Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fremont Saddle and Weavers Needle 2016

This is a hike I did last winter with the hiking club here in the park. Click here for that post.  It's one I've been wanting to do again because the view of Weavers Needle is so spectacular that it draws you to climb up to the saddle and see it again. So when our friends Steve and Debbie McCormack of Down the Road wanted to do one more hike with us before we all split up and go our separate ways this summer I said absolutely. Glenda is still recovering from plantar fasciitis and her sprained ankle so my good friend Ron came along to round out the group. Ron had been there last year with the hiking club too and wanted to go back so we all got together last Saturday morning and met at elementary school on Peralta Rd that leads back to the Peralta Trailhead. Steve and Debbie had an early start to meet us from there location near Tucson. There are a number of trails that start at this trailhead so being a Saturday morning and a popular trailhead we were met with a full parking lot.

The road to the trailhead is about 5 miles of dirt and washboard road. We had to park about a 1/4 mile from the parking lot to start the hike. This hike gradually climbs up through some nice desert green near a wash and steadily climbs up the canyon. The elevation gain is about 1400 feet and the total miles round trip is about 5 miles. We added some distance by hiking out to the lone pine tree nearer to Weavers Needle.

We're taking this trail

We're going up there

A look back down the canyon


It was going to get up to the mid 80's so an early start was in order. We met Steve and Debbie and got to the trailhead about 8 am. We found the right trail on the map and headed out. It was a constant climb up and beautiful views back down the canyon. Soon we were getting near the saddle and saw some great rock structures.

Snail Rock

The hoodoos

It took about 2 hours to climb up with several stops along the way for water and to catch our breath. As we got to the top of the saddle I asked Debbie to close her eyes and I guided her to the edge of the saddle for her first view of Weavers Needle. (She is very trusting) :-)  Then I had her open her eyes to this view.

Weavers Needle and the Lone Pine Tree


She was totally blown away. Then Steve came up over the saddle and he had the same reaction. To me this hike and this view is magical. It just can't believe how beautiful the landscape is and the feel of awe in seeing this magnificent structure. We stood on the saddle and started our photo taking. I have photos from last year but the Needle still calls to me to take another picture. So I did. Several in fact. I even brought my new selfie stick that I plan to use when we go to Zion and Bryce Canyon NP's in June. Perfect way to try it out. It worked just as planned.



Ron, Me, Steve and Debbie

Steve and Debbie admiring the Needle


What a great invention. Anyway after some photo ops we headed to the lone pine tree in the distance. Going to the lone pine tree just gives you an additional perspective of the landscape and close up view of the Needle. It's about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile trek along a ridge to the pine tree. Once we got there and took a few more photos we sat down and had some lunch and admired our surroundings. We took panoramic photos.

Click on the photo to enlarge for a better view




 We took photos of the Needle and the pine tree.


We took photos of the Needle and the surrounding landscape just to give more perspective of the grandeur around us.


It was so difficult for me to leave this pristine area. This is pretty much my number one hike in Arizona. Yes...I did a more difficult hike to Flat Iron but that hike is more of an endurance hike accomplishment than a scenic hike like this. The best part was to do this hike with great friends and to see their reactions to what they were seeing. You can see the expression of appreciation on their faces for the beauty that abounded there.

Well after about an hour or so of cool breezes, warm sun and brilliant scenery, we had to start back down. the climb down can be just as arduous as the climb up but in a different way. Going up you use a lot of cardio to gain in elevation but going down you use your legs to cushion the jolts as you move from rock to rock and step to step along the trail. After a while your toes begin to ache from the constant bumping against the inside toe box of your boots. It took about 90 minutes to make our way back to the vehicles and head back to our park. We met up with Glenda and Ron's wife, Patsy, to get a bite to eat. After a quick clothes change and washing my face and hands I was ready for some lunch. Everyone was up for some Mexican food so we ended up at Los Gringos Locos in Apache Junction. The food is great and the beer goes so well with chips and salsa. The conversation was lively and everyone had a fun time. Steve and Debbie had about a 90 minute drive back to there rig at Picacho Peaks SP near Tucson. We said our goodbyes with hugs, handshakes and see you soons.

