but didn’t have their address!
As we drove the highways around Tucson and Phoenix the decoration and desert landscaping on the overpasses, were interesting. 

Each one was different. 

In both Arizona and California, the ‘cats’ eyes’ on the roads made travel at night very easy. You knew exactly where the lanes and edges of the roads were. This was especially valuable for us being in unfamiliar territory, and on the few days it rained. 

Our last stop in Arizona was Roper Lake State Park.
Beautiful sites, level and wide
On the way we drove through a long, flat straight section of highway. Then we reached Cochise country, and unusual rock formations and mountains. 

Cochise country

Since I had pulled a muscle in my back, I was not much use moving things around. As long as I didn’t cough or lift anything, I was fine. The sites were large, and level. Each had its own shelter and table. We spent one day driving up to the large open-pit copper mine in Morenci. It was an amazing sight to see the extent of this open pit mine.

Driving into the valley

Driving up the mountain

Open Pit mine

Looking back at the town from the top of the mountain

On to New Mexico, to see White Sands National Monument and Carlsburg Caverns. Unbelievably amazing sights... Coming soon...


  1. Great images! I just completed a painting of a scene from Soldiers Pass, a Sedona trip I took three years ago. Your beautiful photos helped me confirm my notes had the right trail. Thank you! Ann

  2. The images posted here in this blog are so clear and so beautiful to represent its facilities.

    Arizona Ranches For sale