Sunday, 19 September 2010
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Since arriving we have just simply crashed out, our days have flown by in a whirl of swimming, reading, swimming, reading, ice-cold beer and margaritas. Sometimes life is tough!
It's the end of the monsoon season and the weather has been very hot over 100F most days, as you can appreciate the ice-cold beer and margaritas are essential!
We fly home soon and looking at the weather forecast I can only say, brrrrr! I think we might need to find our thermals!
Have fun, we are!
We travelled in the first class Flagstaff carriage which was very comfortable, part of the service included complimentary champagne, (I just love champagne) snacks and brownies. I have to say the brownies were to die for.
Each carriage had access to an open air viewing car with knowledgeable attendants.
The park has several trails of varying lengths and difficulty and we headed for the Eagle Nest Trail.
The trail starts out from the visitor centre and heads down through the trees before crossing Oak Creek
and joining the Kisva Trail. From there the only way is up!
Our trail ended as we re-crossed Oak Creek at Black Hawk Crossing and headed back to the truck.
The remains of 800 year old Sinagua Indian villages that once surrounded the well are littered across the site
The water flows out in a hand carved limestone irrigation canal created by the Sinagua to take water to their fields.
The fort was the base for General Crook’s US Army scouts. There are only about 3 or 4 original buildings left as once the fort was closed the buildings were sold at auction and the wood reused.
Monday, 6 September 2010
In places the road is paved and in places it’s a good dirt road.
The Beale Wagon road was surveyed in 1857 by Lt. Edward Beale who was sent by Congress to explore Northern Arizona and find an overland route to California. Among the expedition were 20 camels as part of an experiment to see if camels could handle the American desert. A good route was found which was developed in 1858 and 1859.
The forest service and local historians have located and marked about 75% of the original wagon road.
We set off on a lovely sunny morning and took CR 74, a nice paved road that turned into a good dirt road with campsites all along the road. About 7 miles along we took a right along FR 141 before heading north on FR 730.
FR 730 was another good gravel/red dirt road, although there were a couple of teeth rattling sections, with yet more campsites along the way. Most were group camps, but there were a few RV’s on their own. Not sure I’d like to camp just the two of us in the forest, it would creep me out at night, I'd half expect Yogi and Boo Boo to come knocking on the door!
There were some fabulous views and some lovely prairies full of wildflowers, the further we got along the road the more water there was on the sides of the road.
Further along we turned onto FR115, which was a much narrower red dirt road but we didn’t follow it for long before taking a left onto FR2030. FR 2030 was an even narrower road that dead ended in a parking circle by the Laws Spring and Beale Wagon Road Trailhead.
Donning our boots we followed the short trail through the rocks down to the spring. The perennial spring is a beautiful spot and was full of water.
As we walked back past the spring and through the rocks, we found the pictographs, there were quite a few and once we’d seen one we found more.
As for the camels, Lt Beale loved them and the cowboys absolutely hated them, at the end of the expedition they were turned loose and the last one was sighted in 1934.
It never did rain.
Have fun, we are!
The 6,450 ft scenic skyride (ski lift) travels 2,000ft to the summit of Mount Agassiz at 11,500ft this is the home of black diamond ski runs where the only way down is vertical!There are some fabulous views from the summit
During the summer the skyride takes 25 minutes to travel to the summit, in the winter it goes twice as fast.
The views on the return journey were amazing, but guess what I didn’t take any photographs I was too busy hanging on for dear life!
After a few miles, we joined a different section of FR 141 for more red dirt driving through the ponderosa pine forest and more beautiful prairie views.
We took FR 132 to Dogtown Lake and parked on the day use parking area before taking the trail around the edge of the lake.
Just as we were starting the hike there was a huge flash as a massive bird dived into the lake, scooped up a fish in its talons and flew away. It was so fast we didn’t have time to take a photograph.
The trail, surprisingly no bugs even though we were by water, runs round the edge of the lake.
After another slight detour round another smaller water filled section and we got to the other side of the lake and started on our way back.