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918 triplogs

Sep 25 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, AZ 
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Sep 25 2020
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Filed under: something to do.

I wanted to get a quick overnight trip in someplace close to home, and this worked perfectly. I rarely visit this place, so it was nice to head back and check things out a little. :D

https://www.blm.gov/national-conservati ... s-cienegas
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
fading fast as summer ends
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Aug 23 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Dragoon Mountains-West, AZ 
Dragoon Mountains-West, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 23 2020
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I spent a little time snooping around on the beautiful west side of the Dragoon Mountains. Always a pleasure (cow pies or not)! :D
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Aug 23 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Council RocksTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 23 2020
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Hiking1.20 Miles 150 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles
150 ft AEG
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On my way to the end of the road in West Stronghold Canyon in the Dragoon Mountains, I stopped at Council Rocks for a brief look around. This historical spot is always a fine place to visit and ponder the past. Beautiful boulders and interesting vegetation are to be found here. Don't miss it if you are in the neighborhood.
Culture
Culture
Historical Marker
Named place
Named place
Knob Hill
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Aug 23 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Dragoon-West Stronghold, AZ 
Dragoon-West Stronghold, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 23 2020
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It had been some time since I had driven FR 687/688 all the way to the end where the western terminus of Cochise Stronghold Trail #279 is located. Overall the road is easy on the tires (decomposed granite), but there are a few moderately rocky sections, mainly on FR 688 east of Horse Ranch. 4WD is not needed, but I would recommend a high clearance vehicle. There is evidence of some serious flash flood events in the final mile or so. Also some really nice camp sites are in that section.

The whole drive in from Middlemarch Road is very scenic, plus with places like Sheepshead, Slavin Gulch, and Council Rocks along the way, there is plenty to see and do. A long time favorite area of mine. :)

Camped a little south of Slavin Gulch the night before, and was treated to an incredible light show after dark as storms rolled across from the east. Fortunately, there were no close lightning strikes, as most action was up in the clouds. :sweat: There were so many active cells in that line, that the lightning seemed almost continuous! Not much rain fell, but the outflow wind gusts were quite strong, knocking things over at camp, even under the tree cover. Nothing like a little drama! :o
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Aug 20 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Madera Canyon, AZ 
Madera Canyon, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 20 2020
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I needed to get out of the house for awhile to escape my swamp cooler environment during this relentless heat wave. I headed to the northern portions of the Santa Rita Mountains to explore some of the back roads. One thing that was different today is that thunderstorms were building up in places that had not seen them for awhile. My last stop for the day was Madera Canyon, where I had not been in about a year. The stories of the crush of people in places like this in 2020 has made me not want to go. But it was worth a drive through. Late in the day and with storms bearing down, there wasn't much traffic. As I was driving home, there was a line of storms moving westward into the eastern sections of Tucson. Nice change!

I got home around 5:30 and thunder was beginning along with some light showers. The main event took place later, between 7:30 and 8:30, when about .80 inch rain was recorded, along with 35 mph wind and intense lightning. :D Of course, a large drop in temperature also took place: after a high of 109 degrees, it bottomed out at 68 degrees around 8:30 during the height of the fury! :y: Total rain for the day ended up at 1.05 inch. :)
Fauna
Fauna
Gould's Turkey
Named place
Named place
Elephant Head
Meteorology
Meteorology
Mammatus Cloud
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Jul 21 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Salt River Canyon - US60 CrossingGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Walk / Tour avatar Jul 21 2020
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Walk / Tour
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Whenever you find yourself driving along US Highway 60 between Globe and Show Low, one of the highlights is crossing the Salt River by way of a rather dramatic canyon. :D This is just a little tribute to the place. It was quite an engineering project back when it was first constructed in the 1930's, and has undergone various changes and improvements over the years. The original bridge across the river was funded by the Public Works Administration and was engineered by Ralph Hoffman, who was the Arizona State Bridge Engineer for the highway department from 1927-1955. This bridge remained in use until 1997, when a newer one replaced it. It is nice to be able to walk across it.

