Boyton Canyon Sedona – Exploring My World 

A grey day in Sedona looks better than a good day other places.   A few miles west of the “Y” in Sedona is Dry Creek Road this leads to a bunch of trailheads.   But for those who don’t want to walk in cold weather these pictures are all from the road. 

If you hike stay on the trails and bring a friend.  There are a ton of exposed areas.   There were a few puma (mountain lion)  prints asking my little solo hike.  There were people at the trailhead on my return telling me this is bad place for heat illnesses.   Bring water! 

Oak Crek Canyon -Exploring My World 

There are trails everywhere here outside of Payson, AZ.  This is a stab in the dark hike.  I left with no more than a distance and direction.  The trail offers solitude. 

 The forest like most in the area have Ponderosa Pines, Alligator  Cypress, and Sycamore through out the hike.   The forest is open with tons of natural light.

While there were plenty of hoof prints from elk, wildlife around 11 AM was missing.  But I did have a butterfly pose for me (actually sipping minerals out of wet soil).  I’m not used to seeing them in November.  Or as below, a wildflower.

The trail crosses a highway and continues as multiple trails to a small creek and a pasture, or across the state if you keep following the White diamonds.  But I stopped at the meadow.  Very relaxing but not for nature watching during the middle of the day

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park – Exploring My World 

This gorgeous piece of travertine has a 183 feet high bridge carved by this passive looking stream.  Its located about ten miles North of Payson, AZ  off  AZ87.  The State Park is a nice ride off the highway that ends in some hairpin turns.  The park is fairly small none  of the four hikes being longer than half a mile.  

The bridge is tall enough that you need to drop 200 feet in a fairly quickly manner.  Railroad ties make stairs in places to make it easier.  The view above is from Gowan trail, it is the easiest way down. You can make it to the bottom where a misty waterfall will get you wet if you stand there long enough. Above you are plenty of swallows that make nests inside holes in the travertine above you.  Benches are there for the return trip.

If you wish to rock hop a little you can get about 100 feet into the tunnel safely.  The rocks are highly polished and can be wet bring really good shoes.  The views are spectacular.  

Now every tunnel had two sides!  Above and below are the other views.   The second trail is Anna Mae trail.  It has the same drop of 200 feet but is much shorter like 500 feet!  At the bottom you aren’t able to see the Bridge.  So you rock hop.  It’s not a difficult “path” but good shoes, knees, and ankles are required.  There is mostly uneven smooth rocks that are in the creek.  It’s worth the challenge.  Below you can see the misty waterfall back light from the morning sun.

The Pine Creek Trail  is a half mile of Creek that means very little trail and lots of these cataracts.  It’s a nice view and super quiet for most part.  It starts with Anna Mae Trail, and is a collection of arrows on rocks and trees that meander side to side.  This is a half hour of looking for the best foothold.  Below was my prize picture.  Kind of Dragon like thing made from a tree trunk still in the ground.   I don’t know what happened to the tree but it wasn’t pretty.

Finally, they advertise a Waterfall trail.  Uh, not much to see here.  You do get a fern choked “waterfall”, meaning water drips a lot from above.  There is no cascading.  There is no sound of a traditional waterfall.  So either do this first or last when splashing with water will cool you off.

Travel Tag

Thank you for the passing of the Travel Tag to Shannon H, her answers were really good.  You can find her here,  Great pictures, too!  That means read this first, so that I maybe be upstaged after ward. 😉

Seriously, I love a good challenge.  So here goes…

The rules are easy and fun. Just answer the questions below, repost the questions and tag fellow travel lovers, let them know you tagged them and let your blogosphere travels begin!
You are leaving tomorrow to start a life in a new country, where would you go?

This is a crazy thought but I’m going to Costa Rica!  It has mountains, beaches, jungles, Jaguars, great weather….. The whale sharks stop by for a visit parts of the year.  Take away hurricanes, tropical storms, and the “do I have to understand and speak Spanish?”.  It’s prefect! Hey this is there…Corcovado National Park.  Photo stolen from Costa Rica Vacations.  The week of November 11, 2016 is a best deal to go there! The site say so!

