I had a fabulous week boondocking in the Kaibab National Forest. After spending four months in a RV Resort in Prescott, Arizona, it felt fantastic to get the RV rolling, and camp by ourselves in a forest of soaring pine trees. We found a lovely slice of land to call home, and it was only fifteen minutes down the road from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
Although it did take a little effort on my part to leave the solitude of my beautiful campsite, I did venture up to the Grand Canyon a few times for photo ops. Most of the time, Al chose to stay at camp. He’s not a fan of the Grand Canyon nor of the hoards of tourists. I never mind venturing off on my own especially when hubby has a roaring campfire waiting for me upon my return.
While I, along with hundreds of other people, waited for the sun to set at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, a storm started brewing. I could hear thunder in the distance and see an occasional flash of lightening.
The approaching storm along with some lingering smoke haze from forest fires in the west made for a very interesting sky.
The sunset was definitely worth waiting around for, and the stormy sky added a touch of drama. I’m glad I pulled myself away from camp to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon at sunset as a storm approaches. Yep, worth the wait!
Gosh, I can’t believe the summer is half over. When Al and I decided to slow our travels down this summer and sit in one spot for several months, I thought for sure I’d have trouble with the stationary stay. The norm for me is to have hitch itch set in … ants in my pants … gotta move thing … going on after thirty days.
Perhaps it’s the landscape or the attractive town of Prescott or most likely the combo of the two that has held my attention. The enjoyable stay has Al and me actually contemplating the Prescott, Arizona, area as a ‘home base‘. Time will tell!
And speaking of home base, allow me share our RV park. We’ve been spending the summer camped at the Yavapai County RV Fairgrounds in Prescott Valley, Arizona. It’s definitely not your typical RV Park. The park is a mixed bag of folks; some living here year round, some staying a few months at a time (like us), and those just passing through.
Even though there is a common building with a laundry facility and an area to sit with free WiFi, (free WiFi??? … happy dance, happy dance!!!) there is no public restroom … weird, I know. And the office isn’t open on weekends or after 4:00 any day of the week. So unusual and very strange.
Although the park is working fine for our needs, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Earlier in the month, we befriended some folks here in the RV park who intended to stay for a month, but after two weeks, they decided to move on.
The fairgrounds itself no longer holds any active events, but it did come in handy serving as a temporary animal shelter during the Goodwin Fire.
Next to the fairgrounds is an abandoned race track. Yavapai Downs has been vacant for several years, but rumor has it, it has been purchased and the new owners hope to have it up and running by next summer.
When we don’t have time to hit the amazing trails, and let me tell you, the trails around here are seriously awesome, we use the race track to get in our steps.
Not only have we pretended to be horses and briskly walked the track (now there’s a visual 😆), we use the stadium stairs as our personal stairmaster. Yep, definitely an unusual place to exercise, but since it’s in my backyard and so convenient, I don’t have any excuses not to get in a workout.
We’ve been thoroughly enjoying our time in the Prescott, Arizona, area and with only a few more weeks to go before we get our wheels rolling again, we’ll be busy trying to squeeze in a few new explorations. Although considering it’s monsoon season around here, those plans may be curtailed. We’ve encountered some doozy storms which always brings about dramatic and unusual skies…. keeping us on our toes!
Did you do any impulse buying on Amazon Prime Day? I know at least one person who did 😗
The monsoon season has officially arrived here in Prescott, Arizona. It’s curtailed my hiking and explorations somewhat, especially when there’s lightening present. But the drama in the sky is luring. The other afternoon I ventured out with no real plan in mind. With camera in hand, I thought I’d swing by one of my favorite spots in Prescott, Arizona … Watson Lake.
It was late in the afternoon with ominous clouds looming. The park was relatively empty. I began aimlessly strolling down one trail and then down another. I was alone, but I was never really alone.
The quiet solitude allowed me to take in the sights and sounds around me. I was in my element, and if it hadn’t been for the severe storm, I could have stayed until nightfall. The highlight of my day was coming across a bobcat in the middle of the trail. She was on the hunt and very focused. She knew I was there, but could’ve cared less. She glanced at me once and immediately returned to focusing on her prey.
