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Friday, March 3, 2017

Kauai

I am very lucky to have been to all the main Hawaiian islands once, this was my second trip to Kauai, my first time being seven years ago. It is such a beautiful island with so much wilderness and hiking trails. The first time we didn't stay very long, and I only got to do about three hikes so I knew at some point I would have to return. Although not much else has changed since my last visit, it did used to be a lot cheaper, hotel and flight prices have gone way up.

Waimea Canyon.

Kauai is not a huge island, there are really only two ways to go, one highway leads to the east and north shores, the other to the south and west shores.
It's called the Garden Island for a reason, lush green beauty. If you do not hike or enjoy nature then there are less reasons to vacation there, the towns are small, and there are not a lot of other things to do.

Lush greenery on Kauai.

The highways do not go all the way around the island, and the NaPali Coast that is in between is one of the main attractions for tourists. NaPali literally means "the cliffs" and they are incredibly stunning and are only accessible by boat, air, or hiking trails. I have managed to see this area in all three ways. Seven years ago we splurged and did the helicopter tour, this time we went by boat, and I have now also hiked in to several overlooks.

One of my favorite hikes was the Nu'alolo Trail. This once could be done as a big loop, with several amazing views, but the middle cliff section of the trail has washed/eroded away and so now you can only hike out to the viewpoint and back. On the day I did this hike it started out quite lovely, weather wise. When I arrived at Lolo Vista Point overlooking Nu'alolo Valley, I had time to take pictures, check out some of the wild goats, and sit down to eat lunch. Shortly thereafter the fog and clouds rolled in and completely obliterated any views, in fact a few people who had hiked the four miles down after me, saw absolutely nothing for their trouble. As I started hiking back, it started to rain... hard. The trails in Kauai are red clay and very slippery, I was very glad they were dry on the way down, but the more it rained, the more they turned into small streams. My trusty hiking boots saved the day, but I ran into a couple of people trying to climb back up the steep sections with just regular running shoes and they were having a really hard time. Although I ended up completely drenched this hike was amazing, and one I will always remember.

The NaPali Coast from the Lolo Vista Point.

Wild goats on the Nu'alolo Trail.

Waimea Canyon is also quite something to behold, Hawaii's version of the Grand Canyon, it is 10 miles long and about 3600 feet deep. Most people just drive up and stop at all the various overlooks and get their fill of glorious views, but the state park also has a lot of hiking trails to get a little more up close and personal. Unfortunately one of the roads that led to several trails was closed during my visit, but I still had quite a few options. A popular short and scenic hike leads to Waipo'o Falls, the scenic part is actually of the canyon on the way, once you actually get to the falls, you are in the middle of them, so all you really see is the creek. A great view of the whole shebang is from the Pu'u Ka Pele Overlook.


Waipo'o Falls from afar.

On the trail to Waipo'o Falls, yup, that's a rooster.

The Kukui Trail is not at the deepest part of the canyon, consequently you can hike to the bottom and back in five miles. I did the falls hike in the morning and then did this one afterwards, but I only went about halfway down to a great viewpoint.

On the Kukui Trail.

A really nice hike that I did on my last visit, but decided not to repeat this time is the Pihea Trail. My mom and her friend Chantal came on this trip with me, but we mostly did separate daytime activities, since they did not want to do long or tricky hikes. They decided to do the first section of the Pihea Trail and I met them there after doing a different hike in the same area.
Although many people just stick to checking out the first part of the trail with the beautiful view of the Kalalau Valley you can continue on and do an 8 mile hike along the Alaka'i Swamp Trail to a viewpoint overlooking the north shore.

Chantal hikes down the Pihea Trail.

On the Alaka'i Swamp Trail boardwalk, back in 2010.

The Sleeping Giant or Nounou Mountain Trail is relatively easy, except for the steep last mile, and is closer to civilization than some of the other hikes. Once on the top you get a great view down to Kapa'a.

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View of Kapa'a from the top of The Sleeping Giant.

Cook Island Pines on the Sleeping Giant hike.

In my guidebook there is a section on hiking trails and then another section for "adventures".
The hike to Honopu Ridge was categorized as an adventure because the trail is unmaintained and I guess there is the potential to take a wrong turn. I found it pretty easy to stay on the correct trail especially since there was a lot of flagging tape along the way. But I definitely had to do some crouching through tunnels of prickly ferns and crawling over logs. Once at the viewpoint, it was all worth it. The trail continued on after that another half a mile or so, but one section stopped me in my tracks, straight down, very slippery, with nothing to hang on to, so I called it quits and headed back.

