Happy Earth Day 

I grew near a river that once burned a dozen times.  I have seen orange horizons hours from sunrise or sunset.  Places in woods and desert where trials were filed with debris.  We have only one place to live for now.   What view should the next generations have? 

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.

Arizona Cactus Blooms

This is from the road sides along Saguaro Lake.  The lake has several access points.  It rests within the mountains.   Several elevation changes and arroyos  (dry river beds) give several different views and plants.   The stately Saguaros are everywhere.  The blooms are limited by rainfall.   This is the second month of blooms here. 

Almost Heaven – Second Anniversary Post

This week will bring the start of my third year with this blog.  1998 posts and 5 deleted ones later…. I celebrate two years with where I started.   The original post.  To all those reading, thank you for your support.   I have met some of the best people i know here.  😃

Short trip to West Virginia in spring will leave you with some great memories. While you may have heard of New River Gorge, the place was meant for your eyes.  Spring brings high water, wildflowers, and people.   The New River cuts through several parks offering great views and chances explore on the ground.

Best approach to the area is US60 East from I77 in Charleston.  The travel time straight through is just over an hour. You leave the city and quickly start following the New River.    Several small towns dot the river, but at Gauley Bridge get out of car.  Here the Gauley River meets the New River, best viewed from walking abandoned railroad bridge next to small museum.  As you leave this town, you will cross railroad tracks and stop at little parking lot. Cathedral Falls is over sixty feet tall but looks twice the size in it’s little gorge.   It’s about 500 ft from road.

Next  the road starts to curve, it will take you to Hawk’s Nest State Park.  Great views over looking gorge and the river impounded is called Hawk’s Nest Lake.  The State Park offers lodging, with corner suites with views that are spectacular from balcony.  Lodge isn’t new but updated.

From here the New River National River is fifteen minutes away.   Taking US19 south,  You will see visitors center on left.   Inside you will get a map of park and learn the history of area. You should drive the old way to river.

The park guide has a list of hiking trails that are fairly easy. If you have two or three hours go to bridgeview trail. The picture below is your reward.

Once on other side of river, visit Pies and Pints for best pizza and microbrews selection around.  There are several outfitters here that offer rafting trips, climbing, and other activities. Fayetteville is really close to I77 about ten minutes.

If you have time side trips to Babcock State Park for horseback riding, Grandview park, and Bluestone Lake allow more views. These are all with half hour of National Park.

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Petrified Forest/Painted Desert – Exploring My World 

I was a tree 211 Million years ago

211 Million years ago, this was a tree.  Today it’s an eighty foot long fossil.  Now there are only a few hundred full size and thousands of partial tress here. For $20 pass that is good for a week you get this and the Painted Desert too.

The basics are during the rise of the dinosaurs life was a forest here.  Shallow water with a prefect muddy low oxygen shallow waterway… add millions of years and here you are.  This area resembles the Badlands with color.  It’s in a barren open meadow landscape.  Although fairly flat, the dry area and erosion of heavy winter moisture has made for a.surreal world.

There are multiple visit centers.  Plenty of history here.  Good displays of what preceeded Dinosaurs and the human impact.  This spreads over 30 miles of pavement.  Good for all ages.  You walk among the petrified trees.  People sit on a Triassiac tree for family pictures!

Ok eye candy below

Spring brings color
Random piece of 500 lbs of petrified wood
The teepees
Most Northern part of Painted Desert

This piece of paradise is an hour from Flagstaff and three hours south of the Grand Canyon.  I40 runs through the Northern part and Holbrook, AZ had food half hour away.