Thursday, March 1, 2018

A long tour day........

Our Location: 
Superstition Mountain BLM, Apache Junction, AZ
(lots of pictures today)

Rain continued off and on through the wee hours of the morning, as I heard it at 1:30 am when I woke up but not at 3 am. This morning dawned with a misty fog in the air which wrapped the mountain in it's fluffy white cotton and allowed the cotton to move in whimsical fashion over, around, and almost through the mountain. The crown of the big mountain was visible most of the time with a too big wreath of white that fell to the knees of the mountain. A beautiful sight to behold. 

The beautiful Superstition Mountain wreathed in fog this morning...

Fog patches here and there stuck around for a long time this morning. We caught a few seconds of blue sky here and there but it didn't look promising. Riley and I were up and sitting with a hot cuppa by 7:30 am after a battle with the propane tank to light the stove. The first tank ran out, switched to the second tank but it just didn't want to burn, no matter what I did. Eventually I just switched the tanks and it worked fine. I'll deal with that a bit later, but today we have plans. After that little battle I paid some bills, replied to the comments on my post and started a bit of research. 

A wee bit of red tinged the clouds this morning over the mountain....

Before long Doug sent a text asking if he could come over. The three of us discussed what we'd like to do today and we all agreed that today would be an excellent day to take a driving tour as the weather was cool, with a wind, and very little to no sun until much later in the day. By about 9:30 am we were all loaded up in the Dogsled and ready to head out. Yuma was as excited as the rest of us. 

These children were panning for gold......

Our first stop was the Superstition Mountain Museum for a quick peek and to ask a few questions about hiking trails and trail heads, etc. The museum is definitely worth a much longer visit but today wasn't the day for that. Two bus loads of children were present and some things were closed off due to their presence and the guided tours they received. So we did a quick walk through, chatted with a couple of the volunteers, and climbed back into the Dogsled heading off the The Lost Dutchman State Park. There we were informed that no information would be given until we had paid our $7 day use fee. The volunteer was very helpful with regards to the camping and amenities of the park. We're going to go back there on a different day to actually hike some of the trails but not paying today just for the paperwork. 

There were 4 folks, 4 horse, and 2 dogs heading off for a bit of an adventure along one of the many trails...

From there we headed on out on the Apache Trail. Doug has taken this trail before but Riley and I were new to the whole thing. The drive was amazing, the views almost beyond description. However I'll give you my over all impression of the entire drive, while the description may not apply to every part of the drive, it applies to various individual areas and the over all feel. 

It's so green, isn't it? See the cave over there?  (sorry for the wires and poles, just no way to get some pictures without having them in there)

The road is narrow, uneven, old hardtop for a good part of the way, however there was also some very rough, washboard, hole infested, rain gouged, rutted dirt portions that went on for many miles. Some construction early on the road indicated they were adding some more pull outs to allow cars to pull off and let others past. The skinny roads wound around, climbed up, dropped down the mountains in their entirety, in parts and pieces, but also caught only the smallest corners for climbing or descending. The road way was literally hanging off the side the mountain. In many places it was extremely skinny and further toward middle to end of the journey it became one lane which meant if you met someone somebody had to get over and allow the other person to pass. You could not both move at the same time. Many one lane bridges also dot the Apache Trail. Single lane, iron grid work with long drops to the bottom of the gorge are not uncommon on this beautiful but very long drive. 

View after view after view of this kind of scenery.......all day long....

The roads were not for those with fear of heights, as there were few if any guardrails, and the ones present were pretty much useless. The climbs are steady, steep, long, filled with hair pin turns, blind corners and extremely rough roads. The inside of these corners were easily a foot drop from the edge of the road to the 6" wide inner ditch. Dropping a wheel over the inside was of course much more preferable than dropping one over the outside. Cobblestone cemented supports could be seen in various places, shoring up the outside edges of the roadway. At Roosevelt Lake Dam the road once again becomes hard top, beautiful hard top, quiet, smooth, wide, speed worthy hardtop. From there we took the long drive home along the bottom of the Tonto National Forest on AZ 188 or 88 (I can't remember) and connected to AZ 60 and a few other small roads to bring us back to our home sweet home. 

Isn't that just stunning?