You can take someone for a weekend away to the place you had the best holidays ever, where would that be and who would you take to go with you?

Not fair!  The world, the US simply has too much to offer.  I will reflect upon my blogs title, and answer appropriately.  My wife would kill me (she is an officer of the law, really she would kill me slowly with 12 bullets in painful places) if I left her behind.  So that said we are heading for Mexico to visit Chichen Itza!  It’s over 400 feet of pyramid and if you clap your hands it sounds like a bird that lives there!  How cool it that!  Ok, we are arriving on the Spring Equinox to see the snake crawl down the pyramid!  Yes people, by trick of the sunlight a detailed snake actually looks like it popping out of the stonework.  Then we flew to Australia, because while never going there before, I gain a day to see Ayer’s Rock! And maybe Sydney.

You can get married wherever you want to, your budget is limitless, what is your choice?

Been there, done that!  In Honolulu on the Pacific ocean in a city park!  Of course, the budget wasn’t limitless.  Meaning it was us, a surfer dude for a priest, and a guy who does professional photography for surfing, and Hawaiian sports.  We couldn’t afford to bring others along. 😉. But maybe, move it to the Green Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.

During your travels you can bring back home one animal as a pet, which one would you pick?

I have two kitties from a trip to West Virgina 15 years ago.  They wouldn’t understand more cats.  Soiwoukd pick something interesting like cougarormountain lion.  They would probably not get along with the rest of the household. But look at them, they are majestic animals.  They might try to eat you, but all animals have issues.

You can get back in time and relive one family trip, which one?  

We didn’t do many family trips.  Most were in my formative years, way too far back to remember much.  There’s a time I cut off circulation to Dads leg when my parent didn’t notice a ship’s horn behind their 4 year old son.  That was Sauté St Marie in Michigan.  But what I can remember, my trip to Montana with my Dad.  We drove three days from Cleveland, Oh to owe an where he went to Grad School.  I saw the west for the first time.  Wide open spaces, real mountains, giant horizons, Yellowstone, Wall Drug and the Corn Palace, the Black Hills, the Little Big Horn.  I was hooked on the American West

What is the first thing you would pack for a one year travel around the world?

Water filteration pump.  There’s a lot of places off the beaten path I would love to go.  Fresh water is a premium and often shared with parasites and other nasties.

What would your fantasy 100th birthday destination be, and why?

Angel falls, Venezuela!  I would be happy to be alive and aware of where I was.  But the highest waterfalls in the world.  I would need the plane tour.  I have lots of years to save up for it. But it’s really called Kerepakupai Meru. And why?  It’s the biggest waterfall in the world!!

During your travel you can learn one sport to become a pro, what would that be?

This is a travel answer, soccer.  I lack to general coordination to kick a ball in a certain direction at top speed.  Let alone use the head to do the same. They make lots of cash too!


Trees Part 9

The end of my best guesses at what iis growing as a tree or shrub.  There have been 53 so far.  I keep forgetting some shrubs are tender vegetation and get carried inside.  Which means pot bound.  Some take forever to bloom or show fruit.

Rose of Sharon, a glorious weed by any other name surely would not smell as sweet.  Ok, that maybe a bit harsh.  I hated these things when I had a small yard.   You have a thousand seedlings every year it seems.   They with take over easily.   But they can be kept as a hedge.  They will bloom continuously from July til frost.  Every year I cut them back to about two feet tall and they come back really thick.   Left alone they could reach about 6-7 feet tall.   They are a favorite of Japanese Beetles, and may require spaying. 

Hibiscus are a tropical breed.  Hardy ones do exist and require luck this far North.  We have ones that go in for the winter. These are braided as “trees”. They need feed well to stay pretty.  If you let them go dry, It takes awhile to talk them back to blooming.  Once they start they will bloom most of the summer.

The Bay Tree is a Mediterranean staple.  Here it’s a basement plant and acts like it will melt in the Sunshine for the first month its back outside.  This is about four weeks later.  The leaves are usable for seasoning.   Even can be dried and sprinkled around the counter/floor to repeal ants. This can get seven feet tall and if you leave side branches it’ll look a lot better.  It’ll look much better in another month!