I waited and watched this elegant cat for awhile. However, she obviously exuded more patience than moi, and I soon found myself walking in another direction. I hadn’t ventured far when I heard her success. Tweetie bird’s beautiful chirping was halted in mid chirp along with some serious rustling of the bushes. I quickly swung back to the previous trail where I had spotted her, but saw no signs of the majestic cat. Although, I knew to keep a very safe distance, and didn’t walk past my original spot where I photographed her. Ah, the circle of life!
A collage of what I saw along the trail that fine day illustrating I was never alone ……
A busy Bee
Waiting to attack her prey. She could care less about my presence.
Tweetie’s not tweeting anymore 😦
Hey Lady, got any food?
Fingers crossed the storms aren’t too severe this afternoon and I can head back over to Watson Lake and visit with the locals while getting in some trail hiking. In lieu of exercise, I’ll settle for more shutter clicks 😁
Update – Oops in my exuberance to share these photos, I failed to do my homework on the cat I encountered along the trail. Because of the ears, I assumed it was a Lynx when in reality I believe it’s a bobcat. Thanks Laurel for pointing that out 😏
Living a minimalist mobile lifestyle can be enlightening, fun, and rewarding but it can also present challenges. Last summer, Al and I meandered around Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado and although we had a fantastic time, the transient way of life can be stressful at times.
Wanting to keep our schedule flexible, we didn’t make any reservations last summer. That sense of freedom and rolling on a whim is one of many things we love about this RVing lifestyle. But there is a down side. Summer is a time for family vacations, peak travel season, which means state parks, national parks, and private RV parks are usually booked months in advance and for us that meant finding a place to camp was no easy feat without a reservation.
This summer we decided to park in one place for a few months and see how long it would take for hitch itch to set in. This summer we’d have no worries or stress as to where to camp. In the past, I’m usually good for a month, maybe two, parked in one spot and then I’m ready to get those wheels rolling again.
I’m enjoying my time camped here in Prescott Valley, Arizona, and there’s only a small part of me missing the adventure of travel …. just a little anyway. However, I’m sure my latest adventure with my daughter tempered that need to roll.
So to overcome any hitch itch, I’ve been keeping myself busy. When the weather isn’t scorching hot, which it unfortunately has been this past week, I’m out an about hiking or exploring with the camera in hand.
One of my favorite places to hike in Prescott, Arizona, is at Watson Lake. I’m never at a loss at finding a photographic composition in this unique little spot. And when the light isn’t quite right for those landscape shots, I always manage to find a willing model or two to focus my camera on.
Not only is it a fun adventure exploring new landscapes, learning the idiosyncrasies of a new location can be equally amusing. In early May when we moved up to Prescott from Phoenix, up to 5,200 feet in elevation, we thought we would be escaping the extreme triple digit heat which is normal in Phoenix. Boy, were we wrong!
First off, Phoenix has been experiencing record high temperatures this past week and that heat has permeated into every square inch of the state of Arizona, including Prescott. Now granted, we’re still at least ten to fifteen degrees cooler than the city of Phoenix, but who’s counting when the temps rise over 100 degrees Fahrenheit 😲
With those high temperatures in mind, when I take a shower in the late afternoon, I have a fun time adjusting the water temperature. I try putting the faucet nozzles in the same position all the time. Lately, the water is hot, I mean unusually hot. The other day when our thermometer was registering 108 outside, I kept turning the hot water nozzle down in hopes that the water temperature would cool.
Eventually, I had the hot water nozzle turned totally off and just the cold was running. No cold water for this gal! Considering we only have a six gallon water heater and I’ve become quite adept at taking a quick Navy shower, the excess hot water was a treat. Yep, the cold water was hot …. how interesting!
I’m always learning something new with each place we call home.
Eventually, the water did turn cold, but it did take awhile for the above ground and shallow below ground water lines to be cleared of the heated water.
