I migrated down I-5, overnighting in Canyonville, OR and Gustine, CA before landing in Southern California. The next couple of days was a whirlwind and a joy as I hopped from Tustin, Anaheim, Murietta, and Cathedral City to visit, breakfast, laugh, have dinner, get hugs, do technology, watch softball, and just have fun spending time with friends and family. Then I was off for some serious snowbirding in the desert southwest.
|Ehrenberg sunset on Valentine's Day. XXOXOO for John :)|
First, I spent almost 3 weeks in the back country of Ehrenberg, AZ (BLM land). Here I got to see a few good vandwelling friends again, and meet some new folks too. But, mostly I just enjoyed the quiet and warmth of the desert. The closest camp to mine was about 50 yards, the furthest about 300.
|Sunset through a dust storm, Ehrenberg, AZ (end of February)|
After Ehrenberg, I made a quick trip further south to Los Algodones, MX for some cheap meds and vanilla extract. There was a storm brewing and I didn't want to be caught in the desert back country, so decided to spend the night at Yuma's Mittry Lake (BLM land) until the roads dried up. I really enjoyed the dramatic skies and wildlife. But, it rained very little.
|Great White Egrets roosting below my campsite at Mittry Lake.|
Not a great photo, but a great memory. By sundown, the snags were
full of about 20 egrets. (3/1/15)
My friend Sunny was in Apache Junction, AZ again this year; so, I was glad to meet up with her for a few days. We toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West and drove The Apache Trail. I highly recommend both activities.
|The entrance area to Taliesin West gives a sense of the |
architect's aesthetic throughout the complex. (3/4/15)
|Spire designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as|
part of a proposed state capitol complex
designed in the 1950's. (3/4/15)
|Last rays of sunlight on the Superstition Mountains,|
as taken from the Goldfield Ghost Town. (3/4/15)
|Canyon Lake on The Apache Trail. (3/5/15)|
|Tortilla Flat, AZ Saloon on The Apache Trail. Here you have a|
seat at the bar in a real saddle (Sunny) or ride bare back on a
carved horse''s butt (Suanne). (3/5/15)
|Layers in the rock as seen on The Apache Trail. Amazing! (3/5/15)|
|Some dirt road sections of The Apache Trail in the distance, with|
ocotillo ready to burst into bloom in the foreground. (3/5/15)
|The dam on Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The Apache Trail. (3/5/15)|
From there, I went to the Cave Creek Ranger District Office for Tonto National Forest and inquired about dispersed camping. The ranger eagerly pointed out various options, including one that didn't require a permit (free) -- Mesquite Campground – that's the option I chose. The drive to the campground was beautiful among rock formations and saguaro cacti, partially paved and partially a graded dirt road. I selected a small campsite right next to the Verde River, in the middle of a Mesquite forest. After 10 days of soaking in this beauty, I decided to meet up with some friends again.
|Campsites at the Mesquite Campground had fire rings and tables. |
Here I'm relaxing while viewing the fast-flowing
and muddy Verde River. (3/7/15)
|A few days later, they turned down the water flow from the reservoir up river. |
You can see on the trees below how high the water was, and it's still muddy.
|Soon the river was down to a trickle, and clear. (3/13/15)|
|Saguaro Cactus Forest across Horseshoe Reseviour, about|
2 miles upstream (by road) from my campsite. (3/13/15)
|At sunset a storm rolled through, making the scene look |
more like Halloween than Spring time. (3/13/15)
|Leaving Agua Fria as storm clouds were gathering. (3/18/15)|
With another storm brewing, I didn't want to be stuck in the back country of Agua Fria until it dried out. So, I decided to see if I could find my friends in the Prescott NF before the roads became impassable. Based on directions from a couple of years ago, I found them just after they had arrived themselves. Good thing; it poured that night and into the next day.
|A look down the road from my current camp site in the|
Prescott National Forest. (3/22/15)
|Preview of some wildflowers. Dainty yellow things next|
to my camp. (3/22/15)