Thanks you to Steve and Debbie for making the long trip to do this hike with Ron and I. Next time Glenda is going to be healed up enough to get in on some of the action. I love this lifestyle and the friends we've made on our journey so far. People that are willing to travel, in some instances, great distances to meet up and hike, have lunch/dinner or just hang out. Looking forward to many more opportunities in the future. We have just two more days here before we head to River Island SP near Parker, AZ. Some cleaning, packing and preparing for travel. New adventures await us. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Goldfield Ghost Town....Catching up


With only about 10 days left before we head further west for April and May, we decided to go to the Goldfield Ghost Town near the Lost Dutchman State Park on Hwy 88 with our friends Ron and Patsy. They had been there before and thought we would enjoy it. We had been by the ghost town several times as we drove to different trailheads in the area but never stopped to check it out. Our opportunity arrived yesterday. This was an actual gold mine years ago with a great history. The ghost town is situated atop a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when very rich, high grade gold ore was found in the area. A town soon sprang up and on October 7, 1893 it received its first official post office. This “official” find, coupled with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which had been circulating for years, led plenty of new miners to the area and in no time, the town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. For five years the town boomed until there were about 1,500 folks residing in the city.

But like other gold camps, Goldfield’s bustling days were quickly dashed when the vein of gold ore started to play out and the grade of the ore dropped even more. Just five years after it began, the town found itself quickly dying. The miners moved on, the post office was discontinued on November 2, 1898, and Goldfield became a ghost town.

But Goldfield was obviously not destined to die permanently. In 1966, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a long time ghost town, mining, and treasure-hunting enthusiast made his first trip to the Superstition Mountains and instantly fell in love with the area. He moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1970 and soon began to dream of owning his own ghost town. He had heard of the old site of Goldfield, but upon inspection, he found little left other than a few foundations and rambling shacks. He and his wife, Lou Ann, then located another five-acre site that was once the location of the Goldfield Mill and decided with to rebuild the old town. Purchasing the old mill site in 1984, they first reconstructed a mining tunnel, which included a snack bar and opened for business in 1988. Next came a photo shop, the Blue Nugget, a General Store, the Mammoth Saloon and the Goldfield Museum.

Today, Goldfield is filled with authentic looking buildings, includes underground mine tours, and the only narrow gauge railroad in operation in Arizona. Numerous shops and buildings include a brothel(not real), bakery, leather works, a jail, livery, and more. The authentic looking street is filled with people in period costume, horses and wagons, and sometimes authentic gunfighter presentations.

After arriving we headed to the zip line attraction. Patsy could never get the nerve up to go but this time she was determined. It's actually billed as the "safest zip line in the country". What could go wrong?




It's quite a set up. You sit in a chair and get belted in then they pull you back to the high point and release the chair and zip, zoom you're on the zip line coming in for a landing. Patsy had quite an expression on her face that I can't show you. She definitely had fun and glad she did it.

We then headed up main street and looked at the many shops selling jewelry, clothing, pottery, art work, metal work and sundries. There's also a couple of restaurants and some historic buildings.

Click on the photos for better viewing.




We bought tickets to ride the narrow gauge train around the property with a great engineer that gave a wonderful account of the history of the ghost town.







From the train there was a great vantage point for a photo of the Superstition Mountains and an old train car that carried ore from the mine. We just love the desert and the history associated here.



After the train ride we continued our tour of the town. They have gold panning, a shooting range, a mystery house with optical illusions and we came across an old church for viewing.


After our tour it was close to lunch so we headed over to the Mammoth Restaurant. It's an old time setting with indoor and outdoor seating. I forgot to get some photos of the inside the I did get an nice picture of the mountains from our table.


We even saw some cowboys and their horses as they left the restaurant.




It was a great meal and everyone enjoyed their entrée. I had the Giant Mammoth Burger. It was a 1/3 lb. patty with lettuce, mushrooms and pepperjack cheese. Very delicious. After lunch we did some more sightseeing and I got some additional photos I thought were cool.






We even had a replica of an old west cemetery.



Of course it was all in fun and with the theme of the ghost town.

The desert is in bloom now so I got some nice photos of some of those blooms.




It was getting hot and we had seen most everything we came to see. The only thing we didn't do was the tour of the gold mine. It was a little more that we wanted to spend for that attraction so we skipped it and made our way to the parking lot and back home. Maybe next year.

I highly recommend if you're in the area of Apache Junction of even the Phoenix area for that matter, go see the Goldfield Ghost Town. It does give you a small glimpse of the old west. They even have gunfights in the streets on weekends.

