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

 

A Hidden Gem in the Desert – Three Dunes Trail

If you will come here, you will find a hidden treasure ~ Paulo Coelho

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Lovely days don’t come to you, you should walk to them ~ Rumi

Just off Highway 95 near marker 170 in Lake Havasu City, lies a little asphalt rest stop and the trail head to the Three Dunes Trail. Mostly, the trail is an easy wash walk, which narrows into a mild canyon and reopens into a grand wash leading to the dunes.

 

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In every walk in nature, one receives more than he seeks ~ John Muir

After the canyon opens it joins multiple washes.  Watch for landmarks as you continue, as it’s easy to take the wrong wash on the return. How do I know that ~ I missed my turn and had to backtrack because in the open desert, a wash looks like a wash.

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My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and my camera is my passport ~ Steve McCurry

Who’d ever think that there are sand dunes in the Mohave Desert? But there are ~ three delightful, little dunes covered in fine, white sand extending over the Colorado River.

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No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man ~ Heraclitus

In the distance is the North Dune, which is the largest of the three. If you’re a boater, kayak-er, or even backpacker, Cattail Cove State Park oversees the area and offers overnight camping (fees apply).  This place is a gem!

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On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it ~ Jules Renard

No this isn’t White Sands National Park, but the tip-top of the North Dune. The third dune lies parallel, but it’s very modest and inconspicuous compared to its counterparts.

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The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of life, the clearer we should see through it   ~ Jean Paul

Seems untouched doesn’t it? Sadly, I picked up a lot of empty beverage containers at the foot of the dunes.  If you come across discarded trash would you consider picking it up/packing it out and/or throwing it away?  If we all picked up just one piece, it would make a difference in keeping our lands beautiful and pristine.

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When you have no companion, look to your walking stick ~ Albanian Proverb

 

Last, I wanted to share the new hiking gear I received as a Christmas gift from my hubby. After ten years of marriage, the man finally knows what I like! I’ve been wanting a hydration system–it’s a must have for desert wandering. Thanks, honey!

If you’d like more information on the Three Dunes trail, I’ve included a link below. I did not consider the trail “moderate” but found it quite easy.  The dunes are fabulous and I believe if you come here, you will discover a hidden treasure.

https://golakehavasu.com/activity/hiking/three-dunes-trail/

Starting the Year Out Right

Celebrate what you want to see more of ~ Tom Peters

First Day Hike Logo

Every year, the state parks offer tours, nature walks, and hikes on the first day of the new year to encourage folks to get outside. I decide to start the new year out right and join in for the First Day Hikes at Cattail Cove State Park.

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Hang around like-minded people. Positive, good energy, you attract what you are ~Karen & Leslie

Volunteer rangers led the hike and shared their knowledge about the area. The duration of the hike depends on the abilities of the crowd ~ we managed to wander 1-2 hours. It was really nice be around a group of like-minded people ~ Hikers are good people.

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There’s no Wi-Fi in the desert, but I promise you’ll find a better connection ~ Anonymous

A week later, I joined the BHC Adventure Club in Lake Havasu City for a 10-mile hike down the Standard Wash Trail. Ten miles is an accomplishment for me, my longest trek yet. For the most part, the Standard Wash is a flat, easy walk down a wash, amidst slot canyon walls and wide-open spaces.

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There are no shortcuts to any place worth going ~ Beverly Sills

Until…………..you reach the 12-foot dry waterfall. Sliding down wasn’t too bad, but climbing up on the return would have been impossible for me without help from my fellow hikers. Thank goodness for teamwork!

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The best view comes after the hardest climb ~ Anonymous

Upon reaching the trail end is a beautiful water view and much-needed outhouse, provided by the Bureau of Land Management. I’m so grateful that the BLM offers these sites up and down the river.

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Well, I have a hunch that 2018 will be an even better year for hiking and traveling and meeting new, like-minded friends. I hope your new year is going well and you have started it out right doing things you enjoy. ~ Remember life is short so make every moment matter and do the things you love ~ Happy New Year and I wish you the best for 2018!

*photos are from the State Park and BHC Adventure Club website

 

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

Reaching Pilot Rock

Perseverance: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

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I returned to the Pilot Rock trail yesterday to give it another go. With a map in hand, I discovered where I went wrong.  If you’re interested in hiking this trail, here’s a link to the map:  https://golakehavasu.com/activity/hiking/pilot-rock-trail/

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I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring ~ David Bowie

The directions state, “take a right at the tree.”  Last time, I disregarded my intuition and went left. I was so close.

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You get in life what you have the courage to ask for ~ Oprah

Success! Pilot Rock ahead. Thank goodness for the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) sites and facilities ~ after 3.5 miles, I gotta go!

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If you really want to do something, you will find a way…… Jim Rohn

There are three BLM boat/walk-in sites at Pilot Rock with picnic tables, barbecues, and sandy beaches for camping or day use. Who wouldn’t want to camp or spend the day right on the Colorado River.

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Another BLM site with Pilot Rock and it’s reflection in view. I’m already making warmer weather plans to bring a bathing suit next time around. I had the area all to my self, except for a few birdies and some passing boaters.

 

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The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places ~ Roald Dahl

The Colorado River has many little islands and coves all along its banks. It’s panoramas like this that affirm my choice to leave California and move to Arizona. Until the heat sets in, of course.

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Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt ~ John Muir

For an alternative return hike, I took the Burro Trail to the Grand Wash. While I’m not fond of wash-walking (reminds me of walking on the beach with shoes on), I was tiring. It’s easier, but….the trail backtracks quite a bit going down to the wash and it seemed longer.

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Advice from a rock: Live life in balance

The wash offered interesting views of rock formations and got me wondering about their age. Exposed rock cliffs in the desert can be billions of years old. I was reminded of the old children’s series, “Land of the Lost” and  imagined a dinosaur peering over.

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May your hats fly as high as your dreams ~ Michael Scott

Hope you enjoyed returning to the trail with me and discovering Pilot Rock. I plan to make it a regular hike. Til next time!

 

 

 

‘Someday’

Begin doing what you want to do now…We are not living in eternity…We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake ~ Francis Bacon

When I’m not wandering, one of my other passions is reading, especially travel memoirs. Currently, I’m reading an interesting book called, “Off the Beaten Trail: A Young Man’s Soul-Searching Journey Through Central America” by Jake Heilbrunn.

Someday

The above quote, referenced in the book, got me thinking about how much we put things off waiting for ‘someday.’  How we wait for conditions to be just right in our life and only then we will _____________ (fill in blank).

Recently, the hubby and I were having a discussion about shelving life and living idle. I had to remind him, that someday (when we’re really old and gray), we will sit and warm chairs, but today, we need to pursue life and follow our dreams.

No matter what your age, young or old, I hope you follow your passions and see the world. Don’t wait for someday, because life is not eternal and sometimes, someday never comes.