Full Moon Park Hike

Usery Mountain Park is at the border of Mesa and the desert.  The park is part of the Maricopa County Park System.  There are 30 miles of hiking trails, camping  (tents or RV’s), and archery range.  It does run $6 to get a car load in. 

Every month there’s a full moon.   Coincidentally, there’s a Range hike too.   Be warned, during the winter there will be 200-300 sets of feet crunching sand and gravel. I only had 60 people with me tonite. 

The hike itself is fairly level.  A distance of about 2 miles should be easy for almost all who can hike.  The landscape is typical for the Sonoran desert.  Saguaro, chollas, and assorted cacti. Views of the mountains surrounding the park.  It’s silver blue in the moonlight.

Water Wheel –  Exploring My World 

If you are in the Payson area and have some time to kill.   Here are little gem.  Its about 20 minutes from Home Depot off a road called Houston Mesa.  The road has a gorgeous view of the Mogollan Rim.  There’s even a sign for Water Wheel parking after your cross a large concrete bridge.

The hike was about 1 1/4miles that I did.   You stay along a tributary of the Verde River.  Our experience of the first features is a Box Canyon which terminates with a sixty foot ribbon waterfall.   The sides of the canyon are polished granite.  The same water below has ride high up these walls and across to smooth the granite. 


As you get closer to the end you’ll notice a second ribbon waterfall on the right.  Those liking to rock hop you can get to the falls fairly easily. 

At the top of the Box Canyon,we have a much more open landscape.  Plenty of water flows from multiple sides.  Willow trees mix in with Sycamore and pines.  There are several cascades that wind around close to the waters edge.  They call out to you.   I took advantage of dry conditions to explore at least 15 different cascades and third waterfall about 20 minutes from the end of the box canyon.  The hike is probably closer to moderate with notrouble a lot of shade.  Bring water or drink well before and after.

There are critters calling this home.  The tarantula here is about three inches long and blends in really well.  Several small lizards run rock to rock.  I even saw a butterfly in November.  There were few  birds.

Tommi takes on Wild Turkey


I have no pictures of the encounter.  But these are the participants.  Above weighing in at 7 1/2  pounds is Tommi Girl, defender of the household, Queen of her domain,  fuzzy ruler of the backyard, fifteen years old.  Below, Tess Turkey, thirty pounds worth of bad ass bird.  Notorious territorial, secretive, elusive, well not so much any more.

I have three cats in the yard.  I’m pulling weeds.  I have a handful of weeds and partial behind an above ground pond.  I turn Tommi is eyeballing the turkey.  She is clucking at the cat.  Turkeys apparently cluck to warning something they are nervous.  Tommi is staying put.  I am within twenty five feet of the turkey myself.  I start to collect cats.  I grab the two other cats, leaving Tommi.  I’m thinking a bird four time her weight, three times taller than her……she wouldn’t try nothing.

Well, I turn after throwing two cats in.  I’m expecting the door, me, the cat staring the turkey down will all lead to the secretive bird flying off.  The turkey struts away from the cat clucking faster.  The cat starting slinking after the turkey.  The two fast walk fifty feet.  I’m thinking the bird is going to stop and peck the hell out of my cat.  Turkeys have gone after people!  Tommi gets within ten feet.  I swing in and pick her up.  The turkey stares at the cat.  As I take Tommi in the turkey follows us to the bird feeder.  She is thought to have poulets in the woods.  But from inside Tommi went to her window looking a lot like this

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