On the unmaintained trail to Honopu Ridge.

Honopu Ridge.

On our first visit to Kauai my mom and I were driving down the highway and we kept seeing chickens along the road, at first we just thought somebodies chickens were running amok, but we quickly learned that this island is known for the "wild" chickens. In 1992 there was a hurricane and a lot of chickens got loose and stayed that way forever after. They are EVERYWHERE, you will see them while hiking in the jungle, at the beach, in the Safeway parking lot. It becomes abnormal to be somewhere and not hear a cockadoodledoo. Consequently, in order to actually sleep, I kept the fan on high in my hotel room to drown out the constant noise.


Chickens rule Kauai.

On days I wasn't hiking I would visit some of the tourist vistas, and the many beautiful beaches.
The Kilauea Lighthouse is one of the places you can just take a look at from afar, or you can pay $5.00 to go down onto the bluff and wander around.

The Kilauea Lighthouse.

On a particularly stormy day I decided to go over to the west side where the weather is generally better. I drove out to Polihale State Park, which is easier said then done, once the pavement ends there is a 45 minute drive over an extremely potholed road. It would be faster with a high clearance vehicle but I just had my little Chevy Spark rental car. This area rarely gets wind or precipitation but on this day it was just howling, with blowing sand and rain. I did not want to damage my camera so I just took a few pictures with my phone. This is the end of the line where the NaPali Coast starts and there is a 15 mile stretch of pristine beach along here.

A few other people attempt to walk along the beach while being nearly knocked over by the wind.

Two waterfalls you can easily drive to, with no hiking required, are Wailua and Opaeka'a Falls.


Wailua Falls.

Opaeka'a Falls

The Spouting Horn is on the south shore and fun to check out especially when the waves are really crashing.

The Spouting Horn.

Sunset by the Spouting Horn in Poipu.

On my birthday my mom and I did a boat tour of the NaPali Coast. ( Chantal does not do boats.) We used Liko Kauai Cruises, they provide a five hour tour either in the morning or afternoon, we did the morning option, and it included getting up close and personal with the beautiful NaPali Coast, ( in winter they cannot stop at any beaches or caves because of rough seas, but we still got very close to shore ) about an hour of snorkeling, and we also saw both Spinner and Bottlenose Dolphins. On the way back we looked for whales, spotted a couple breaching in the distance, and got as close to them as I have ever been in my life...... which was amazing. The two guides Mike and Dave (both humorous and informative guys) had a hydrophone contraption that they lowered into the water so we could hear the whales singing.


On the Liko Kauai boat tour.

The NaPali Coast by boat.

Spinner Dolphins.

Along the NaPali coast by boat.

A few of the hikes on Kauai are kind of on the death defying side. I decided to do the Okolehao Trail over in Hanalei. It's a steep first mile or so, then it gets to a picnic bench with a good view, but from there the trail continues, as did I. In these kind of mountains, a lot of the trails run along a ridgeline that is the width of the trail with sheer drop offs of thousands of feet on either side, paying attention is important, there is no room for error.
On a side note: On the earlier mentioned Pihea Trail, my mom wanted to sit down and have lunch while looking at the view, she was literally about to perch herself on the very edge of a 3000 foot cliff, when I mentioned perhaps she should rethink that. It is somewhat deceiving because there is a lot of vegetation along the edges of the trails making it not that easy to see that there is nothing but thin air right beside your foot.

As I continued along the Okolehao Trail, it got narrower and narrower and there were several steep slopes where I had to use ropes to make my way up and down the trail.
As I was hiking an incredibly loud siren started, which I assumed was a tsunami warning. I could see down to the beach and kept an eye out for the supposed tsunami while being alternately grateful I was not in harms way, and wondering where my mom and Chantal were. In any case, it turns out they test the sirens at the exact same time on the first business day of every month. Good to know.


Hanalei, the Okolehao hike is in the mountains to the left.

Taro fields in Hanalei.

Some beaches are easy to just drive to, but some require a short walk or hike.
Larsens Beach is one that took a little while to hike down to. I continued on the inland trail for awhile once I reached the beach and as I finally headed out onto the sand I stumbled right into a group of nudists...oops. I chose to take no pictures from that particular incident.