Another Florida native, Lantana is at home in sand and loose soils.  But with enough water, it’ll grow in hard soil.  In nature they are 3-4 feet tall,  in a pot or the ground 2-3 feet is big.   This is another spend winter inside plant.  The blooms have multiple colors on most.  Combinations can be red, orange, & yellow, or pink, purple, & cream.  Even solid white or yellow are common. It’s a nice compact shrub.  If you take care of it, all summer it blooms.

The Sargeant Crabapple is another Arbor Day tree.  It had a decent growth rate.   There are male and female trees.  The females bear fruit.  Not edible type for people though.  The tall one is almost ten feet tall, the shorter one six feet.  The foliage is dense enough for a nest or two.  They prefer soil with drainage but can stand wet soil for part of the year.  Just make sure it’s in the Sun.

Trees Part 8


The Black Locust is the main stay of the front yard. It’s a tree that looks more dead than alive most of the year. These are signs of poor soil. They grew in places with standing water, hard compacted clay and will grow with little light. They tend to cluster, partially become they were others won’t. They do actually look good in May because they bloom for a few days or until it rains. The blooms are very fragile.

The Peony is very common shrub. It had really nice blooms that look good for than a week. The plant then proceeds to fall face first to the ground. This one is tied up. It has topped out at less than 3 feet tall.


This Bush Fushia is a tender plant. It’s more plant than shrub. It will get as large as six feet if I lived in Hawaii. Here in Ohio, it lives in the basement for half the year. The flowers are magnets for hummingbirds. They bloom all year. Like the hanging plant relative,this needs lot of water and fertilizer to stay happy.

The Rug Juniper is a spreading evergreen. It will never be more than six inches tall but can stretch out 3-5 feet in two directions. Usually they are long and about a foot wide. They make great accents to demarcate a bed from the yard. This one has a future job doing that!


The Florida Weigela is the most common Weigela. It had red flowers that may have stopped for an unknown reason. It’s battling day lilies for space in a bed. Although, it should be 5-6 feet tall and wide, this one is a bit small. At 2 feet tall, it’s been buried alive for the first couple months is good weather.

Trees Part Seven

Every once in awhile we have misfits.  These are either shrubs and trees that were mislabeled or hard to tell what they really are.  A common problem is placement.


This is a Chestnut, specifically a Horseshoe Chestnut.  Chestnuts are no longer native here, so we borrowed them from China.  This tree was cut down over 12 years ago, then it grew out of trunk as a shrub.  It has five branches each stretch about 6-10 feet in different directions. It should be a 20-35 foot round shrub with super shiny clusters of leaves.


This is an Arbor Day mystery tree.  Labelled as a Golden Raintree, there are no yellow blooms and it’s the wrong shape!   But other than that…. This resembles a lilac.  It would have bloomed already if it was.   It’s about eight feet tall and has nice glossy leaves.   It’s good looking tree but unknown until it produces fruit or blooms.


The perfect place for a Robinson Crabapple in the front yard!   It has drainage.   It gets water.   Even blooms!   But it looks like a $5 tree, four years later.   It has red leaves to provide interest.   It’s six feet tall column.   It could get 12 feet tall, but it’s in need of side branches


The little guy here is a Forsythia.  It’s in deep shade and has dark leaves.   The only issue it is buried under trees.  Even in spring it doesn’t bloom much.  They have soft yellow blooms that often are first things out in March.  They make great hedges and will go eight feet high.  Mostly they are trimmed much smaller.


Here we have an Arborvitae.  This is a little different then most I see in catalogues.   Although, it is considered a fast grower it took five years to grow from two feet to six feet.   It has grown drastically last year.   It is starting to separate a bit.  The branches are spreading away from the center.  In my climate, work large snowfall it requires a little help.   This winter either it gets wrapped in burlap or cord to keep it shape.   Otherwise, next year this could be more porcupine looking with spikes more prevalent.