Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Valley Loop, Superstition Mountains Az

The Garden Valley loop is a good trail for an early summer morning, or anytime during the cooler parts of the year,

to get there you head to the First Water Trailhead which is not far down a dirt road from Hwy 88, the Apache Trail, there are signs on the road to help you get there.

Latitude: 33.4778257
Longitude: -111.4398534

the trail winds it’s way along a predominately stone trail, so a flatter area with decent enough soil for there to be a good variety of desert plants, during the rainey season, and in the spring after a wet year, you may well see a bit of bloom from the desert plants.  Also, if you look closely you might just find pottery sherds and the ruins of a prehistoric stone house in the area.

The trail is pretty easy to follow, no supplemental maps need to be taken with in my opinion. round trip runs just under 5 miles.   IF you do try it when the heats on TAKE PLENTY OF WATER. I made the mistake once of not taking enough, and on top of that, did the Black Mesa loop(much longer) after getting to Garden Valley.. I was wiped out by the time I got back to the truck(so was Tori), and I wouldn’t wish anyone else to go through that!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lyman Lake State Park, Az.

Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico.
Because of its size, Lyman Lake is one of the few bodies of water in northeastern Arizona with no size restrictions on boats. The west end of the lake is buoyed off and restricted as a no wake area (5 mph) for the sake of the fisherman and those who like the quiet water (canoe, kayak) The fishery consists of walleye, channel catfish and largemouth bass.
Lyman Lake really comes into its own during the spring, summer, and fall. Summer days, with temperature highs in the 80's to low 90's, are perfect for fishing, swimming, leisure boating, water-skiing, hiking or just plain relaxing.
In addition to the water activities available, there are a few trails you can take in the area to Indian petroglyphs, and an old pueblo.
Getting to Lyman Lake is pretty straight forward, it’s on the east side of Highway 191 between the towns of St Johns, and Springerville Az.  the surrounding area is hilly, but not a lot of trees, so sometimes there's a bit of a wind rollin through the area.  The park is only open part of the year, and this year it will be opening up on June 15th to Sep 17th.
Now, the downside.. unfortunately, being a state park, there are fees involved.. I try to avoid those, but sometimes it’s worth a days fee to spend some time in a special area.. being that this is the largest lake along the cooler ‘rim’ area, sometimes it’s worth it..
the fees are based per vehicle, at 7$, or 3$ for a bike. 
Camping fees are as follows:
Camping Fees:
Cabin Rental: $55
Yurt Rental: $40
Electric, water, sewer site: $30
Electric/water site: $27
No Hookups: $20
Fee Schedule

Another great place to see on your Arizona Explorations 

Prehistory of the Area: Rattlesnake Point Pueblo & Petroglyph Trail

Lyman Lake re-opening May 24

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tombstone AZ

Tombstone, just one of many places you can discover in your Arizona Explorations!
(Contributed by Christina Ballee')

Today, Tombstone is the most well-known mining site in the state of Arizona. It was discovered in the late 1800s and established by Ed Schieffelin. It produced millions of dollars worth of profit in silver. As far as the size of Tombstone, it at one time had between 15,000-20,000 residents and was said to have been the fastet growing town between St. Louis and San Francisco! Interestingly enough there were 2 fires that almost destroyed the town, but it is still around and thriving today. It boasts a post office that was established at the town’s conception, that is still working today.
But just because it is a “ghost town”, doesn't mean that it is devoid of action! Tombstone now has many thriving businesses, restaurants, and hotels. Not only that...but many of the original buildings still stand. One such building is the Birdcage Theater, which was the most popular Honkey Tonk of it's day. It is still used, but by county and civic officials. 
You can find this town about 30 minutes Northeast of Sierra Vista.

So go visit this uniquely historic site that is a jewel in the cap of Arizona’s rich history!

Tombstone has alot of history behind it, you can find alot of details and further information at the Tombstone Web

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fruitless Exploration

Howdy folks Smile

was feeling restless the other day (heck, a lot of time lately), so decided to see just how accurate my mapping software was.. I use Delorme Topo 8.0, and overall I’m pretty happy with it.  using their netlink, can download digital aerial photos for both use in the software and in my Delorme GPS.

well, I made a route for it from my base to the town of Holbrook Az, and headed out…  Let me tell ya.. the ‘roads’ that I was going down probably hadnt seen a vehicle in many years.. made it 30 + miles before I turned around.. in the bottom of a very sandy deep wash.  it taught me to take what the maps tell me with a grain of salt <grin>  was a fun day though.

