Change of Plans ~ V Bar V Heritage Site

Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange changes ~ David Bowie

Due to an unexpected heat wave, I cancelled our original plans to tent camp at Lost Dutchman State Park. The thought of sitting, unprotected in the hot sun all day did not appeal to me, so plans were changed. When the cooler fall weather returns, we will try again.

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Last year, I learned about the V Bar V Heritage Site from local, fellow blogger, Johanna Massey, and put it on my bucket list for local travel. I love visiting historical sites and learning about the area and cultures of people long gone.

 

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The V Bar V Heritage site is located just outside Sedona, AZ, a few miles after the I-17 and Hwy-179 cross, in the Wet Beaver Creek recreational area. It’s a four hour drive for us, so we lodged overnight in Oak Creek, enjoyed a delicious dinner at Maria’s, then turned in with intentions to visit in the morning.

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You may wonder, how an old, turn-of-the century cattle ranch is connected to ancient rock art? Settled in the early 1900’s on an original prehistoric site, the V Bar V passed through a variety of ranchers and was ultimately sold to the U.S. Forest Service in 1995 in order to preserve the area.

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The last bit of the V Bar V ranch house, a hand-crafted fireplace. A standing tribute to old-school craftsmen and the workmanship of the past rarely seen today.

DSCN7986Do folks really need to be told not to touch, scratch or disturb? Really?

Based on this signage, I believe if it wasn’t for early private ownership, this area would have probably been destroyed by the public. The site is well-supervised and has a onsite resident so thankfully, the elements are protected.

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If you’re a fan of rock art, the V Bar V is the largest known and best preserved, petroglyph site in the Verde Valley area. There are thousands of prehistoric elements dating from A.D. 1150 – 1400 from the Sinaguan people, who occupied the area between 500 CE and 1425 CE.

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According to our docent, the crack in the wall was thought to be a portal that allowed spirits to seasonally travel to the San Francisco Peaks and back. This area is considered a religious area and is still used today by local Native Americans.

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These are considered to be the earliest of the elements. Plan to spend about an hour and listen to the docent, who is informative and very knowledgeable. Montezuma’s Castle is close by and ‘his’ Well is adjacent to the ranch. Make a day of it and immerse yourself in culture of the past!

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You can’t make us mooove!

Ending on a funny note…….The area is still occupied by working cattle ranches, so upon leaving a herd of cattle decided to take a break in the middle of the road, blocking our exit. Of course, they had no intention of ‘moo-ving’ out of the way.

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Our hero driving the cattle across the road

Fortunately, we were saved by this modern-day vaquero, dressed in full cowboy duds! How cool to visit an old historic ranch and then get caught up in a real cattle drive on our way home. Welcome to the wild, wild west! Made my day! Hope you enjoyed.

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Taking Steps to Getting Somewhere

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you are not going to stay where you are ~ Unknown

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Taking advantage of the cool weather at home with some local hiking

Warmer weather is approaching the desert southwest and I’ve been busily preparing my summer escape from this “too hot to handle” town I call home. With the RV gone and a desire to stay on the road longer, I’ve had to come up with some alternate lodging aside from hotels.

I used to travel off-season, but in order to escape the oppressive, Arizona summers, we’ve become peak season travelers. This not only makes for expensive and crowd-filled traveling, but limits my options.

This summer we’ve decided to stay in state parks and take advantage of the variety of lodging they offer. First, we’ll be “glamping” (fancy tent camping) in New Mexico and Utah. Then it’s off to the Oregon coast and redwoods to bunk in a rustic cabin and yurt.

Photo from the Oregon State Parks website

I’m really looking forward to staying in the state parks this summer. Hotels are nice, and I’m sure we’ll overnight in one or two, but for me there is nothing better than the simplicity of a tent, warm sleeping bag and waking up to the sounds and sights of nature.

It’s been awhile since I’ve tent-camped, so we’re doing a trial run in a few weeks in southern Arizona. I hear the Saguaros will be in bloom ~ I’ll be bringing my camera. Stay tuned for a post and hopefully some awesome pictures on my return.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can ~ Arthur Ashe

 

Holiday Magic at the Desert Botanical Garden

……Light turns the ordinary into the magical ~ Trent Parke

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Last night, we spent the evening wandering the Desert Botanical Garden’s, “Las Noches de las Luminarias,” in Phoenix.  The paths and trees were lined through out the garden with festive lights, giving a magical holiday feel to the desert southwest.

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To add to the fun, sculptures from Japanese artist, Jun Kaneko are on display amid the lights and thorny plant life. This colorful, large-scale form is one of six heads featured by this unusual artist.

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Even the saguaro cactus, symbol of the desert southwest, were illuminating the holiday spirit.