My first time going through the canyon and crossing the bridge was as a kid of 10 in August 1958. This was when my Mom moved from Milwaukee to Phoenix, sight unseen, to begin a new life out West. :o She was 31 at the time. I don't remember much about the canyon that day, but I do remember I was very upset that I was being removed from my friends and life in West Allis and Wauwatosa. The trip was made in Mom's 1953 red Buick black top convertible. She enlisted the help of some good neighbors of ours in West Allis for the drive. It was done over a four day period. Being only 10 years old and knowing how adaptable kids are, I am sure the sheer excitement of such a trip made me forget about being mad at her. :lol: I do seem to recall that the adults in the car that day had some trepidation when they saw what they were getting into as we descended down toward the river. After all, these were Midwest folks who had not seen such a thing before! I'm sure I was loving it from the back seat, while they were white-knuckling it up front. :sweat:

Interestingly, my Mom started dating a man she met in Phoenix in 1959, Bill Elkins, who worked for the state highway department and was stationed up at the office in Saint Johns. He had a home in Maryvale, but spent most of his time in Saint Johns. So, that meant that I got to go up there on occasion during the 1959-60 time frame, and of course more trips through Salt River Canyon. I remember one trip Mom made at night sometime in the winter when there was construction going on in the canyon and we were driving in intermittent snow showers. She talked about that one a lot afterward, so it must have made her nervous. Of course for me the kid, it was just another adventure! :lol:

Another distant memory from those days of long ago was stopping with Mom at what I think was a store/gas station at Seneca Arizona. This was on the east side of US 60, and predated the Seneca Lakes project of the San Carlos Apache Tribe which is located on the west side of the highway. I remember always begging her to buy me some Fire Stix cinnamon candies when we stopped. :lol:

Anyway, thanks for indulging me on a little journey down memory lane from long ago.
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Jul 20 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2020
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Hiking2.00 Miles 400 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
400 ft AEG
 
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I couldn't resist a stop at this beautiful place on my drive from Silver City to Show Low. There wasn't a crush of people like sometimes, which was nice given our present situation. The morning visit was made even better by the cloudy conditions, which kept the temperature at a pleasant level. This canyon can get pretty warm on summer afternoons, but you are always by trees and water, so that helps.
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Jul 19 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Road Trip Scenes, AZ 
Road Trip Scenes, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 19 2020
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The purpose of this road trip was twofold: (1) visit a favorite watering hole in Silver City to see changes that have been made to make it possible for them to serve beer and food to customers during the Covid situation (plus get a 6 pack of beer from their new canning operation), and (2) hopefully get a nice dark sky view of comet Neowise. I booked a motel room there, with the idea of returning to Tucson the following morning. But, Mother Nature had other plans. The summer storms were already cranking up over there, and it remained cloudy through the evening making it impossible to view the comet. So in the morning I had to make a decision. I decided to head up to the White Mountains of Arizona and maybe find a place to camp up in the Greer to Big Lake area. A stop at The Catwalk at Glenwood for a hike along the way was nice. But the heavy cloud cover kept persisting, so things weren't looking promising for a comet sighting once again. I rarely go up to this area, so it was nice to look around regardless. First I drove into Greer, a place I hadn't been in more than 15 years. It is a pretty setting and I can see why it is popular, but certainly too congested for me.

Next I drove over to SR 273 by way of FR 87. From there I headed over to Winn Campground to see if it would work as a place to get an open view of the northwest sky. The inexpensive sites were perfect, as they are close to the big open meadow. I wasn't ready to commit, but in talking with the friendly campground host about my plans, she suggested I also check out FR 409 not far away, which climbs uphill and might have some good spots. Before I checked that out, I headed over to Big Lake with its many facilities. Actually, that would have been a great place for comet viewing, but it was quite busy as you would expect. After deciding against that, I headed up FR 409. Man was that full of large groups of campers at all the good spots. Plus, most of them were in the trees, so not good for a comet watch. Finally after about 8 miles on that road, it turned to the north and dropped down and some suitable sky views opened up. But alas, it was still very cloudy and quite breezy with some showers around, so I pulled the plug on the camping idea and headed to Show Low to get a motel room. After dark I drove out of town to see if I could see the comet, but it stayed too cloudy, so that was that. Tuesday morning it was back to Tucson by way of Salt River Canyon, Globe, and Mammoth. But hey, it was great to go on a real road trip after all this hunkering down!! :y:
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Jul 11 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Neowise Comet Search, AZ 
Neowise Comet Search, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 11 2020
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I tried to spot the new comet from my roof for a couple days, but the light field of Tucson made that impossible. So, I decided to drive over to the Chiricahua Mountains and see if I could find a place that would give me a view of the northeastern sky from up around Onion Saddle (where the turnoff to Rustler Park is). Left the house about 4 Friday afternoon and got there with some daylight left to look around. Too many trees along the road to Rustler Park, so I headed back to Onion Saddle, then down the road on the Portal side a short distance to a small pullout off the road. This had the view out I needed, so parked the truck and prepared to spend the night there until the alarm would wake me at 0340 to get ready to look. Just as I arrived an area of thunderstorms moved in, so I spent some time in the truck due to the lightning danger. Only a small amount of rain fell and when the storms moved on and dissipated, I was back outside to enjoy the evening. :) About 10 I heard some noises that I thought was an animal, but it turned out to be a group of men (3-5?) walking silently up the road toward Onion Saddle. Okay, wasn't expecting that, but no problem. The clouds were thinning out, so I was able to see some of the planets and get my basic ideas where to look figured out. It was quite windy during the night up until near sunrise. There was no vehicle traffic during the entire night, which somewhat surprised me.