We spent a day snorkeling at Poipu Beach, and there were two monk seals napping on the sand while we were there, which is a very common occurrence. Someone comes along and puts ropes around them and signs to keep people from getting too close, and then they sit nearby and guard them. I saw the seals on two different days, the beach was quiet the first time, but it was jam packed the second time, and the seals just kept sleeping, completely oblivious to all the commotion.


Monk seal at Poipu Beach.

On the hike down to SeaLodge Beach.

At Secret Beach.

My shade tree at Donkey Beach.

Ever feel like you are being watched? The sand crabs are plentiful.

Hanakapi'ai Falls was a hike I was really looking forward to. It starts on the Kalalau Trail at the far end of the north shore. On the day I decided to do it I arrived at the trailhead and was unable to find a spot to park my tiny car, even in the overflow parking area or along the road. I eventually gave up and did other things that day, however the next time I tried, I left the hotel REALLY early and managed to snag a spot this time, still not in the main area, but close enough. The first couple of miles are above and along the shore, then you get to a river, cross it, and start hiking up into a valley to get to the falls. On a side note: After the Kalalau trail crosses the river it continues along the shore and into the NaPali Coast, it is 11 miles one way and you need a permit to continue, you will need to backpack and spend a few nights out there. Although I did not do that, I can only imagine it would be an amazing experience.

I brought water shoes to change into knowing I had to wade across the river, I then hid them in the bushes for my return. What I was not aware of was that there were going to be several other crossings along the way over the same river, I lost track of how many, but I just did what most everyone else was doing and boulder hopped across them all.... I was very pleased that I managed to not end up in the drink. Others were not so lucky.

Ke'e Beach. Where the Kalalau Trail starts.

On the Kalalau Trail.

Hanakapi'ai Falls.

The Nene's (Hawaiian Geese) in Hawaii are plentiful and found nowhere else on earth, they are also very photogenic.

Nene, (Hawaiian Goose)

On the way to Ho'opi'i Falls.

One of my favorite walks was to the Maha'ulepu beaches. You used to be able to drive there in a regular car along a dirt road, but the road now resembles a rollercoaster, although a lot of people still attempt to drive it, and do not seem phased to be scraping the heck out of the bottoms of their rental cars, but I thought a better idea was to walk in from another direction. Pictures unfortunately do not do this area justice, the blue of the water, and the lithified cliffs are stunning. Oddly although it is not a long trek, no one seems to wander very far afield, and it's nice and unpopulated the farther you walk.


Maha'ulepu Beach area.

Lithified cliffs at Maha'ulepu Beaches.

There are more lithified cliffs, also worth a visit, over by the Hyatt in Poipu..

Lithified cliffs in Poipu.

The locals in Kauai are very friendly, and sometimes they do very entertaining things, this guy made me wonder why I shelled out so much money for a trailer when I could have just tied my horse to my bumper. A couple of minutes after I took the picture he drove through a river pulling the mule along behind him.



The locals have a wide variety of fishing techniques. Some of them risk life and limb out on rocky outcroppings along the ocean wielding a knife and trying to harvest opihi (an edible shellfish) while waves crash all around them. Others use safer methods, like the island tradition of using throw nets.


A local throw net fisherman.

The Allerton Gardens was a favorite experience of ours back in 2010, however on this trip I opted not to go again, but my mom and Chantal went and reported back that it is now almost twice as expensive, it wasn't cheap to start with, and the tour is not as good. The famous Moreton Bay Fig tree from the Jurassic Park movie is in the garden as well as a lot of flora that is very unique. If you like gardens Hawaii is definitely the place to visit one, I have been to some amazing ones on all of the different islands.

The Moreton Bay Fig tree where they found the dinosaur eggs in Jurassic Park.

I also visited the Kauai Hindu Monastery, the main temple and some of the other areas are not open to the public, but the view of the Wailua River from the grounds was worth checking out.


The Wailua River from the grounds of the Hindu Monastery.

Although my trip went very well, the flight back did not, what is fast becoming one of my least favorite activities, spending the night in an airport, happened to me twice in the space of one year and I only flew three times!