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Another piece by Jun Kaneko called a Dango. The sculptures will be on display at the garden until May 13. Here’s a link if you’re interested in his work:   http://www.junkaneko.com/

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This is how we do Christmas in the desert! We may not have snow, but with a temperature drop and a northerly wind, scarves and gloves were adorned by all.

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What an imagination! Called the six Tanuki, this group of whimsical raccoon-dogs hang out in the gardens Lewis Desert Portal section and by the looks on their faces, wondering how on earth they got there.

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The odd Boojum tree. Although it may look like an evergreen, it’s all thorns instead of leaves or needles. You wouldn’t have to worry about your cats messing with it. Ouch!

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There were many talented entertainers during the evening ~ from Folklorico dancers to musical acts performing Bluegrass, Classical, and Blues style holiday tunes. This group treated us to a soulful rendition of Georgia on My Mind.

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I called this piece, “the twilight zone.” The spirals remind me of the background to the infamous TV show. I’m not an art connoisseur, but these sculptures sure brought a smile to my face and made for interesting discussions throughout the evening.  And isn’t that what art is all about?

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Las Noches de las Luminarias (the night of the luminaries) runs until December 30 at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona. With glowing paths, hand lit luminary bags, twinkle lights in trees and some really wonderful entertainers, if you’re in the area, I recommend  checking it out.

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With the season upon us, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and may you have a wonderful New Year filled with many adventures and interesting places to wander.

Sandra

The Historic Railroad Trail ~ Lake Mead, Nevada

We are not makers of history. We are made by history ~ Martin Luther King

In 1930, 30-miles of railroad track was built connecting Boulder City, NV to the outskirts of Hoover Dam.  In the 80’s, the tunnels and pathway were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and in 2015 it was designated as a National Historic Trail.

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Pair of boots and a sack of clothes…..free and easy down the road I go ~ Dierks Bentley

Keeping with my desire to “experience” my birthday, I was treated to dinner and a nights stay at the Hoover Dam Lodge. Of course my real motivation was an early morning stroll on the historic railroad trail,  which was accessible below our hotel.

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Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness ~ Lao Tzu

I set out early, hoping to complete the 7.4 mile round trip walk before check out time. The trail is easy with a beautiful view of Lake Mead. Don’t be discourage about the mileage; with cool October temperatures and a flat trail, it’s do-able.

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Let my steps stay on your tracks so my feet will not stumble ~ Psalms  17:5

There are five tunnels along the trail, approximately 300 ft. in length and 25 ft in diameter. The trails signage notes that they can be home to bats, but I was spared a visit.

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Every exit is an entrance somewhere else. ~ Anonymous

Here’s a clearer inside view of one of the tunnels; it was so cool to walk through them and experience this bit of history.

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Happiness is a simple walk along a lake ~ Anonymous

My goal was to make it to the dam, but after walking for 3.5 miles, I discovered the trail lead to a parking spot. Not once, from the trail or the highway, did I get a glimpse of the Hoover Dam.

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Life is a journey worth traveling ~ Anonymous

With an 11:00 a.m. check out, this was end of the road for me. Don’t believe the signs that say “your almost there” ~ you’re almost to the visitor parking lot, not the dam.

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Don’t believe everything you read!

If you’re interested in touring the Hoover Dam, I suggest you drive your car to the facility. Well, it looks like if I want to explore Hoover Dam in depth, I will need to return. With time on my side and the comfortable fall weather, I’m up for a return trip.

 

 

 

 

Up, Up, in the Air ~ Arizona Snow Bowl

I love the feeling of fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair ~ Evel Kneivel
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Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

The air is crisp and the aspens are turning golden, Fall is here in Northern Arizona. It’s was a perfect time to escape the last of the desert heat and head to Flagstaff for a scenic chair lift ride at the Arizona Snowbowl.

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Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree ~ Emily Bronte

All along the roadside from September to October, the aspens turn blonde. After observing the dry browns and greens of the Mohave desert all summer, I enjoyed experiencing the change of the seasons tremendously.

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As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen ~ Winnie-the-Poo

As a birthday gift from my hubby, I chose to ride the chair lift at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort. For a small fee ($15.00 online), you can take a scenic ride to the top of the San Francisco Peaks, jump off at 11,500 feet, and hop back on for a ride down.

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She wasn’t given wings to see the world from a tree ~ Atticus

You know some girls they want Cartier* and some girls they want cars………….. but this girl for her birthday, just wants to reach the stars. I decided awhile back to forgo birthday gifts in lieu of adventures ~ I’d rather live life and experience the world than collect material things.

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Some old-fashion things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. This little girl kept doing her thing as we floated by ~ she didn’t even acknowledge our existence as we passed.