A transient RV lifestyle is anything but boring, and there’s always something new to learn and experience. And although there’s a part of me that would like to be on the move exploring like we did last summer, I’m enjoying the lack of stress associated in finding a place to park. Plus, I still have so much more to see around here, and I haven’t even mentioned our active social life yet.
There’s definitely an upside to being stationary for a time, but I assure you my transient RVing lifestyle won’t be coming to an end anytime soon. That freedom to roam is addictive!
I’ll admit, I wasn’t always a fan of Phoenix, Arizona. Quite frankly, if our son hadn’t moved here eight years ago, I’m not sure how much time we’d actually spend in Phoenix, but let’s add in the fact that our daughter also lives here now …. well, need I say more … this place has definitely grown on me.
With that said, Phoenix, Arizona, has since become our ‘home’, our home base so to speak. We always manage to find some place in the Phoenix valley to park the RV for a lengthy stay and get in as much parent/child time as possible. Although, from Al’s and my point of view, there never seems to be enough time spent with the kids.
Gosh, they are adults after all and do have demanding jobs and lives of their own. Thus, we take what time we can get.
Our two favorite pastimes to spend together as a family are hiking and eating, and there’s no shortage of either around here.
As far as urban planning goes, I think Phoenix has done a fabulous job. Traffic can be a bear just like any other major city, but the road system is laid out in a somewhat organized manner compared to other cities and is easy to navigate. There are several expressways looping around the city to assist in keeping the dense amount of traffic moving.
Over the past several years of visiting Phoenix regularly, at all times of the year including summer, we’ve had the opportunity to observe traffic patterns and noticed there seems to be a sharp increase in traffic during the months of January, February, and March when the valley is loaded with snowbirds from the north. Once these snowbirders move on …. come April, the density of the traffic seems to lighten, and by May the city can once again breathe.
But what impresses me the most about Phoenix is the park / trail system. No matter what side of the valley we park the RV, there’s always a trailhead within a short distance. Quite often these trails feel remote, are rugged, and vary in challenge. Don’t be fooled, there are some very challenging hikes in this city.
There’s also tons of groomed, kid friendly parks with playground equipment perfect for families. Yes, urban planning at its finest.
Although the Superstition Mountains remains my favorite place to hike while in Phoenix, I’ve discovered several other wonderful trailheads.
Most recently, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time hiking at the Sonoran Preserve. The Desert Hills Trailhead was recently completed and is less than ten minutes away from our RV Park. The Apache Wash Trailhead is located a little closer to where our children live and makes for a great place for us to meet up.
This spring has been especially enjoyable hiking with the abundance of dense wildflowers. I’m a girly girl and a sucker for flowers.
So, while it may not have been love at first sight, I’ve come to appreciate and embrace all that Phoenix has to offer. Of course, the fact that my babies live here adds to mommy’s overall enjoyment ☺
Thanks to the unusual and excessive rainfall this past winter in the desert southwest, the hills have come alive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Phoenix valley so green, but it’s not just an abundance of green that has carpeted the land.
Everywhere I look, I’m greeted with a delightful kaleidoscope of color. The wildflowers are on steroids this year and I’m loving the view. Each bloom, bush, and tree is a wonderful sight to behold.
The stunning display of wildflowers is an unexpected surprise to those visiting the desert for the first time. The desert southwest is lush with vegetation and color and a far cry from the drab, barren brown most folks associate with a desert.
I always look forward to spring in Arizona, and couldn’t wait to share some of my favorite Phoenix valley spots with my daughter. First up was hiking at the Superstition Mountain located on the far east side of the valley. This is my absolute favorite place to hike in Arizona.
March 2nd – Al and I managed to snag a lovely campsite in the overflow loop for a couple of nights of dry camping at Lost Dutchman State Park. This is a popular state park and without a reservation, it’s difficult to nab a site with electric.
By camping at the base of the Superstition Mountains, I was able to hike multiple times throughout the day and photograph the beauty that surrounded me. Sharing this amazing scenery with my daughter was a special treat.