The other problem in my quest to spot the comet was cloud cover. I was hoping all the remnant clouds would go away and mostly clear skies would be present by dawn. This turned out to be the case, however there was an extensive area of thin cirrus, as well as general smoke/haze in the air as morning light began. I wasn't exactly sure where to look, but I finally did spot it. Pretty underwhelming with the naked eye, but I didn't have optimal viewing conditions. I am hoping it will be more pronounced later in the month in the northwestern evening sky.

This was the first time in 12 years I slept in the back of my truck, but with a couple of old Therm-a-Rest pads it worked out fine. Hey, and that was my second night away from home this year! It was nice to get out of the blast furnace, even if only briefly! :D
Fauna
Fauna
Gould's Turkey
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise Sunset
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Jun 27 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Carr Canyon, AZ 
Carr Canyon, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jun 27 2020
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Since I have only spent one night away from home (camping or otherwise) since last August 20th (May 3rd up near Aztec Peak), I figured a visit to an old favorite would work. With the beginning of this pandemic lock down thing in mid March, so many places we like have been overrun with people desperate for something to do, so I didn't know what to expect. :sweat: The drive down was pleasant with lots of showers and thunderstorms in Cochise County to entertain me. :D Stopped at McDonald's and grabbed some grub, and up the mountain I went. Traffic on the way up wasn't bad, but I will say the road is in a little rougher shape than I usually see it (only in places however). Checked out Ramsey Vista first and there were quite a few campers there. Next, I headed back to Reef Townsite, where I planned to stay, and not too many folks there. But alas, my favorite spots were taken, plus I just didn't like the blustery weather vibe, so decided to head back home and try another week day in the future. On the way down I stopped at a pullout, ate my food with a cold one, and snapped some photos. All in all, it was good to get away for the afternoon, and I took the scenic route back home (Sonoita/Box Canyon/Green Valley) to make it better. :)
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Jun 18 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Bighorn Fire Smoke, AZ 
Bighorn Fire Smoke, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jun 18 2020
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I had not been away from the house since Sunday, so felt the need for some driving around. I hadn't been near the Bighorn Fire since it started, so I decided to head over to Oracle and a little beyond, since that seems to be where it is headed. The fire made a major push to the north and east in the last 24 hours, driven by the relentless dry winds of June. I left the house at 0600, so it was nice to be able to see the smoke laying low, before the daytime heating got cranked up and mixed things out. From Oracle I drove toward Peppersauce, but the road was blocked near the zipline place. Also headed down to near San Manuel. Then it was back home. I think the fire crews are doing a great job with this fire. The management techniques, operations planning, and information dissemination have come a long way from the old days. Pretty awesome when you consider what they are up against! :sweat: :app:
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May 17 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
West Turkey Creek-Chiricahua, AZ 
West Turkey Creek-Chiricahua, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar May 17 2020
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It had been a week since I did anything or went somewhere, so the walls were coming in again (the only excitement was having a new water heater installed). I figured a trip over to the Chiricahua Mountains was a good diversion from the Covid induced monotony. :lol: I know the campgrounds, etc. are closed, but I wanted to see if the Forest Service finally got around to officially making Sycamore a fee area as planned. They had. I was also curious if there were any other changes to the campground as a result. Nope, everything was the same as it had been. It is not a high use campground, so that is not a surprise. The campground has a modern style restroom, bear boxes, and trash collection service, so the change to a fee area is reasonable. The fact that the adjacent creek flows most of the year, there is plenty of shade, and several trail heads are nearby, makes it quite appealing. There was another campground right by the forest boundary as you drive in (West Turkey Creek), but it was decommissioned quite awhile ago, however the site is still listed as a dispersed camping area on the Coronado NF website (park by the road, pack it in/pack it out).

