"the call of the canyon"
On our route, we followed Oak Creek Canyon for about a half-mile before turning to follow the trail into the castle-like canyon of the West Fork of Oak Creek. Beneath the red rock formations we soon passed the ruins of a cabin built in 1870 by "Bear" Howard (so named because it is alleged he once killed four grizzly bears with only a knife and his bare hands). In 1926 the cabin was reconstructed to allow guests and was renamed The Mayhew Lodge. It was made famous by its list of distinguished visitors -- among others, Walt Disney, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart each report having stayed at "The Mayhew."
I am a sucker for an imposing geology of spectacular swirls, texture, and colored rock formations, especially when laid out under a deep blue sky. So like usual, we took a lot of pictures (film processing is much more affordable for us these days). Here are some of my favorites from our hike on the West Fork Trail:
In spite of our GRAND efforts, we did not get to see everything, mind you. The 'Grand Canyon State' is a pretty large place to explore (6th on the list of US States by size). In our free time from SOWERs, we did get around a bit -- In addition to GCNP (see August Blog), we found and visited several National Monuments, three state parks, and several more National Historic Places. And of course there is all of the colorful scenery that's in between!
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Hot, dry, and dusty are the adjectives that we used the most. And we were in Arizona during the infamous Monsoon Season (yes, it did rain on us a few times). The temperatures reached the high 90's to 105ish every day, I think. But in the evening, it cooled down into the 70s and 80's -- that's when social hour begins for Arizonites, we learned. But by that time Deb and I were ready to start winding down for the day!
To the west, precariously perched as if to slide off the side of the mountain, rests the self-proclaimed 'Mile High City' of Jerome. Jerome once embraced a booming copper mining industry. It now embraces a touristy and booming art district selling everything you can wear or sit on that is made of/with copper; it is very pretty stuff. Jerome reminded us of the way Central City, BlackHawk, Idaho Springs, and Cripple Creek (et.al.) used to "look and feel" before Colorado voted to allow gambling in those historic mining towns. We enjoyed Jerome so much that we visited twice! Yes, there is an ice cream shop!
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Outside the cities, there are lots of creepy-crawlies. And who would have guessed that poison ivy can grow in the desert? Seems like there is a warning sign at every trailhead. Scorpions were the scariest to me. But the giant red ants weren't any fun, either. I was hoping to see a Gila Monster, or a Road Runner, but no luck. Gadget loved the trails -- she has taken to lizard chasing as a new hobby. For now, the squirrels are safe.
In case you are interested, when we have not spent the night in Faith, we have been found in motels, staying with one of our kids, our parents, or even in a small travel trailer that we borrowed for a few days.
Can we make it to 2000 nights?!?
happy birthday, gadget!
[09/02/2018] Today, Gadgette the Adventure Dog is ONE YEAR OLD. If she looks tired, it's because she has been in eleven states and traveled 9,747 miles this spring and summer. And she has hid our socks, sneaked human food, and puppy-adventured in all of those states. No wonder her tongue hangs out!
She was a little shaky at first in the motorhome, but she had mastered her "sea legs" after about the first 1500 miles. If she is not riding in the passenger seat, she rides underneath Ken's desk.
We were surprised how much she liked the beach -- not so much to play in the water as to dig BIG holes in the sand. She has been kayaking several times, but doesn't know how to sit still. She has discovered that she likes drinking straight from a water bottle, salmon jerky, vanilla ice cream, and chasing lizards. Her favorite toy is the Wuuba. And for a lap dog, she likes to spend more time outside than inside, especially if it gives her the chance to run (followed by a snooze in a camp chair)!
We love you Gadget! Thank you for adding a such a fun new dimension to our dining/hiking/kayaking/exploring/travel experience! Touring these western states would not have been the same without you. Here are some pix for your scrapbook:
NOT The clan without water
The "Sinagua" settled the fertile area of the river valley by building in the cliffs as cliff dwellers, as well as on the desert floor near the river. Evidence of stone foundations and adobe walls are frequent along the hiking trails. The 5-story, 20-room, Montezuma Castle is the best preserved cliff dwelling that I have seen; it is the most prominent "Sinagua" structure in the area. Montezuma was never there, by the way.
Nobody knows for sure why the civilization suddenly abandoned such a fertile farming area. When they left, however, there is evidence that the clans split into at least three separate groups. Those tribes would become what we know today as the Hopi, the Yavapai, and the Apache Indian nations.