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Tag: arizona

Beneath Secret Mountain: The Palatki & Honanki Ruins

Arizona Winter Loop | Saturday, February 4, 2023

After spending the last seven days in Arizona it was unfortunately time to start heading home. But first, we would be spending this morning visiting a couple ruins and rock art sites in the Red Rock Wilderness near Sedona. This would be our very first time in the Sedona area, and even though we knew it would be a little more popular and crowded than we would like we were a little interested to see what this area was all about. Before we had left home on this trip I had booked the earliest tour at the Palatki Heritage Site for Saturday morning, and even though the site was closed at the time due to muddy roads, I hoped that it would be open by the time we got there, and thankfully it was! Since the tour did not start until 9:30am, we were able to sleep in a little later than usual before leaving our hotel in Camp Verde and making our way to the base of Secret Mountain.

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The Picacho Mountains to the Superstition Mountains

Arizona Winter Loop | Friday, February 3, 2023

After spending a day walking among the saguaros near Tucson it was time to continue heading north as we started the long drive back since we wanted to make it home late on Saturday evening. We had hotel reservations to spend the night in Camp Verde later today, but there were a couple stops we wanted to make along the way as we left the Sonoran Desert and made our way over the Black Hills to the Verde Valley. We were up well before sunrise on Friday morning, packed up our camp and left in the dark shortly before dawn. On our way towards Phoenix we left the interstate and reached the foot of the Picacho Mountains just after sunrise so we could spend a couple hours searching boulders for petroglyphs, which is one of our favorite things to do. And we found plenty!

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Tucson Mountains: King Canyon to Wasson Peak

Return to Saguaro National Park & Petroglyphs of the Tucson Area
Arizona Winer Loop | Wednesday – Thursday, February 1-2, 2023

After leaving the Sky Islands late on Wednesday afternoon we headed northwest into the Sonoran Desert near Tucson so we could spend the next day hiking in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park, which we had not been back to since our Honeymoon Adventure in 2017. During that previous visit we really only had time to tour the park roads and go on a short hike to the petroglyphs of Signal Hill, so I was looking forward to hiking a little deeper into the park this time. After grabbing dinner in Tucson, we drove around the southern end of the Tucson Mountains in the late evening as we made our way over to the Gilbert Ray Campground in the Tucson Mountain Park. We arrived just in time to get our tent setup before it got dark out.

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The Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert

Chiricahua National Monument to the Pedregosa Mountains and Dragoon Mountains
Arizona Winter Loop | Monday – Wednesday, January 30 – February 1, 2023

After a brief stopover in Petrified Forest National Park we continued south through Arizona on our way to the Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert in the southeast corner of the state. A Sky Island is a mountain range that is separated from other mountain ranges by distance and by surrounding lowlands of a dramatically different environment. The result is a habitat island- such as a forest surrounded by desert. After leaving Holbrook we would cross the canyon of the Salt River and then follow the Gila Valley until we reached Safford and eventually Willcox later in the evening. Since I knew we would be arriving late I had booked a hotel room in town to stay at before we continued on to Chiricahua National Monument first thing in the morning.

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A Brief Stopover in Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona Winter Loop | Saturday & Sunday, January 28-29, 2023

We recently found out that Diane would have a little time off from her clinical rotations before going back at it in mid-February and then she would be pretty busy until her graduation in May, so we decided to load up the Jeep and head down to southern Arizona in search of some warmer temperatures for a week. One of my main goals this trip was to spend a couple days exploring the Sky Islands and Chiricahua National Monument in the southeastern corner of Arizona, but since it’s a long drive to get there we broke up the initial drive by spending a night at the Painted Desert Ranger Cabin near Petrified Forest National Park and did a little hiking while we were there. I just can’t pass up an opportunity to spend a little time hiking in the backcountry of that amazing park when we are nearby!

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