If you ever find yourself visiting Phoenix and looking for an entertaining way to spend a day, here’s a post I did a while back about the Apache Trail that you might find fun.
Who knew the desert could be so colorful? ‘I know, I know’, she exclaimed with raised hand! And once the wildflowers wither, it’ll be time for the cactus to bloom. The color of spring in the desert is a memorable and unique experience …. not to be missed.
I had one of the most amazing mornings yesterday. For some reason, I woke up earlier than normal. I jumped out of bed energetic, and was ready to tackle a new day. By 6:30 a.m. I was already on my second cup of coffee.
Sunrise wouldn’t be for another forty-five minutes and I contemplated hopping in the truck to capture a few sunrise photos along the Texas Gulf Coast. The RV was dripping with dew and the windows were coated with moisture rich humidity blocking any potential view. I needed to open the RV door to check the sky for cloud coverage.
The past couple of weeks have been a total bust for sunrise photography. The sky was either totally cloudless (boring) or covered in a thick layer … blocking any notice of a sunrise. The mornings when the skies did cooperate, my body didn’t, and my sluggish exit out of bed found me missing the opportunity to capture those perfect skies.
Yesterday morning when I stuck my head out the RV door, I was greeted with nothingness. I could barely make out the shape of the tree just five feet away. Fog … a thick layer of fog engulfed the landscape. The assault of humidity had its way with my natural curly hair. Nothing a baseball cap couldn’t fix. The moist sea air upon my face made my skin feel ten years younger. Frizzy hair and dewy skin … oh well 😏
Wow …. I had to get out there, even if the lighting wasn’t good for photography. The atmosphere was amazing. I threw on some clothes. Topped off my coffee and jumped in the truck. I wasn’t sure if I’d find anything worth photographing, but I didn’t care. I reveled in the quiet. In the solitude. In the peacefulness. Aaah, how wonderfully calming, yet eerie and mysterious!
By 7:30 the sun had been up fifteen minutes, yet I saw no signs of her presence. I didn’t mind. I was enjoying a glorious morning by myself. And although I may have been alone, I was not alone.
I was bushwhacking strolling through damp grasses and weeds amongst a grove of oak trees that serve as the roosting grounds for Great Blue Herons and Egrets. I could hear their rustling, grunts, and squawks in the trees above me. When one of the birds would take flight, I could even hear their wing movement. I know …. how cool was that!And then there were the ducks and Coot swimming in the pond. Rumor has it, there’s even an alligator that calls this place home. Such company, I can do without. Birds yes, gators no!
What a wonderful morning it was, and although I didn’t photograph the kind of images I originally set out to capture, I was pleased with the photographs I did make. By 10:00 a.m. the fog had burned off, my stomach was growling, and it was time to return to the RV … feeling refreshed, renewed, and happy.
This is our fourth winter RVing along the Texas Gulf Coast, and it has not disappointed. The weather has been enjoyable this year with no mention of a polar vortex, thank goodness. With that said, I’m taking full advantage of getting out of the RV everyday to commune with my feathered friends.
I don’t consider myself a birder, but merely, someone who admires birds, especially shore birds. My fascination with these birds was piqued during that very first visit to the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve always enjoyed wildlife photography, but bird photography was a new game. It challenged me then, and continues to challenge me now.
I always look forward to our return trips to Texas to observe and photograph the exquisite and graceful whooping crane, an endangered species who’s numbers were in the teens back in the 1940’s and are now in the 500+ range. Habitat and poaching still threaten these magnificent birds, but efforts are being made by various organizations to help these cranes.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this beautiful pink beauty … the roseate spoonbill. Her deep pink is truly stunning. Actually, it’s the male of the species that sports the deepest of the hue. This is one dude who knows how to wear pink well!
However, I find the egret embodies a certain grace and elegance. Her snowy white plumage, long black legs, and bright yellow feet have me comparing her to a princess. He or she? In the case of the egret, both sexes are bright white and thus difficult to decipher.
