Two Links, One Finish Line

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April 26, 2021, Sedona- I could have sworn that the destination of today’s hike was not the same place where I ended up, eight years ago. I could have sworn that the Chuckwagon Trail went around to a point east of Devil’s Bridge, a wildly popular hiking destination-even by Sedona standards. Alas, the sole difference between then and now is that today, hiking buddy and I trudged along a road of rocks and sand, whereas “the Chuck” is more hard-packed dirt, and winds around through canyon country. Looking back at my post on the first trek to the area near Devil’s Bridge, I see that the last 7/10 mile is the same.

Oh, well; it would at least be easier on HB’s knees. Hiking with another person is good for my real world connection. I had been getting a bit disconnected, in that regard, going any which way I felt like going-even bushwhacking on occasion. We stopped about 1/4 mile from the actual arch. It was merely a different vantage point from the granite bench where I halted, eight years ago.

There were several awesome sights along the way, though. Here we go.

Lizard Head, visible from Dry Creek Road
Second Lizard Head, just east of Dry Creek Road
All the news that’s fit to paste!
Upper Dry Creek Canyon, with Capitol Butte as its bulwark
West view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The road hard taken
One of several cairn piles. There were some larger ones, each of which had a line of selfie-takers waiting their turn.
Eastern view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The granite bench, where i stopped eight years ago. Capitol Butte rises above.
Devil’s Bridge, with what looks like a small cave underneath.
West face of Brins Mesa
My PlantSnap app identifies this as a Sweet Cherry tree. Brins Mesa rises, across the canyon.

Thus went a cool weather hike. Devil’s Bridge Trail would not have been a good fit for a warm weather trek, though thousands do such a hike, every year.

The Road to 65, Mile 37: Visions of Mars

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January 4, 2015, Valley of Fire, NV-  I checked my social media messages this morning, and found a post which compared the temperature on Mars with that in Minnesota.  Mars was reportedly warmer today.

I was reminded of our nearest planetary neighbour, once on the trails at Valley of Fire State Park, between Moapa and Overton, NV, northeast of Las Vegas.  As you will see further on in this post, red soil abounds there.

I started the day with a hearty breakfast at Comfort Inn, joined by a family who were driving to Colorado, from San Francisco.  They will have clear weather for their return, which is gratifying.  After tooling around Vegas,unsuccessfully, in search of a Wells-Fargo branch, I just bit the bullet, paid the ATM fees and headed up I-15 to Moapa and the park.

SAM_3601 I shortly came upon the reason for the park’s name.

SAM_3606 The Beehives are well-named, in more ways than one.

SAM_3608 Balancing Rock, near the Visitor Center, reminded me of a similar formation at Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs.

SAM_3625 SAM_3630 The otherworldiness of the Southwest is in full voice, in Mouse’s Tank, so-named for an outlaw who hid out in this canyon.  The westernmost Ancient Puebloans also settled here, in the 800’s.SAM_3641 SAM_3657 SAM_3660 The Tank itself was empty today.SAM_3667 Life in the Great Basin is always a balancing act.SAM_3670 I came next upon Rainbow Vista, so named for the striated Aztec sandstone found there.SAM_3684 The trail goes through a narrow, rough wash, to end with a gaze upon Fire Canyon.

SAM_3689 SAM_3690 SAM_3693 The apex of the journey into Valley of Fire was at White Domes, a mass of limestone and gypsum.SAM_3698 SAM_3699 Several distance hikers were in this area today.  Someday, I will be back and share their experience.  On the way back towards the Visitor Center, I caught a few glimpses of the blend of colours.

SAM_3705 Seven Sisters, a sandstone formation just south of the Visitor Center, is a popular picnic spot.SAM_3720

Near the East Entrance to the park, a memorial is set up to honour Sergeant John Clark, who perished here in 1915, while en route from Bakersfield to Salt Lake City.SAM_3731 Lake Mead National Recreation Area abuts Valley of Fire, to the southeast.  Its terrain has less of the Aztec sandstone and more limestone and gypsum.SAM_3740 The lake may be down, but it’s far from out. The scenery is still inspiring, especially around sunset.  I enjoyed several stops along the North Shore.

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SAM_3753 Sunset hit its true magnificence as I came upon White Hills, AZ, and Rosie’s Den Cafe.

SAM_3756 Rosie’s is another amazing serendipitous find.  A homey, relaxing spot, with well-prepared food and engaging waitresses, it’s perfectly positioned between Hoover Dam and Kingman.  A plus is that one of the waitresses is also a baker.  Tracey’s no-sugar added cherry pie hits the sweet spot, of the palate, that is.

One caution, being in a rural community:

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JK.  White Hills has a competent volunteer fire service. The stuff of holidays was still well in evidence.

SAM_3759 Rosie’s is definitely cracklin’.

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