Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sedona, Part 2

Sedona and the surrounding National Forest have a ton of excellent hiking trails. One day, I took off on the Soldier Pass trail, which I tried to do last year, but it was closed.

Just a short distance from the trailhead is a huge sinkhole.

I was looking for the Seven Sacred Pools, and I found them!

Almost every morning, hot air balloons landed right near us.

This one was huge, with 15-20 passengers!

They managed to get it down without landing on Don and Donna's rig.

We're parked near a model airplane field, so one day we went over to watch. We had a long talk with the club president, shown here.

This was the biggest plane, which would go up and then dive down, spinning as it did. It was quite entertaining.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Moving On to Sedona

Escaping the cold weather in Payson, I moved on to Sedona. The weather here was perfect. We had a brief storm the first day I was here, but it produced a beautiful rainbow.

I'm parked here with my friend, Barbara, of "Me, My Dog, ...and My RV" fame. And let's not forget cute little Katie!

Barbara had never seen the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, so off we went. I could tell we were close by all the prayer flags.

A Stupa is "the physical embodiment of the Buddha's enlightened mind."

You are to walk around the Stupa at least 3 times while making personal wishes and prayers for the welfare of suffering beings and world situations. You can see a well-worn path there.

I did it and made my best wishes.

There is a beautiful statue of Buddha behind the Stupa made out of wood. Chimney Rock is in the background.

There are lots of offerings scattered around.

Afterward, we walked around the center of Sedona and looked at some of the statues. I like this one of the rusty guy painting, and the little girl taking a picture of him.

And of course, Sacajawea, which reminded me of our Lewis and Clark circuit in 2010.

High five with the cowboy!

And we met Zeus, the cutest dog ever, in his "doggles."

The "Hairalinas" were also adorable.

As was this guy.

I love this area, and there is lots more to come!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Up the Hill to Payson

It was getting a little warm in Apache Junction, so I headed uphill to meet up with the WINs in Payson, AZ.

Our first outing was to the old school house in Strawberry.

Built by pioneers in 1885, it operated until 1916. It's the oldest standing school in Arizona.

We tried out the seats, and enjoyed the knowledge of the 90-year-old volunteer who rushed over to open the building when she saw us all standing around outside.

I was glad none of us needed to use the facilities...

Afterwards, we went on a hike on the Arizona trail. There were too many trees for my liking, so our group didn't go too far.

On another day, we went to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. From this side, there was a little waterfall over the bridge opening.

And from the other side, you could almost see through the opening. The bridge is 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.

It's believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.

We didn't hike down to the bottom, but this is the view from the bottom - my picture of a picture.

Afterwards, we went to the nearby Water Wheel waterfalls.

We only went about a third of a mile, because to go farther you have to walk up the creek.

But we did manage to see several small waterfalls.

And then on the way home we stopped at the Shoofly Village ruin. A thousand or more years old, it has not been restored, which I liked.

I may have gone uphill a little early. One day, the high was 48 degrees, so I moved on before the gathering was over.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hiking in Apache Junction

Before I left Apache Junction, AZ, I did a couple great hikes. I'm very close to the beautiful Superstition Mountains and Lost Dutchman State Park.

The first hike was the Treasure Loop in the state park.

It goes up fairly steeply to where you can look down on some of the boulders.

The sun was just coming up behind the mountain.

This is a very popular hike, and it gets quite crowded.

Coming back down, I saw that the poppies were out!

How does this bird keep his feet from being perforated?

On another day, I did a hike from First Water Rd, next to the state park, but not requiring the entrance fee.

The saguaros aren't blooming yet -

But some of the other cactus are.

Good night!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Back to Apache Junction for a Month

I've spent the last month at the Apache Junction, AZ Elks lodge. The desert flowers are in full bloom.

The lodge has a gorgeous view of the Superstition Mountains.

This suburb of Phoenix is real Arizona, with horses going by often.

I went to Lost Dutchman days, but didn't take any pictures except for the cute wild horses and donkeys up for adoption.

West of us is a property with old airplanes and rusty plows, among other things. Of course, I had to stop and take pictures.

Lots of flowers here, but they weren't poppies. I'll find them later...

One night, 4 of us went to see December '63, a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute group. They were great!

Why are they called December '63? The answer is in this clip.

I tried to limit my videos to just a couple, but I am totally addicted to the Four Seasons, so I couldn't narrow it down.

So if you are as addicted as I am, you will really enjoy these short videos.