Thursday, March 2, 2017

February 2017
February has been a busy month.  My brother and sister in law were here for a week and our friends from Custer were here the next week.  We spent lots of time exploring.
Had to check out the old jail in Clifton....

Tried to leave Doug there......but

Ginny and Bill, our friends from Custer, spent a month exploring our route here in Arizona from last years Huffy Trails, plus they added a few spots we have never been too.  While they were here we went up to Tonto National Monument up by Superior, AZ.   There are several cliff dwellings up in this area, with one being open to the public. 

We had a beautiful day for exploring! 

On our way home we stopped in Globe, AZ to check out Besh Ba Gowah which is another type of settlement the early inhabitants lived in.  We all found it interesting that these early inhabitants were so good at building their dwellings and cities.  Not like todays builders whose buildings will not last hundreds of years.  These dwellings have been here a long time!

The locals have been telling us that with all this rain we have had this winter the spring flower show should be awesome.  Well it is starting!  Right now it is mostly the Desert Poppy blooming in all shades of yellow to orange.  But they are not the only ones the couple weeks off we have been out traveling looking for spring blossoms.  That is in between laundry and grocery shopping.. 

I like the rock, see the face???Quit groaning!
Oh one of the things we have never seen or helped with before is the removal of cattails from the lake! 
The lady in charge of maintenance drives the machine into the cattails.  The cutting bars go down about 2 feet below the water and cut the cattail off.  The mud hens were going nuts eating the broken pieces.  They had no fear of the machine and all the activity! 

Next the cut cattails are pushed over to the shore.
 At the shoreline the guys grab the cattails with a backhoe and put them into the back of a truck and they haul them away.

Looks like a full load...of cattails...ahem....
The weather was a bit cooler and rainy for this area.  The lake here is very full!  Some of our winter waterfowl birds are already heading north, but more are arriving from their winter homes further south of us as they start heading north again too.  Well back to work tomorrow.  We work Friday through Monday.  Weekend crew.  The park has pretty much been full every night this month.  Time has been flying fast.  We have been here 3 months now and pretty soon some of our coworkers will be leaving and new ones arriving.  We are here until April 18th, understand Easter is crazy here!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bonita....Wilcox....Duncan.... and Coolidge Dam....
In the last two weeks we went on a few drives in the area.  The weather has been hit and miss, it has been cooler than normal and we are getting a bit of rain, a bit as to measures in the Midwest but for this area when you get 7/10 of an inch on any day it is a lot of rain.  It seems it has rained about every 2 or 3 days.  The lake here is way up and the mountains had snow down to about 4,000 feet which makes for some good pictures.

One day we drove around the west side of Mt Graham starting at the long lost town of Bonita.
This was the only store we found...

Some interesting rock formations along the drive
The town of Wilcox has an annual celebration called Wings over Wilcox.  They celebrate the fact that sandhill cranes winter in the area.  So we drove down to Wilcox for a day.  We had a good barbeque dinner in a cafĂ© located in an old railroad passenger car.  Then we drove around Wilcox and Duncan looking for sandhill cranes.  We found a few groups of them along the way.

Last Wednesday we were looking at the incoming weather  and decided we had to go for another drive before the rains came.  So we looked at the map and decided to check out the Coolidge Dam just south of San Carlos.  The roads to this dam are not used much anymore but at one time they had to be the main route.  The dam was built in 1928 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and it was dedicated by President Coolidge.  The attention to detail was first rate and the unusual round domes over the turbines were also unique. 

There were two eagles made of concrete, in great detail on one side of the dam.

Note the round concrete domes over the turbines

The detail in the concrete was very unusual as were the light fixtures that no longer are functioning.  This at one time was something to see.  It still is but again, the roads to the dam are not really used anymore.
Because of the weather we had to stop our exploring as those old dirt roads get a bit muddy and we are both too old to push the truck out of the mud...But heavy clouds do create great sunsets....

On one of our walks around the lake here, we came across the game and fish dept as they were stocking the lake  with trout.   As we watched the egrets and blue herons started showing up.  They know when a meal is being served!   Poor fish did not even get a chance.....

Our view of My Graham covered in snow this week.  Not sure but the forecast sounds like there may be about 3 feet of fresh snow at the top.  Mt. Graham is about 10,000 feet.  The park is around 2700'.
 Until next time, be good..........

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!
Here's to 2016...and a wish that 2017 be a good year to all!

It has been a cool and wet week down here.  Last night it rained all night.  There is water standing everywhere, but they tell me that means we will have a great spring flower season!!! 

Two more couples arrived this week.  Both have been here before but had taken a year or two off.  The last couple of days Al and I have been working with one couple reacquainting them with things.  The park is full for New Years, maybe one or two spots left.  Last night we were booked! 

On Thursday some friends we worked with in 2015 at Custer State Park showed up for a visit.  They are from Illinois and will be spending a Month and a half retracing some of our steps exploring Arizona last year at this time.  It was fun to see Bill and Ginny again, and we can't wait to hear their experiences and impressions.  They were surprised to see how pretty this park is with the lake and waterfowl. 

