Our next target for an extended stay after the visit to Page, AZ was Santa Fe, NM. The distance between Page and Santa Fe is approximately 450 miles. Since I like to keep the daily travel distance at around 250 miles, we stopped-over in Farmington, NM. Farmington is located at the junction of the Animas River, the La Plata River and the San Juan Rivers and is close to the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. The Three Rivers Brewery in downtown Farmington offers the very decent Arroyo Amber Ale and a mean corned beef and cabbage dinner. That is pretty much the extent of my knowledge about Farmington. Why stop in Farmington you may ask? It was all about the Shiprock Pinnacle.
The pinnacle is a dominant landmark of the Four Corner Area, where the four states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico come together in a single point. Many travelers have seen the pinnacle from a distance; I wanted a closer look.
The Shiprock Pinnacle rises 1583 ft/480 m over the surrounding high plateau. The formation is assumed to be the remnant of a volcanic caldera and is locate at the center of two dikes. We took a leisurely afternoon hike along the southern dike and discovered a truly bizarre landscape.
I was surprised, driving through the northern parts of Arizona and New Mexico, by the large number of road side memorials in the form of crosses, candles, toys, flowers, shrines etc. Seeing these memorials where people have been killed by traffic is so sad.
The plan was to explore Sedona, AZ after our one-month stay in Mesa near Phoenix. However, instead of staying on the only RV Park in the city of Sedona and expose ourselves for one week to the relentless spiritual energy of the surrounding vortexes (http://www.lovesedona.com/01.htm) we decided to stay in Cottonwood, a small city about 15 miles/24 km south of Sedona. Cottonwood is a vortex-free community located at an altitude of 3300 ft/1000 m approximately 1200 ft/350 m lower than Sedona. The temperatures in Cottonwood are generally warmer than in Sedona and Cottonwood also offers more open and dog-compatible spaces.
While in Cottonwood we hiked parts of the Cliffrose Trail several times and visited Sedona and the corky former mining community of Jerome.
From Cottonwood we traveled for a one-week stay to the northern Arizona community of Page right on the Utah stateline. Page was founded in 1957 as a housing community for the workers during the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. The Glen Canyon Dam forms Lake Powell which offered a marvelous dog beach at Lone Rock in the Glen Canyon Recreational Area. After several afternoons of swimming in the lake our dogs were squeaky clean. We also enjoyed a visit to the famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River and a wide-open slick rock area adjacent to the RV Park for some rock scrambling and hiking.
After the one-week stay we departed Page and Arizona and moved to New Mexico. The Page visit concluded our 2017 Arizona performance.
Stay tuned for additional appearances in other parts of the good old USA.
I am back. No; I did not fall off the planet. I got lost in some revenue generating tasks and forgot about the blog. I will backfill the content with three catch-up blogs as quickly as possible. Promise.
We stayed the entire month of February in Mesa, Arizona on the east side of Phoenix. To be honest, Mesa represents the part of America I dislike. Seemingly never-ending fenced housing developments, avenues and boulevards interrupted by strip malls with their neon lights and parking lots. Mesa offers a monotonous grey concrete landscape with indistinguishable, ugly and boring shapes and almost no grass or trees. As if this by itself is not bad enough, the area accommodates each winter approximately 100.000 snowbirds from allover the USA and Canada. Never have I seen so many RV parks.
However, on a positive note, the east-side of the larger Phoenix metropolitan area borders the Tonto National Forrest which offers great recreational opportunities. Only about 8 miles/13 km from our temporary home we discovered Hawes Loop, a well maintained large hiking and mountain biking area that served dogs and humans on an almost daily basis.
A little further away, approximately 18 miles/29 km, just past the Lost Dutchman State Park begins the beautiful and vast Superstition Wilderness. I hiked the wilderness with the dogs after two days of rain and we discovered a fantastic landscape with lush vegetation and water-filled creeks.
Traveling along highway 88 to the east one passes the small town of Tortilla Flats. Past the town the unpaved highway follows the Salt River with its deep canyons and beautiful artificial lakes. We very much enjoyed the beautiful desert landscape hiking the Tortilla Pass trail.
Just a few days before our departure from Mesa the desert started blooming.
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You all enjoy the insanity of the Trump show yet? My advice is to don’t pay attention to what the administration is saying. Instead, pay attention to what they are doing and stay tuned.