Tri-colored Herons feel equally as regal and exude a unique level of gracefulness. Their grayish blue coloring with patches of deep purple is truly stunning.
Ah, then there are the pelicans … oh those pelicans. What can I say about these whimsical creatures?
When in-flight they exhibit a grace comparable to the whooping crane, but when they plunge into the water fishing for dinner, well let’s just say, the sight is anything but graceful and is downright comical.
I’m still trying to capture a video of a pelican diving for fish, but am always in the midst of laughing and fail to point the camera in the right direction. I’ll keep working on that!
Overall, I find pelicans to be rather entertaining and full of character and when they aren’t flying, they exhibit absolutely no grace what so ever.
I’ve got another month hanging along the Texas Gulf Coast with my feathered friends. I hope to capture more photographs of these amazing shore birds, and in the process, work on getting in my exercise steps 😎
It was mid August when Al and I were in dire need of a little down time. With obligations behind us, we were able to meander as our hearts desired. Just the way we like to roll.
After a four hour drive, we pulled into the Elks Lodge parking lot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We found a nice grassy spot to set up camp for three nights. It’s easy to fall in love with Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It is such an eclectic mix of new and old offering a little something for everyone, not to mention a great farmer’s market. Ah, yes… worthy of its own post!
And although we loved our boondocking spot at the Elk’s Lodge, the real camping gem we discovered was forty miles down the road. At Cochiti Lake Campground we snagged a lovely pull-thru site with electric and water.
Each afternoon, a summer storm would roll through gracing me with an artistic show that only mother nature could create. During these storms, I would try to leave the RV door open or at least a window.
The smell of fresh rain in this arid high desert landscape was intoxicating and the vegetation and bunnies seemed to relish in the moisture. And once the storms passed, a rainbow would remind me to smile. Each afternoon as I sat in the comfort of the RV watching the show unfold, I was flooded with a mix of emotions; comfort, relaxed, awed, alive, lucky, life is good ….. and this is why we RV.
The ten days we spent here were just what we needed to relax and rejuvenate. Although the majority of the time was spent around camp, I did manage to venture into Santa Fe a few times and hiked at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument at every opportunity.
This area in New Mexico is definitely a place I look forward to returning to and as much as I was reluctant to leave, hitch itch set in and it was time to put the RV wheels in motion.
Our next stop was in Arizona at the Petrified Forest National Park. On the far south side of the National Park, just outside the park entrance, are a couple of gift shops. They allow free overnight camping. We stayed here last year for a quick overnight when we helped our daughter move from Denver to Phoenix.
During this visit, I was able to linger and explore the park …. well kind of.
The weather wasn’t necessarily all that agreeable and after I took a fair share of commemorative photos, the lightening and down pouring rain had me hightailing it back to the RV.
In between weather fronts, Al and I decided to hit the road bound for Williams, Arizona. Fortunately, the winds were short lived and the three hour drive was pretty uneventful.
While we were trying to back in to a site at Lake Kaibab National Forest, the camp host rolled up in his golf cart letting us know he just received a cancellation for a nice pull-thru site ….. sweet! My how those travel Gods continued to smile upon us.
Williams, Arizona, is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon, but the town has also done an amazing job of rebranding itself and playing up its Route 66 history. This is a fun little town worth spending an afternoon exploring. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat or a hotel room for a visit to the Grand Canyon since the national park is only an hour drive up the road.
I had every intention of driving up to the Grand Canyon for a day of photography, but I managed to come down with a head cold and with the cool temps that are common in this part of Arizona at the end of August, I longed for some heat.
So down in elevation we went …. to the town of Cottonwood. Just east of town is a popular boondocking spot (free camping, no services). It’s amazing how drastic the change in weather can be a mere hour apart. In Flagstaff the weather temps barely hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit while in Cottonwood temperatures were well into the 90’s. The heat felt wonderful, although when it reached 104 inside the RV, even sick lil’ol me thought it was a tad too hot. However, between the RV sauna, chicken noodle soup, and a spicy Mexican meal at Javalina’s in Sedona, I started feeling better in short order.