This week we went exploring by taking a drive up to the Salt River Canyon.  This area is just north of Globe.  The canyon was very pretty.  Wonderful colors in the rock.  The drive leads you up into the mountains and would eventually take you to Show Low, AZ through the national forest.  But we were running out of time, always the case, one of these days we will head back that way.  There is more to see in Globe too, so we will definitely be back.  Here are some pictures of the canyon and Salt River.

 It was a semi cloudy day...but we will definitely be back up there.  There are ancient indian cliff dwellings and villages to go back to see.

Again, Happy New Year to everyone!

The Huff's

Clifton and Morenci.....On one of our days off we drove to Clifton and Morenci and came home via the Black Hills Byway....not the South Dakota Black Hills the ones down here.  Clifton and Morenci are old copper mining towns.   This area is a little higher in elevation and as you drive north on Hwy 191 you end up in the Apache National Forest, pine trees and snow.  This is one of North America's largest producers of copper and one of the largest open pit mines in the world. 
As the mine grew the town of Morenci was blasted away or buried under mine waste.  We found this old Catholic cemetery.  Notice the graves into the side of the hill.  This cemetery is all that remains of the original town.

graves range from the 1880's to 1930's

Note the wooden cross

The old town of Clifton was established in 1873.  There is an old historic section of the town plus a new area.  Interesting history here.  They say Clifton was once a tougher town than Tombstone.
Views on Chase Creek the old street in old Clifton
The route we were on is only a part of the old Coronado Trail.  It is believed the Coronado (Spanish explorerer) traveled this route in 1540 in search of the fabled 7 cities of Cibalo or 7 cities of gold.  Elevation ranges from 3400' to over 9300'.   On our way home we took the Black Hills Backcountry Byway.  This is a 21 mile gravel road from Clifton to just outside of Safford that is part of Arizona's scenic routes.  Lots of scenery on this road and rocks!  Al just loves those rocks....hehe.

This byway was built by prisoners from 1914 to 1920.  It travels through different elevations of land that was used for mining and ranching.  The rock was created by lava flows and deposits of volcanic tuff, cinder, and pumice.  The vegetation ranged from cacti to oak trees.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We did not go anywhere for the Holiday.  The weather forecast looked like there would be lots of rain and possible mixed snow, but after a night of rain we had a mostly sunny day.  It got up to 50 degrees today.  As we look up at Mt Graham we could see that they got snow as well as the other mountain ranges that surround us.  The mountains stayed pretty cloudy all day, but we had a nice sunny day down here.
We had lots of birds visiting in the tree right outside of our trailer window all day.  The hummingbirds were going crazy flying around us.  They sound like little motor boats as they fly by your ears.  We spent the day outside, mostly trying to get rid of some of the items we carry in our camper basement.  Al finally threw away a pair of shoes that were over 20 years old with a split sole.  He thought he might need them if he had to be walking in the mud.  ahem!  Anyway we downsized 1 large container and one small one.  Always good to make a bit more room and lighten our load.  One of our neighbors came over with a nice box of assorted home made candies and cookies too.  Yum!
As this week progresses we will have a lot of campers coming and going.  By the 30th we will be mostly full as people come in for the New Year.  The weather should be warming up each day this week. 
Here are some of the feathered friends visiting us today.  We do not feed the birds as that would just draw in packrats, but they sure like the trees around us and seem to find lots to eat.
a little Ruby Crowned Kinglet

I believe this little one is a yellow warbler or an orange crowned warbler.  We had several but the moved around so fast it was hard to get a photo of their backside to help me identify.  Its a warbler!

This looks like a yellow rumped warbler, but to me it is a smaller bird.  Help me bird lovers!

A black Phoebe.
All in all a very pretty Christmas Day!  Our friends up north we are watching that weather and thinking of you. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Well we arrived at our winter workamper volunteer site, Roper Lake State Park near Safford, AZ.  Our duties here will include working at the Visitor Center, Maintenance, and Hosting or whatever else is needed.  This is a smaller park and the work duties are slower paced.  The full time staff here are all very friendly and helpful as are the other volunteers, we are the only new ones.  On the 2nd day here a host had supper and pie at there campfire.  There is a lake in the park, an island for day use, some cabins, and of course campsites.  Adjacent and also part of this park is Dankworth Pond, a day use area for picnics.  There is lots of fishing here and a spring fed 98degree hot tub(no, we are not buying swim suits...nor are we chubby dipping!).  We are surrounded by mountain ranges, the closest being Mt. Graham.  Weather here is a lot like the weather in Benson, AZ, about 5 to 10 degrees cooler than Tucson. 
A view of the camper cabins and Mt Graham

A blue heron at the lake
There is snow up in the mountains and one of these days we will have to take a drive up there and check things out. 
On our first day here it was snowing up in the higher elevations.  These two pictures are looking out from our camper up to Mt. Graham.  The park elevation is about 2900' so no snow down here.  But if we really want some it is a short drive away.

One of the best things about the southwest are the sunsets. 
 Until next time we are safe and settled in, learning our new assignments, enjoying the warm sunshine and beauty of the area.  There is a Christmas parade in town Saturday night.  Oh, as to lights all of us have rope lights under our campers and trucks.....not because it is Christmas time but there are these little things called pack rats....they like to climb up and chew on the electrical wires in vehicles and of course make nests.  In Custer it is the chipmunks and red squirrels down here its the pack rats.