Sunday, March 26, 2017

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, March 17, 2017 - Four Peaks Mountain

The temperatures here in Mesa have been in the mid 90’s this week so on Wednesday we decided to head someplace cooler – Four Peaks Mountain.

Although this area is part of the Tonto National Forest at this level actual trees are few and far between.  But, the scenery is still spectacular.

We are once again following our friend, Bill, who has another of our friends, John, with him this time.

We start out at a level low enough that the Saguaro cactus are plentiful.

We are climbing up the mountain with some steep drop-offs on the driver’s side.

Another scenery shot.

The trail where we are heading is off to the left.

The view going up.

We are high enough now that the Saguaro cactus have disappeared.

This trail which will cover 28 miles before we are done for the day had a few minor water crossings.

The scenery changes as we go up – lots of huge rocks here.

You can see the trail we are heading to up ahead.

This trail is milder than the one we did last week.  Greg liked last week’s better.  We were laughing about the irony of us selling the motorcycle because family and friends were afraid we would get hurt.  We bought a Jeep and they were happy.  But, now we have discovered off road Jeep trails and Greg declares these things have a roll bar in them for a reason – we haven’t grown up yet!!

Scenery has now changed to the forest.

There is still snow on the mountain.  We aren’t heading up there, that’s a bit too cold, but it’s pretty to look at.

Yes, we are really this close to this rock.

There is a hairpin curve around the rock formation.  I was trying to get a picture of the cross that sits up on top of the rock.  I couldn’t accomplish that until we were around it so I snapped this picture looking back.

Here is the photographer at work.

We stopped to stretch our legs at a little over 6300 feet elevation.  We got new tires on the Jeep since our last venture out.  In some of the steep sandy places today we were glad we did.

From our rest stop until we made it down the other side of the mountain we had great views of Roosevelt Lake.

Heading back down the mountain.

Our trail is up ahead.

Arizona round about

We saw several cattle guards, but not one cow.  In fact, we saw no animals at all.

Most of the desert flowers that are out so far are very small and don’t really show up well in pictures taken from a moving Jeep.

Roosevelt Lake up close.

Back on the highway headed home we crossed the bridge over Roosevelt Lake.

We stopped briefly at the Tonto National Monument.  It preserves some cliff dwellings.  This will be a destination for another day.

Just before we got home I was reminded of the phrase “purple mountain majesty”
Yesterday we square danced for a couple of hours, but most of the day we followed the college basketball games on TV.

I started out today by going to my first yoga class.  It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, in fact I enjoyed it.  The instructor started off by saying today was going to be an easy day and I was glad.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - Off Highway in Bulldog Canyon

Last week we got our permit to go off highway in the desert at Bulldog Canyon.  Even though target practice is prohibited, looks like some people can’t read.

We headed in behind our friend, Bill.  He works at the grill also and does a lot of off roading with his Jeep.

The pictures I took on this excursion were taken through dusty windows while bouncing up and down (the road was a lot rougher and narrower than I anticipated).  We spent most of the day out here and had a good time.

A lot of the pictures I took through the front window had my reflection in them when the sun was hitting just right.

The horses didn’t really want to share the road.  We got lucky and only met two vehicles coming toward us, luckily there was room to pull off the road so both vehicles could be accommodated.

This is Bill getting a little more adventuresome than we are (or at least me).

The scenery out here is beautiful but the desert isn’t in full bloom yet – maybe next week.  Since we have had so much rain it is anticipated by everyone around here that the desert blooms will be great.

We did pass this one spot where the desert poppies were beautiful.

We stopped for a photo op at a place where the road was wide enough that other vehicles could pass us.  Our Jeep is the one in back.

We left home at 10:00 and rode on the trails until we took a lunch break at the Saguaro Lake Marina restaurant.

This is where I got my only wildlife shot of the day.

We took a tour of this lake last year, it is huge and the scenery is amazing.  After lunch we headed back to the desert.