Three days of boondocking in the desert heat had us moving on down to Prescott Valley in search of electric and air conditioning. We booked a month long stay at the Fairgrounds RV Park.
On October 1st we returned to Phoenix, Arizona, our starting point back in April. We’ve been comfortably parked on the north side of the valley and visiting with friends and family regularly.
So now you’re all caught up on our summer journey. I’ll eventually write some posts and share a bunch more photos on the highlights of our summer stops. We truly had a fantastic six month adventure filled with lots of firsts and a few repeats.
For now, I’m off to finish up my Christmas shopping…..
Should I get this pressure cooker or would this drone be more fun? I like the idea of both, don’t you 😉I ordered this T-shirt for my daughter!and several gift cards as stocking stuffers. Yep, I’m getting close to the end of my shopping and starting to wrap’m up. I’m a shopper and love this time of year 🙂 This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure can be found here.
As fickle as the spring weather has been, we’ve been equally fickle in regards to our travel itinerary. The last few days, Al and I have changed our minds about as often as a teenage girl changes her outfit.
Last Friday morning, we were all loaded up and about ready to pull away from Lake Powell with a state park near Beaver, Utah, as our intended overnight destination. Before Al could put the truck into drive I asked, “What kind of Coloradoans are we to let a little cold and snow keep us from exploring a National Park that’s at the top of our ‘must see’ list?”
Two seconds later, we were on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park.
It took us three hours to drive from Page, Arizona, to Panguitch, Utah. With cold and snow in the forecast, we decided to forego dry camping in the National Park and opt for full hook-ups at the Red Canyon RV Park, about twenty miles from thet Park. We no sooner had the RV set up and the truck unhooked when we set off to explore.
Refusing to allow a little snow to keep me from seeing those hoodoos (bulbous rock columns). I bundled up in my winter gear to take in this amazing sight. It was cold and blustery but OH MY GOSH ….. pictures do not do this place justice! I was on sensory overload and couldn’t decide where to point the camera.
Even Al was awed. At each scenic overlook, we stood there speechless, admiring the view. Words can’t begin to describe this perplexing oddity of wind-swept rock.
This morning (Sunday), the weather finally let up long enough for Al and me to enjoy a hike. According to my darling husband, we spent ten minutes hiking and two hours taking photos, but in reality, we hiked for two hours and snapped photos for ten 😉
At 9:45 in the morning, it was a cold 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 Celsius). We started into the canyon via the Navajo Loop trail and eventually turned onto the Queens Garden trail. The Queens/Navajo Combo trail is about 3 miles long starting at the Sunrise Point trailhead and ending at the Sunset Point trailhead with a 600 foot elevation change. Although a relatively easy hike, the 600 foot climb back up to the rim can be challenging for some. The trail can also be muddy and slick in spots.
The day started off with a beautiful blue sky and little to no wind. Two hours later, the sky was blanketed in a threatening grey accompanied by swirling winds. We were glad to be near the end of our hike as the weather started rolling in.
Although the views of Bryce Canyon along the rim are spectacular, strolling among the hoodoos is a surreal experience. The rocks never rest. Stones tumbled as we slowly meandered along the trail. The weather is quick to change causing light to alter hues and shadows. There are many moods among the hoodoos, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the trees.
There are pines of all kinds around here, but the Bristlecone pines are the most intriguing. They are some of the longest-lived life forms on Earth. Some of these trees are well over 1,000 years old and their trunks are a unique work of art. Their ability to grow in such an unrelenting environment is fascinating.
The forces of weather continue to erode and sculpt this mesmerizing landscape daily. We’ve already extended our stay once and may do so again. Thus, you can plan on seeing more photos and posts on Bryce Canyon National Park. Stay tuned!
This weeks WordPress photo challenge word is admiration …. after spending the last few days admiring Mother Nature’s creativity along with God’s handy work, it’s obvious who and what have captured my admiration.