Events for May 19th!


131st Annual Pioneer Days

Today through July 24
St. Johns, Az
Dutch oven cooking lessons, basketball & golf tournaments, storytelling, dances, fishing derby, parade, campfire circle, rodeos, ice cream social, BBQ, 928-337-2000


2012 Ameri-CAN
Canned Craft Beer Festival
Date: May 19th, 2012
Time: noon-6pm

“Thanks for always thinking of The Brew Bros, I got your press release for the AmeriCan Canned Beer Festival and am stoked to promote the crap out of it.
Last year’s event was the best beer festival I have ever attended and really look forward to this year. Prost!”

– Patrick Schroeder
at the Brew Bros

Scottsdale Civic Center - 3939 North Drinkwater Boulevard Scottsdale, AZ 85251



Arizona Barbecue Festival



Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
May 19+20, 2012
11am-7pm, both days


The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Birdwalks!

  • Dates: Saturdays in May, June, and July
  • Time: 7:30–9:00 AM
  • Cost: Free



Lowell Observatory Daily tours

1400 West Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

  • Admission Info

  • Tickets: $6/Adult, $5/Seniors Students AAA Members, $3/Youth

    Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 5:30pm-9:30pm

  • Friday, May 18, 2012

    Cheap Shelter

    Howdy folks,

    have had a few folks request pics of the winter shelter I built for myself.. what I now refer to as my home base..

    happy to provide those to you now

    first, the basic site selected.  chosen because it was on a south facing slope on the property, at he top of the drainage, so I wouldn't have to worry about water running into the 'dig'.

     this is how I went about digging it out.. picked up the cart at Home Depot.  I made a mistake in it's purchase to be honest, I should have just picked up a wheel barrow instead.

    After digging out the interior area, small enough so that I didn't require a building permit, I purchased some 4X4's and used some concrete to install them as supports.  dug each hole down about 18" for stability, then ran boards around the outer edges for a frame for the roof.. also ran 2X4's across the roof with a 23" separation.  I should have gone with 16" as that seems to be more common for rolls of insulation.  Then I put up tar paper and metal sheets for runoff purposes.

    after that, to enclose the shelter I simply purchased OSB Sheathing, which was under 8$ a sheet and enclosed it!
    for a while, I simply used a spare sheet of OSB as a door, when I left I would screw it down over the opening.. the side walls (above dirt level) are simply cut and laid against the frame of the roof, not even nailed on.  the walls from the inside are primarily dirt, I haven't bothered to cover them up yet..  pretty much, that's how it sits today.  I did install a wood stove, and a window to make it easier to be inside during the winter (it got dark in there!)
    I have been through snow storms, high winds, 90 degree days, its working fine :)  still can do more to tweak it, but don't feel like there's a rush to get anything done, total cost including gas for the 120 mile round trip to Home Depot is under 1500, cost of the land about 3500... so for under 5k, I have a place I can be sheltered and undisturbed if I so choose :)

    Missin the Road!

    Howdy folks :)  now that I've been stationary for a while.. coming up on a year and a half!  I find that I'm restless again.. might be time to hit the road for a couple weeks in the little truck.

    only downside to that is that I wouldnt be taking my solar or have the luxury of 'unlimited' power with my battery bank... but since I upgraded it all to enable me to have as much juice as I want.. I find myself less and less interested in being on the computer or even listening to the radio... Thas a hard thing for me.. I have basically been a gaming addict since the early 80's, and it wasnt uncommon for me to spend 10 to 12 hours a day on it even when I worked for a living on my days off.

    Now.. I just dont find myself attracted to it anymore.. but what can I do to fill all those hours??  have wandered for miles in all direction of my base now, have taken some drives to explore areas farther away yet still local.. heck, now and then I'll go to lunch even though thats an hour drive each way, at the least!

    so considering packing the little truck and heading somewhere...

    and just for eye candy