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For my other blogs specifically about Hawaii:

The Big Island

Maui




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona

I have decided if I am going to continue living in the gorgeous state of Oregon, I need
to travel a bit more in the winters.... or become a snowbird. (I am working on that angle. I am not a fan of winter.) But for this year I did a two week trip to the areas around Phoenix and Tucson, I will go back to explore the rest of Arizona at a warmer time of the year.
December is usually 60's and 70's which the locals think is cold. They can tell who is a tourist by the fact that we are wearing shorts and T shirts while they are all bundled up. I lost track of how many people commented on my attire, women would ask me "wasn't I cold" and men would remark that I am obviously from out of state.


Goat Mountain on the Apache Trail.

The first week I stayed in Old Town Scottsdale which I thought was a better option than downtown Phoenix. As I was driving around Scottsdale looking for a grocery store on my first evening, I happened upon Frys Food and Drug.
As I was shopping I started to notice a lot of their stuff looked familiar and when I got to the checkout I was pleased to see that it is the same as a Fred Meyer at home, so I could use my membership card for food, and also to get cheaper gas.

Being a hiker, I spent most of my time finding trails to explore, but I also checked out all the different towns that were relatively close, and did a few touristy things as well.


On day one I went over to Cave Creek and Carefree. This is where I found the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area where you can hike and ride horses, and right next to it is the Jewel of the Creek Preserve where I went for a short stroll. I noticed there is an effort to blend the colors of the houses in with nature as much as possible. Also in this area, the neighborhoods were all solar powered, with no unsightly power lines at all.
Carefree is right next door to Cave Creek, both are horsey western towns. Carefree had streets with names like Ho and Hum Rds., Nonchalant Ave, and Lazy Lane.

On the Jewel of the Creek Preserve, Cave Creek.

I also visited Apache Junction, and while I was there of course I had to check out Goldfield Ghost Town which is quite the kitschy tourist trap.
I wandered around looking at the various shops, had some ice cream, and managed to not get sucked into an expensive tour of the mine, or a visit into the vortex. I had mostly heard about this place previously because you can camp here with your horse and ride right up to the bar at the Mammoth Saloon. They have a whole "horse parking" section in front of the saloon with hitching rails.

Goldfield Ghost Town.

December is obviously not high tourist season yet, I found myself going to places where I was either alone or just one of a few people milling about. Of course it is nice to beat the crowds, but I did notice several tourist destinations were closed and/or being renovated, since they know it is the slow season. On the other hand when I did arrive somewhere, the employees, who were obviously bored to tears, were pretty ecstatic to see me, and I got a lot of attention and some in depth tours and information I might not have otherwise.

Living in the NW and being used to looking at a mountain in the distance, and seeing tall
greenery on it, you just assume they are trees, but here they are giant saguaros.Takes a little getting used to. And they are everywhere, plus of course a million other varieties of cactus. Not an ideal place for bushwacking. Although bushwack I did do, but more about that later...

Saguaro's by the millions.

A typical cactus filled trail.

The Superstition Mountains quickly became my favorite destination.
I spent a couple of days hiking there and I also drove the Apache Trail which is a 150 mile loop starting from Apache Junction. There is some beautiful scenery to behold as you drive past Canyon Lake, Apache Lake and then Roosevelt Dam and Lake. The road turns to dirt for a pretty long while and there is one stretch that is narrow and cliffy. Fish Creek Canyon is at the bottom of this. I stopped to look around and noticed a few guys were doing a short hike over to a cave, as I was observing them I noticed movement on the hill way above their heads. It was a Bighorn Sheep who had gotten spooked from the noise the guys were making, and they had no idea he was even there.


A long stretch of the Apache Trail is a narrow dirt road with cliff sections.

At Tortilla Flat. On the Apache Trail.

At Tortilla Flat. On the Apache Trail.

A Bighorn Sheep in Fish Creek Canyon.

Apache Lake.

Apache Lake on the Apache Trail.

After passing Roosevelt Dam, I found Frazier campground right on Roosevelt Lake, I just drove in to look around and lo and behold I stumbled across a horse camp. One horse person was camped there at the time, and there was also a host. I also checked out the trailhead that leads up into the cactus strewn hills above camp, and eventually to the Arizona Trail.


Roosevelt Dam.

Frazier Horse Camp at Roosevelt Lake.

Roosevelt Lake.

If driving this loop clockwise, once you get back onto pavement, the Salado Cliff Dwellings are the next stop and they are really interesting. You have two choices, arrive anytime and
do a fairly steep half a mile walk up to see the Lower Cliff Dwellings, which is what I did.
Or you can reserve a spot on a tour of the Upper Cliff Dwellings which are in better shape ( the
lower dwellings were vandalized quite a bit back when the dam was being built, and before anyone thought to protect them.) Because of the lack of time, since I was doing the whole drive in one day, I did not reserve a spot, but they have the tours four days a week starting at 10:00 am.