Well that gets me caught up on our activities to date. Today was a run errands day and playing some pool with friends in the billiards room. Tomorrow I need to get back to work and get the truck waxed one more time before we start traveling again. Oh well, that's my life. I think I'll keep it. :-)


Monday, March 21, 2016

Bike ride on the Indian Bend Wash Trail

We're trying to get in as many activities as we can in the short time we still have here at Canyon Vistas RV Park. We've been here since mid October but how time flies. We got together with our friends. Ron and Patsy last week to ride our bikes on the Indian Bend Wash Trail. This is actually an urban trail.

The Indian Bend Wash Trail follows the banks of Indian Bend Wash between Scottsdale and Tempe. The paved path connects a number of public parks, schools and businesses. A highlight of the route is Scottsdale's Eldorado Park, which is located about mid-trail. The 60-acre park offers a swimming pool, fishing lake, athletic facilities, skate park, playgrounds and picnic areas. Farther north, the lake in Chaparral Park offers a popular place to fish and walk around.
The path is also an important link in the local trail network as it connects to the Rio Salado Paths at its southern end (which follows both of Tempe Town Lake's shores) and both the Arizona Canal Path (which heads west to Phoenix) and Central Arizona Project to Arizona Canal Trail at its northern end.

We parked at the Agua Linda Park on the corner of McDonald Rd and Pima Rd and rode on a connector path to the main trail. The connector path follows along  part of the Silverado Golf Course in Scottsdale.


We started south on the trail until we came to Chaparral Park where we had ridden to before from Tempe Town Lake. Then we headed back north through several parks in Scottsdale.



A gated community with some big houses

Silverado Golf Course

We took our time and stopped several times to enjoy the views and some shade. We had to cross some streets but typically there were underpasses to keep us away from the traffic.



We came through one underpass with a view of a lake and fountain. The lake was large enough that there were some small pontoon boats that residents could troll around on. It's amazing how this trail connects some many parks and communities. We had a fun time and hope to get one more ride in before we leave for the summer.

As we came back to our connector trail, Ron and Patsy didn't hear me call out that we needed to turn so they continued on a short ways until they realized we weren't behind them and they had to turn around. Here they come back to us.


We still have several things we plan to do before we leave at the end of the month. As a matter of fact we just got back from The Goldfield Ghost Town. That's another post with lots of photos.

We're in the rig this afternoon until the sun goes down a little. Got up to 93 today. Well time to relax and maybe go for a bike ride around the park later. Thanks for following along.






Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring Training Game.....Thanks Steve

Our good friends Steve and Debbie McCormack from Down the Road came to Canyon Vistas to be with us for the month of March. So Steve invited me to join him for a Spring Training game between the SF Giants and TX Rangers last Monday. Steve usually would go to a game with his dad but his dad wasn't able to go due to some health issues. So I was fortunate to have the opportunity.

Steve picked me up Monday morning and we drove over to Surprise, AZ to first see his Dad for a short visit at Happy Trails RV park. We then drove over to the KC Royals/TX Rangers spring training park. These two teams share a facility in Surprise, AZ.


The sign tells you who is playing that day for both teams

After getting parked we headed into the ballpark.
We took a walk around the park and checked out the food and beer booths. This is a special time of year for fans especially for kids because the spring training parks are much smaller so you get closer to the players and the action. There are many opportunities for kids to get autographs, signed balls and maybe even a foul ball.

We had seats behind the SF Giants dugout since Steve is a huge Giants fan. Great seats for sure.

Behind the dugout


Buster Posey - catcher

Some of the main players for both teams were playing but there were a number of players we didn't know since teams will bring in young players from their farm teams to see if they have what it takes to make the big leagues. Buster Posey and Jake Peavey were a couple of the main players for the Giants that played a few innings. Since Steve is a Giants fan we didn't really concentrate on who was playing for the Rangers however there were a couple of players we recognized.

After perusing the food and drink, making our purchases and finding our seats the game started.

Prince Fielder at bat

Jake Peavey pitching

The Giants scored first in the first inning but the Rangers tied it up a couple of innings later. It was back and forth throughout the game until the eighth inning when the Giants went ahead but unfortunately in the bottom of the ninth the Rangers got to the young pitcher and scored the winning run to end the game. There were about 6,000 fans in attendance so it was pretty easy to make our way back home. Something I will be doing again in the future.

Enlarge this panoramic view of the park

What a great time with a great friend. Even though I'm a Cubs fan (I know) I did root for the Giants just for Steve. But come the regular season that ends. :-)  Sorry Steve. It was a perfect day for baseball.

I can't thank you enough Steve for sharing this day with me.