There were a lot of people out there (Sunday afternoon) doing various things. Some were dispersed camping, others picnicking, bird watching, hiking, or just hanging out in the woods by the creek escaping the heat and contemplating life. Some rather squirrely driving and behavior was observed this trip. I noticed the same thing two weeks ago on the Sierra Ancha trip as well. I think we have all gone a little nuts given the crazy ass times we find ourselves in these days. :sweat: Folks just want to escape the lockdown, and go somewhere and do something, but so many options have been removed or changed. The stress is obvious. At least getting out in nature for a bit helps temper things considerably! :)
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May 03 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Workman Creek, AZ 
Workman Creek, AZ
 
Car Camping avatar May 03 2020
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Car Camping
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I had not been up to this area since 2017, so thought it would be a good place to go to camp for a night, with hopefully not too many folks around. That turned out to be true, but I had my doubts based on the crowds I saw on the way there. It was a Sunday, so I figured most folks would be headed back home. However, in our current stressful, restricted situation with lots of folks out of work and getting restless, all bets are off.

Anyway, I had not spent a night away from home since last August 21st, so I was desperate to do so! :o Just coming out of winter and entering the time when I like to do road trips, along comes the COVID-19 thing and pretty much messed with that. Part of the fun for me is staying at motels, going to restaurants, etc. That is not worth driving anywhere for right now, and is frowned upon, so it have to wait for awhile. But we can still go hiking and camping, so that's something.

I am a serious hermit, so this quarantine/isolation thing is old hat to me, as I spend almost all my time alone at home anyway, except when out shopping, going to a restaurant, or on road trips. In fact, in April I went six straight days without ever leaving my property, got as far as the mailbox and that was it! :o I'm sure that is a record for me, but eventually you have to make a beer run. :lol: These really are frustrating times.

I don't do much cooking anymore when camping, pretty much live out of the ice chest with lunch meats and cheese for a sandwich, plus snacks. So going through Globe I was checking out all the fast food drive thrus, thinking I'd get something to take up to the mountains. But the lines were long, so after gassing up the truck, I headed over to Miami to see if maybe Guayo's El Rey was open for takeout. They were and without a line. Yay! :D I pulled up behind a vehicle that had a HAZ sticker, so thought I would say hello to whoever it was. The restaurant was letting folks in one at a time to place an order at a table that was set up near the entrance. Then you go back outside and wait for your food. Well, out came a fellow that looked familiar, but I didn't remember his name. Turns out it was Jason (jtaylor), who I met at the parking area by Ferndell Spring during fall color season 7 years ago. He said he had been hiking up in the Pinal Mountains with PrestonSands, and stopped to get some food to go for the family back in Gilbert. Out of the blue chance encounters like that are kind of fun. :)

Now that I had some good food for the camp, I was on my way! As I neared the recreation areas near the bridge over the Salt River, I could see there were plenty of folks out playing in the water, just what you expect on a very warm day. There were quite a few cars parked on the north side of the bridge, and I looked down and several families were having a party/picnic. In fact, they had a shade canopy set up with their chairs and table in the river, while the kids splashed merrily about! :lol: It was busy on the highway driving up. When I turned onto the Workman Creek Road, there were lots of folks along the road up to around the Elks Camp, some fishing. This was starting to get me worried about finding a camp spot, and even tough my goal was above falls, there aren't many spots available there. Next was the first day use area. Wow, it was jammed full of people and vehicles like I had never seen before! At this point I was really questioning my decision to camp here. :sweat: I fully expected to see crowds at the next site, but there was nobody there (shocked). There was only one car at Falls CG, so I started feeling better. Above the falls my favorite spot was unoccupied, but I drove on up to Aztec Peak to look around. Nobody there, and the only campers I saw were in the more open group area off the north side of the road. Okay, great. I went back down to the spot I like and set up. It turned out to be a nice quiet night, though with the breeziness it was a bit chilly. Down to 53 degrees at 9 PM, and the morning low was 42. Saw the StarLink train of satellites through the trees, which was interesting.

