Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Covering the Miles

Since leaving Patagonia, we have traveled past magnificent rock outcroppings; up high mountains and then down the other side then up again; across acres of mountain grass lands, some perfectly flat other times rolling and steep; through forests of short rounded lollipop junipers suddenly morphing into pines as we again gain elevation.

And, to our delight, fields of wildflowers.

And, to our sorrow, acres of wildfire remnants.

The miles provide fascination between long stretches of monotony, but then, after not paying attention for a spell, fascination again. We've been traveling the southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico scenic highways, avoiding interstates whenever possible. The populations are very sparse; towns few and mostly dead or dying.

Our first night out from Patagonia was Chiricahua National Monument. We will return to Chiricahua in May to trail angel for Yessi and Brad as they map for Green Trail Maps. Because we plan to return 
we didn't spend lots of time exploring, but did grab the opportunity to scrutinize camps and resupply options.

Cochise Head

Massi Point

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation area, our next stop, was interesting, remote, and is largely undiscovered. The Gila River access, in the canyon below our camp, was the beginning of a 23 mile float, through canyon walls 500 feet high. Kayaks! We need kayaks!

In talking with a couple of kayakers, they suggested The Catwalk, a National Recreation Trail in New Mexico. That became our next destination, resulting in a huge disappointment as it was temporally closed. However, scenic Highway 180 was certainly no disappointment.

Surprise Christmas trees appeared from time-to-time, just to keep us on our toes, I guess.


"Embrace all emotions: sadness, happiness, sorrow, hate, love, prejudice, fear; they are weapons
against our greatest enemy: indifference."

- Dave Matthes
Wanderlust and the Whiskey Bottle Parallel: Poems and Stories

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Working, Playing, Enjoying

Patagonia, Arizona

What an amazing transformation this sweet little home has seen with Penny and Rob's combined good eye and Michael's mean brush.

From this...
To this...

While here I have been doing a little landscape design consultation, but lots more enjoying, visiting, laughing, eating and basking in the warmth of Arizona and Langley friendships.

Between these two buildings there will be a two-tiered flagstone patio. The elevations will be retained with dry stack walls using local stone collected on site or close by. Plantings will be Arizona through and through!

Both Ed and I are quite taken with Patagonia. It is a small (1000 people or so) town, with a delightful character along with the necessary amenities. A great hang-out coffee shop; outstanding organic grocer; stylish and charming clothing store; fun and rowdy town tavern; a Politically Incorrect Gas Station; and a shady park right down the middle of town.

We parked Thistle on Penny and Rob's driveway for several nights, enjoying a dark, dark star-filled night sky, and a beautiful view by day.

The party began breaking up with Rob's departure on Wednesday and Michael's and ours on Thursday. Penny leaves next week.

Saying goodbye to a beautiful view

It was difficult to move on from Patagonia, but here we are. Our camp tonight is at Chiricahua National Monument in Southeast Arizona. We're checking it out for our May Trail angeling activities, when Yessi and Brad will be hiking and mapping for Green Trail Maps. The splendor is glorious!


"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."
- Linda Grayson

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Mixed Bag

Patagonia, Arizona

Today, we went exploring. Starting in Patagonia we drove to Tombstone, an historic town of some renown, but a little over the top for us on the oh-so-cute-tourist-trap scale.

After wandering Tombstone for a bit, lunch and a beer, we decided to return to Patagonia via a circle route. We dropped south to Bisbee, a darling town, dangling from the hillsides, but we needed to keep going as it was quickly getting late. Leaving Bisbee, but still in the city limits, we found Bisbee's Achilles heel, a huge hole in the ground.

The gem of our day's travels though was to return to Patagonia via Montezuma Pass. The unpaved road was steep, winding and dusty, causing me to sneeze and sniffle and blow my nose the entire way, but loving it anyway. From Bisbee, 5300', we wound our way up to Montezuma Peak, 6700', and then back down to Patagonia, 4000'.

Headed up to the peak from the south.

The black line you see in the lower left of this photo is the wall between Arizona and Mexico. 
Commonly seen on all back roads within 100 miles of the border.

This is the road up to the peak.
The Arizona Trail at the top

Looking down the other side.

A stunningly beautiful drive, finally getting back to Patagonia at almost 8:00. Tired, and ready to retire from this day, yet pleased with the beauty we discovered.

"I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams..."
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bless our National Forests!

Kentucky Camp, Arizona #2

Our camp, just off to the side of this dirt road, is amazing. A world of outdoor seekers has passed by our door today. All day it's been a steady stream of ORV folks, day hikers, Arizona Trail thru-hikers, horse back riders, jeeps, pickups, cars, and bicycle riders. This National Forest land is making lots and lots of people very happy.

Jane & Patrick, day hikers, from Victoria B.C.

Copper State Trail Riders

Scott & Matt, Thistle neighbors for the day. 

Alisha & Tom, Arizona Trail thru-hikers
Bikers going by too fast for name gathering.

Talk about a mixed group of users -- sharing a trail!

The heart dances with joy when you're sharing."
- Debasish Mridha