Arizona [news]

03/28/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Our encampment beside Sycamore Wash was one of our favorites. We listened to water surge down a once dry (for 10 years) river bed and were enamored by the beauty. The grass was sprouting and the cactus were alive. The sycamore trees were host to the most vibrant of greens and the entire scenery was verdant with ferocity.

I adventured off to into the canyon to sight-see when I came across a lady resting in the shade. I stopped to chat and she had told me of her mission.

She was hiking into the canyon and removing rocks of amazing structure. Each only a few pounds but composed of the many colours of Quartz, Jasper, Sandstone, and even some semi-precious stones. She found this place unique for her rock collecting. I offered to walk with her on her next trip in and carry out a load of her choice specimens.

We entertained small banter when I noticed her belt of weaponry. She told me of the dangers of rattlesnakes, coyotes, gila monsters, and even a creature we had plenty of imagination for, the javelina. I was happy to explore this canyon with someone so knowledgeable and fortified from animal attack.

Although I saw none of these creatures during our time there I was most impressed with the Giant Saguaro. Droves of these human-like plants dot the hillsides as far as one can see. Standing erect and without motion they are resilient to the wind. I found them especially creepy and completely interesting. One of my goals in life was to travel to Arizona and see these plants.

The White Mountains & The Mogollon Rim [news]

03/28/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

"The Rim is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau [and the White Mountains], and along it's central and most spectacular portions is characterized by high limestone and sandstone cliffs. It was formed by erosion and faulting. Dramatic canyons have been cut into it, including Fossil Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon. The name Mogollon comes from Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, Spanish Governor of New Mexico from 1712-1715."

We continually climbed in elevation to reach the tip of this Rim overlooking the Phoenix valley. Our day and night time temperatures plummeted with every foot upward. An average of 3 degrees Fahrenheit with every thousand feet gained. We longed for warmth and new terrain as we dreamed of the Giant Saguaros (səˈwɑroʊ) and palm groves.

Every thirty miles on route 60 was a warning sign for elk in the road. Upon arriving at the precipice of the Rim we scanned the vast horizon in all directions but the direction from which we came. It was only down from here.

Barreling down the highway we coasted for nearly forty miles and were duly entertained by the rapid change in temperature, scenery, and humidity. The world change before us. No longer was there snow on the ground or Pinyon Pines above us but gravely sand and chaparral scrub brush.

Further downward and further south we pushed through windless canyons and ravines. Up and down in the spring heat of the desert. Our goal for the day was Scottsdale (Phoenix), Arizona. We were amazed to to see the desert so vibrant and green. Flowering cactus and creosote bush all in extremely healthy condition. We appreciated all of the rain we had seen this winter for this one moment.

We stopped by Sycamore Wash amongst a legion of Saguaros and made camp. We had to enjoy this vista a day longer. We were off the Rim and into a regionally exclusive habitat. It was all very new to us and we loved it.

The Continental Divide [news]

03/27/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Breaking our trip into sizable way points is a means of managing the long haul. Our goal was the Continental Divide at roughly 8,000 ft in the middle of the Datil Mountain Range of New Mexico. Starting low at the Rio Grande we pushed upwards with shallow grades. We were well-equipped and well-spirited and saw only clear weather in the forecast.

It would seem this blurb of our trip would be rather bland if I held back the details on the turbulent scenery, high-altitude desert fauna, and hostile creatures; I will promise to tell all and not let the truth get in the way of this epic.

Coming up into a valley between two ranges we were greeted by a worn car, left to rot on the tarmac. Paul & I joked about the fate of the driver. Possibly he was driven delirious by the heat and wind to wander off, or was even pulled from his car by a pack of reintroduced Mexican Wolves, or maybe he was carried of by Pronghorn Antelope. We could not decide upon the proper scenario.

The next day was spent in the Plains of St. Augustin; These plains are the flattest at the highest elevation in the world. They are also home to the Very Large Array (VLA) where they visualize readouts from deep space transmissions. Visible progress when crossing these planes is nonexistent. We were anxious to arrive at the Datil Pass and stay at a peculiarly named town, Pie Town, NM.

Upon arriving at the Continental Divide and the town perched up there we soon realized the key to the town's namesake. The best pies in the world!. We stopped for a meal and sought out a place to bunk. We were offered a stay at the Toaster House.

Happy Birthday Paul Dorr! [news]

03/10/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Let it be known that today is officially Paul W. Dorr's birthday and his first birthday spent in Arizona. We awoke after battling a 50 mph headwind the previous day to a snow storm which accumulated up to three inches in some drifts. We pedaled through the last 10% of the snow and into clear skies with Springerville in the valley before us. There we reside, celebrating Paul's 49th birhday here in winter wonderland Arizona.