The Lower Salado Cliff Dwellings.

Inside the Lower Salado Cliff Dwellings.

Lots of rattlers in AZ.  I found this little guy on the trail, a little unusual to see them out on a colder (for them) day.

I did of course keep an eye out in my travels for horse trails.There does seem to be quite a few options. When I would go on a hike somewhere I would pretty much always see another area for parking trailers. But I have to say for me personally, riding in this part of AZ would be pretty deja vu with a lot of the same scenery.

I hiked the Peralta Canyon Trail in the Superstition's and it was very pretty. This trail is open to horses but I would suggest using one of the other trails to get into the same area...this trail has a lot of boulders and some sections that would be tricky. Once reaching the saddle you get a great view of Weavers Needle.


On the Peralta Canyon Trail.

On the Peralta Canyon Trail.

Weavers Needle.

I also hiked the Hieroglyphic Trail which takes you to an area with petroglyphs, and some pools of water left over from the last time it rained. From there I wanted to keep hiking so although the trail technically ends at the petroglyphs I kept climbing up the canyon which turned into my aforementioned bushwacking experience. I was bouldering for several hours following some cairns placed along the way. I guess you can eventually climb all the way up to the Superstition Rim Trail, but I did not go that far. There are always a lot of people hiking on the trails no matter what day of the week, so it was nice to get away from the crowds for awhile. I looked a bit rough by the end of the day, my legs got pretty scratched up from the small thorn filled bushes along the way, but it was worth it.

On the Hieroglyphic Trail.

The end of the Hieroglyphic Trail.

Some of the Petroglyphs.

Where I finally stopped bushwacking.

I also visited Wickenburg to see what all the fuss was about, a lot of horse people I know winter there. Just looked like a regular town to me, so after checking it out, I did a short hike over at Vultures Peak.

The Jail Tree in Wickenberg. Outlaws were chained here.

Vultures Peak outside Wickenberg. Lots of cholla cactus.

My hotel was very close to Papago Park, which has some red rocks that look fake, but aren't.
I stopped in one day on my way home, and checked out "hole in the rock".
This is also where I saw my first road runner, this was very exciting, having watched the cartoon an awful lot as a child.

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park.

A roadrunner.

I also visited a couple of attractions in Phoenix, the Pueblo Grande museum and archaeological site and the Heard Museum.
They were both interesting, the Heard Museum is all American Indian collections and art, and the archaeological site is ruins from the Hohokam Indians who lived and farmed in the area sometime back before AD 500.


The second week I spent in Tucson and it ended up being a revelation to me. I assumed it would be just like Phoenix, and parts of it are, but if you head east you will arrive in the grasslands which are beautiful. And there are so many mountain ranges in the Tucson area that are high elevation which meant some lovely hikes amongst grass and trees, and a whole lot less cactus!


The drive from Phoenix to Tucson doesn't take very long, so once I arrived I stopped at the west side of Saguaro National Park, noticed that the road was closed, you could still get into the visitors center but none of the actual park, so I left and went to the San Xavier Mission instead.

San Xavier Mission.

Inside San Xavier Mission.

The next day I went to Tombstone, it seemed like a tourist destination I probably had to see. Besides just walking up and down the street and/or shopping they have a few options for entertainment, you can go on a mine tour, visit the Bird Cage Theater which has original items in it from when it was in operation as a theater/brothel.
Or you can see the reenactment of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. I opted for that. With my $10.00 entry fee, I saw the reenactment, the original dirt lot where the actual gunfight occurred, several museums and a film about the history of Tombstone. Also as a souvenir I got a copy of the Tombstone Epitaph (the newspaper) from the day of the gunfight in 1881.


Tombstone.

Actors walk the street for ambience.

Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday await us at the OK Corral.

The actual dirt lot where the real gunfight occurred.

The Boothill graveyard in Tombstone where the four who died that day are buried.

After Tombstone I drove over to the really cute mining town of Bisbee and also checked out the giant hole in the earth that used to be the Lavender Pit Copper Mine.

Bisbee.

The Lavender Pit Copper Mine, they stopped mining it in 1975.