Plan for Monday was to drive over to Roosevelt Dam for some photos of the nearly full lake, then on up to Jakes Corner to hit the Beeline Highway. Then south to Bush Highway and into Apache Junction on Usery Pass then on to the 202 down to I-10 and home. Worked like a charm. The Beeline is such an awesome scenic drive, especially southbound. The scenery is fantastic along the Bush Highway too. And it was packed with people out along the Salt River below the dam.

I really enjoyed my most needed, though brief, trip away from home, in country dear to my heart. :D
Culture
Culture
Fire Lookout Structures
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Apr 09 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
San Pedro House TrailsTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 09 2020
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This is another place I had never stopped to visit before. It is located about 7 miles east of Sierra Vista on SR 90 along the San Pedro River. Way back in the 1980's I would drive this section of highway when visiting friends in Bisbee, but not so much in recent decades. Anyway, thought it would be a good choice for a little easy leg stretcher (hiked about 3 miles). With its proximity to Sierra Vista, there were a fair number of folks out for some fresh air and exercise. Some families with kids, mountain bikers, and trail runners. Not too crowded though, so lots of trail time alone. Just right. :)
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Mar 31 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Road Trip, AZ 
Road Trip, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 31 2020
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Scenic Drive350.00 Miles
Scenic Drive350.00 Miles
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The purpose of this road trip was twofold. First was to give the RAV4 a solid shakedown drive to see if recent repairs were good and monitor the performance of the vehicle. It checked out fine. The second reason was to check on the poppies over in the Rodeo, New Mexico area. I had been seeing some recent photos posted on the Cochise County and Its Wonders Facebook page, and wanted to see them in person. There were some nice areas, but not as extensive as I had seen previously closer to Safford. Interestingly, the area around Rodeo is the headwaters of the San Simon River which flows north and eventually reaches the Gila River near Safford. This whole distance is referred to as the San Simon Valley on various maps. My trip route was: Tucson> Sonoita> Sierra Vista (food to go from McDonalds)> Douglas (topped off the gas tank)> Rodeo> Road Forks> I-10 back to Tucson. Nice day for the drive and the countryside looked great. :D
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Mar 24 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Indian Bread Rocks, AZ 
Indian Bread Rocks, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 24 2020
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I had never been to this place, so I wanted to check it out. It is a little south of Bowie and easy to get to. It features a nice picnic area and plenty of spots for dispersed camping. There is very little shade to be had, so for me as a tent camper it isn't very desirable. However, it seems to be popular with the RV crowd. The other major downside is you will be camping with plenty of cattle around. Other than that, it is a fairly scenic area at the edge of the Dos Cabezas Mountains Wilderness.
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Mar 22 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Black and White, AZ 
Black and White, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 22 2020
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Some scenes from a road trip to the Safford area.
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Mar 22 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Tanque Road-Safford Area, AZ 
Tanque Road-Safford Area, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 22 2020
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I was out looking for wildflowers in the Safford area and found plenty, as expected. :D Tanque Road heads east from US 191 and connects with Haekel Road. This is one of the ways to reach the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area (about 20 miles from the turnoff at US 191). I had never been on this road, and only drove in about 8 miles before heading back out. I have never been to Hot Well Dunes either, but plan on going there sometime in the near future, by way of Bowie. After some photography along Tanque Road, it was off to my next destination of the day, the Gila Box area.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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Mar 22 2020
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 22 2020
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It is always fun to visit this diverse and wonderful riparian area! Stopped at Safford to top off the gas tank and grab some Taco Bell grub to go. Then it was off to the Gila. :D There were quite a few people out there, no doubt wanting to take a break from the madness and get out of town for awhile (that's what I was doing anyway :lol: ). There weren't as many folks at the campground as I expected to see, but plenty of ATV action on the road. And that is a road that commands your attention (aka "fun driving, but heads up for anything"). Nice strong flow in the river added to the vibe.
Flora
Flora
Canaigre
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Mar 14 2020
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 Guides 1
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72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Montosa Canyon, AZ 
Montosa Canyon, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 14 2020
rwstorm
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
 no routes
1st trip
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A visit to a pretty place on a great day for it. Snooped around a bit in Montosa Canyon and drove up the Hopkins Road a ways for some photo opportunities. Very good visibility added to the enjoyment factor.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunset
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Wildflowers Observation Light
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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