What did we see on the Apache Trail? The hills, mountains, valleys, mesas, plateau's, and gorges were stunning, breath taking, eye popping, jaw dropping filled with beautiful vistas, fascinating colours, unbelievable rock formations, sparkling blue waters, straight sheer cliffs, long sloping mountain sides. Gorges that ran downwards causing chasms of almost bottomless depth to the eye, choked with vegetation of varying kinds. The most apparent were the tall stately cactus which almost carpeted the landscape in many many places. Teddy Bear Cholla's also were abundant, as were prickly pear cactus every where we looked.  The mountain sides reared tall and straight, slanted and stunted, jagged peaks, splintered points, smooth sides, craggy tops. Rock covered, bare and the colours, they ranged over almost the whole colour spectrum. Oranges, browns, greens, blacks, blues, even some reds, and yellows appeared. 

Spectacular to see so much blue water in the desert......

The lakes were amazing, startling blue waters lapped against straight up walls of rock, against what looked like sandy shores in some places, rocky edges of mountains eased all the way to the water's edge in other places. The lakes followed the water course gouged over centuries, with no valley in sight instead the flat expanse of water from one mountain side to the other, wending it's way along just like snake. 

The scenery just didn't ever stop showing off.....

The Roosevelt Lake Dam was impressive. Tall, stately, guarding the lower reaches deep in the mountains. Clean lines, well maintained buildings and yards at the dam give one the impression of a mature, responsible, stable  presence. A feeling of safety and honour, truly a guardian of the inner sanctum of the mountains.  

The sheer mountain sides reaching all the way to the water's edge....

The same body of water, but the mountain sides reach down gently in some places, steeply in others....

The small town of Tortilla Flat was barely longer than the Dogsled and had less than no parking available if that's possible. The tourist town offers old town flavour and buildings in this new century. Although the town is still hard on those that require stern discipline and even resort to hanging if necessary. As one poor fellow who couldn't pay his bar tab found out and swings from the top of the building. We didn't stop but waved as we passed him by.

Do you see the warrior keeping watch over the land?

From the blue water in the picture above to views like absolutely breath taking.....

We found ourselves meeting many people, in fact for those folks that know southern Ontario at all, I lived in Hamilton for 30 years, the girls were all born there. One of our stops to view the water found us chatting with a few folks, two of them from less than 20 minutes away from Hamilton in Dundas, Ontario. They arrived in the area yesterday, and will be here for two weeks. It's a small world. 

The weaving of mountains jutting back and forth between each other....perfect harmony....

Even with very little sun we still managed too see some amazing colours....

The drive through Globe and homeward bound was good, fast and also very beautiful. However by this point we were tired and just wanting to get home. We did stop quickly at the cave dwellings, but only took pictures from the parking area as it was getting closer to 4 pm than it was to 3 pm. Perhaps another day will see us retrace those steps along to Globe or the nearby area for a more thorough visit. 

Can you imagine what it was like with a horse and wagon to pass through this country?

Many of these bridges dot the Apache Trail....

The weather was a mixed bag, sun, clouds, wind, rain, we seen snow on a mountain top but not near us. The temps were pretty chilly reaching around the 50 F/10C near the mountain tops, but a cold wind made it feel much colder. Down in the valley's the temps were higher but we didn't stay down long and so we didn't get to enjoy those warmer numbers. 

The colours are eye catching, don't you think?

The camera just cannot do justice to the beauty of these lands....

So over all, the day was an excellent one in my opinion. Longer than expected but still very much worth the effort. Rough roads to be certain but we managed to do just fine. Yuma was a good fella and patiently waited for us at some locations and at others managed to wrangle his way out of the Dogsled and along with us for a short walk. 

It's hard to believe how far these views just keep going on and on.....layers and layers of mountains in the distance.........

Rugged peaks, flat mesa's, jagged edges, smooth's all here.... that's our road down way over there, the thin brown line....

I recommend this trip to anyone that has a love of beautiful scenery, a strong heart, and a good tough vehicle. Take your camera, your binoculars, lunch and have a full tank of fuel as it is a very long drive. Extremely rough in places but enjoyable all the same. It is approximately 40-45 miles of rough dirt road, single lane in places, steep grades up and down, hair pin curves, and washboard, rutted, gouged driving paths. So before you go leave home, be aware of those things.  Plan on this being a whole day excursion. Leave early in the morning so you have plenty of time to stop and enjoy yourself. Take a warm sweater, maybe even a hat if you intend to be outside long. 

Where does one begin to take a picture with such an amazing vista before them.....

I love the colours, the shadows, and the clouds....