I had a guidebook which I used on this trip, but I may now use it for fire starter, I was not pleased with the amount of inaccuracies in it. It barely touched on the Madera Canyon area in the Santa Rita Mountains, but I decided to check it out anyway and was really happy I did. This is a very popular place for birders and there are plenty of trails to explore. I did a loop hike along the Old Baldy Trail and down the Super Trail.

On the Old Baldy Trail.

The Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest.

Although a bit of a drive from the Tucson area, Chiricahua National Monument was a must see for me. I've been to Bryce Canyon before and although the hoodoos/formations in Chiricahua are made from different substances and are less colorful, the similarities are obvious.
I left my hotel at the crack of dawn in order to get there before 9:am. The reason for this is they have a great option for hiking in the park, they will take you in a shuttle ( only once per day) to the farthest trailhead, drop you off, and you can hike back to the visitors center. There is a short way back or a longer way, just over 7 miles, which is what I did.
This park is free, and you can also ride horses there, although one area, Heart of Rocks which is probably the most spectacular, is off limits to horses due to the trail being too narrow and rocky in places. I found a couple of tarantulas while on my hike, they were medium sized as far as tarantulas go, and I am not scared of spiders, but it did make me slightly more alert than normal when I sat down a little while later to eat lunch.


Chiricahua National Monument.

Found two tarantulas on the trail.

Rock formations in Chiricahua National Monument.

In the Heart Of Rocks section, some of the formations are named. This is The Old Maid.

Balancing Rock.

 Chiricahua National Monument.

Willcox which is the closest town to the Monument cracked me up, although temperatures were in the 70's the Dairy Queen does not operate in the winter.

Nobody wants ice cream in the winter around here.

On another day I went on a scenic drive through the mountains and ended up in Sonoita and Patagonia. Both of these are very small, not particularly interesting towns, but they are in the grasslands which I loved. I visited what was once the Empire Ranch but is now a huge piece of BLM in Sonoita. The ranch buildings are still there and I toured around the area for awhile wishing I had my horse with me.

The grasslands in Sonoita, this is a very large piece of BLM.

In the town of Hereford there is an army garrison called Fort Huachuca. My guidebook had said there was an interesting museum to see, so I turned to drive in, and realized I was going to have to go through a checkpoint, and it was too late to back up. My guidebook also said that all you need to do is show picture ID, so I whipped out my license. The lady then proceeded to ask me if I had a military ID, I said no, so she held up traffic for me to turn around and get back out of there...sigh, have I mentioned the guidebook was lame.

I decided to check out the Coronado National Memorial, which is right smack up against the border to Mexico. At the visitors center I got a brochure/map and as I was driving up to Montezuma Pass on a narrow dirt road, I passed a sign warning of the dangers associated with this area. However once I got to the top of the pass, there was an abundance of border guards, and a couple of people picnicking, so I set off to hike to the border on the Arizona Trail. Once I arrived at the fence, there was a large hole cut in it, so you can step on over into Mexico and say you have been there, so that is indeed what I did.


Lots of border guards at Montezuma's Pass.

Signage in the park.

Looking down into Mexico.

The border, with a convenient hole in the fence.

On another day I drove over to the town of Oracle, I had planned to check it out first, then turn around, go back to Tucson and then proceed to drive up to Mt. Lemmon. But as I was driving through Oracle I saw a sign pointing towards Mt. Lemmon from there, so I thought I would follow it for awhile. It turned to dirt fairly soon, and I passed a horse camp (Hay Creek Ranch) and then found myself out in the middle of nowhere for a long time. Eventually I had to turn around, after awhile the road was not suitable for small rental cars. On  my way back, closer to civilization again, I found a pull out where you can park and hike/ride the Arizona Trail so I went for a short walk there.

Views on the back road to Mt. Lemmon.

A pull out to access the Arizona Trail.

The next day I went ahead and did what I had planned to do the day before, and drove up the main paved road that goes through the Santa Catalina Mountains and eventually to Mt. Lemmon which is the highest peak. There are a lot of places to stop and admire the views. At the top is the ski hill, although it was still closed, with no snow to speak of up there yet.


Views on the drive up to Mt. Lemmon.

Rock climbers on the way up to Mt. Lemmon.

Found another horse camp on the way up to Mt. Lemmon. This is at the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area.


The following day I had to fly home, leaving behind a very warm day of over 80 degrees to find myself at home in over a foot of snow, and with a frozen well. Ugh. Back to reality.

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