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Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view ~ Anonymous

Enjoying the view from 11,500 feet.  Although you can jump off at the top, we didn’t. It was a chilling 35 degrees and the hubby couldn’t stop chattering.  Although the season ends in a few days, If you decide to go, wear something warm and bring a blanket ~ it is a lot colder going down than up.

Here’s a link:  https://www.snowbowl.ski/

*partial lyrics taken from “Some Girls” by the Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Memories!

Good times come and go, but memories will last forever ~ unknown

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Our first trip in the RV to Salton Sea

It’s a sad and bittersweet day ~ Today we sold the RV, or the “Irv” as the grandson christened it. As much as I would  like to keep it, we are just unable to physically and financially maintain a 21-year-old RV and keep it in good condition.

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Joshua Tree National Park

Looks like if I want to spend the night in nature now, it’ll be in a tent. I recently purchased one of those instant tents that pop up in minutes and a nice double-decker air mattress. Do you think if I add a comforter and some candles I can convince the hubby we’re GLAMPING, not camping?  Ha, ha, ha!

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Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano

Thanks for the memories Irv, we will miss traveling with you. Be good to your new owners.

 

Cathedrals of Time ~ Sunset Crater & Wupatki Nat.l Monuments, Arizona

“Ruins are the cathedrals of time” ~ Marty Rubin

Winding up our summer travels with the grandson, we set out for one last hurrah to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument before returning him to his Mama in California.  We originally planned to RV in Sedona, but 25 miles out, our A/C failed. Naturally, with triple-digit weather, we returned home and made plans to visit Flagstaff.

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Advice from a volcano and a Grandma: go with the flow and have a blast!

 

Sunset Crater Volcano was decreed a National Monument in 1930 by President Hoover after a Hollywood film company planned to detonate explosives on it exterior for a movie. Thank goodness for public outcry and a concerned president for saving this beautiful, historical and interesting land.

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Each time a volcano erupts, life begins anew ~ NPS

Sunset Crater is located just outside of Flagstaff and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.  I’ve passed the exit for this monument many times during my I-40 travel and never thought to stop and visit.  

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Exploring the 1-mile Lava Flow trail

Due to severe erosion from past volcano-climbing visitors, you can no longer climb to the top of Sunset crater, but you can climb the nearby Lenox Crater and Doney Mountain cinder cones. We considered the 1-mile Lenox Crater trail, but with extreme humidity and a steep ascent, we opted to explore the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail instead.

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The grandson checking out a hornito, or spatter cone alongside the trail.

Spatter cones are one of the main types of volcanic type landforms and are made from lava that was ejected from a vent [worldlandforms.com]. Don’t I sound scientific, ha, ha! We just thought it was cool.

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“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell

Oh, darn, access denied! At one time this ice cave could be visited, but it closed after a partial collapse of the lava tube. I’m discovering Sunset Crater National Monument is quite interesting and educational.

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“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure” ~ Rumi

Keep driving the 35-mile dual park loop and you will reach Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki is abundant with ancient dwellings dating back to the 1100s, including the above Wukoki Pueblo.

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“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung

Surprisingly, you are allowed to walk upon the ruins. The short door ways are more for protection and don’t depict the occupants height.  For me personally, these are the largest and most well-preserved relics that I’ve ever visited. I’m so impressed with this park!

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“A storm was coming, but that’s not what she felt. It was adventure on the wind and it shivered down her spine.” ~ Atticus

The day turned stormy and humid; but the thunder and lightning did not deter us from continuing our travels. While the hubby opted to stay in the car, the grandson and I had no qualms about getting wet or dodging the lightening ~ it was an adventure on the wind.

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Wupatki Pueblo

The park was named after this antiquity, the Wupatki Pueblo. Thought to have housed over 100 people, these remains are one of the larger villages dotting the parks massive landscape. The Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo are descendants of the original dwellers.

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“Modesty is the citadel of beauty” ~ Demades

Atop the Citadel Pueblo. The lightening was getting a little too close, so the grandson headed back to the car. If you take the time to look,  you can see an array of pueblos in the distance from the Citadel.

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The landscape in the park is so diverse; we walked through pine trees at Sunset Crater, then desert at Wupatki.  In the distance are San Francisco Peaks, which are on my must explore list.

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Regrettably, I ran out of battery prior to arriving at the Lomaki Pueblo and left my spare at home.  Lomaki has a .5-mile walking path that leads to multiple dwellings sitting above a dry box canyon. It’s desolate, but I really got a feeling of community here.

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I truly underestimated the wow-factor of Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument.  Many times we bypass those little brown signs on the side of the freeway directing us to the lesser-known monuments or historical places of interest for the more renowned national parks. If you’re ever in the Flagstaff, AZ area, stop and check out these monuments, it is worth your time.