We arrived back home at 5 pm. We headed off to our own homes, although Yuma wasn't too sure if he wanted to go home or stay with the Dogsled for a few minutes. He finally opted on going home. I was still just climbing out of the Dogsled and hadn't made the Igloo door when a Ranger truck pulled in and stopped. A very handsome fella with an amazingly nice beard climbed out of the truck and came over to chat. I didn't catch his name, nice fella with a sense of humour though. He wanted to remind us that it is a 14 day stay limit. They've had complaints of folks staying longer and they were here to check them out and move them on. As our spots are very clean he had no need to tell us to clean it up and pack it out. His partner came out of the truck as well, but didn't add much to the conversation. Doug came back out and we all chatted for a few more minutes. The Rangers headed out, we went back to our own homes and called it a day. 

The edges look clean and flat, don't they?

Yeah, that's the road we are going to be taking, see it way further along in the middle of the picture too?

Riley and I were too tired to make dinner. We had a problem with the soup we started yesterday and so had to make something else. We relied on our stand by of pasta with a few hot dogs as well. It was our first meal of the day. Other than a couple of granola bars through the day. 

Do you see the different layers of rock?

That's the road we're going to take, far away past those mountains just around the corner is Roosevelt Dam....

Then it was time to start editing pictures. The camera number read 420 for the day, including sunrise. I culled them down to just about 300 but I'm sure I can dump some more once I get another look at them. Don't worry I'm not going to post too many. It's late, I'm tired and I'll be lucky to get this posted tonight. I will have to catch up on two days blog reading tomorrow at some point. 

Do you see the guardrail on the left? This is wide enough for one lane....

Ruggedly beautiful....don't you think?

Riley and I would like to thank Doug (Miss Adventure Travels) for his wonderful company, great humour, and guiding abilities. You were 100% right Doug, the dam was just around the corner.  We hope you and Yuma enjoyed the day as much as we did. We both very glad you suggested we see the Apache Trail. It was worth the effort. Thanks again.

Can you imagine how the storm waters must have run down these gorges to form this winding river path?

Swallowed up by all the surrounding beauty it's hard to pick just one feature to say it stands out....

The sun casting it's own shadows and playing with the view....

These waterways are peaceful and quiet, teeming with all kind of life forms including water fowl....

The middle of the picture shows the stone work I mentioned, and yes we will be taking that road ......

The road follows the river, it's the flat piece you see between the water and the mountain on the right side of the picture....

The white line indicates high water I think. Can you see the face in the rock? I thought it was Chicken Little, Riley though it was an eagle....what do you think?

The Roosevelt Dam......Love the rocks on the left......

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your day. Feel free to drop a comment. 

That is snow on the mountain tops over there.....

Yes, that is snow over there.....

This bridge is just past the Roosevelt Dam.

The sun is playing once again with shadows, light and clouds....

Snow, clouds, greens, and browns.....wonderful contrasts ...... that's the road down there on the bottom left side of the picture....

How can so many different kinds of formations be possible in one small area?

Until next time... take care, be safe, 

Heading into the Queen Creek Tunnel.........

The end......Goodnight...




  1. A long day you had and lots of wonderful pictures now to rest up a bit.

    1. It was a nice day though, and I'm looking forward to more outings in the days ahead.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. A lovely drive and beautiful pictures. I think Riley is correct, an Eagle's face and beak.
    Enjoy a day off now.

    1. It was a beautiful drive, although rough. From the angle of the picture I agree, when I first noticed it we weren't at angle to see the beak.

      I think a short hike might be on the agenda today. Nothing too strenuous though.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. Wow, wow! Beautiful pictures and tour of the Apache Trail! I'm thinking from what you said Yours and Dougs pictures will have to do for me. Maybe if I was on an ATV I could do the drive, but not with a big truck. Those views are awesome, and the colors too! Wow! thanks for sharing your day! I bet you all were starving by the time you got home. I can't get over the pictures, so beautiful!

    1. Thanks Shirley. Actually we didn't see a single off road vehicle. Cars, trucks, jeeps, one van but nothing else. You can come back the same way but we opted to take the circle tour and come back much nicer roads. The views would have been just as spectacular coming back from a different perspective.

      The problem was there were views everywhere, you couldn't not see something of amazing beauty no matter where you looked.

      I'm pretty certain we were all very hungry. Although I know Doug had breakfast before he left. We weren't that smart. Hahaha...

      Take care, be safe,

  4. Yesterday's pictures of the cacti were wonderful really liked the face of the Saguaro. You guys must be in a great viewing spot considering you have tours going by. Or do you think you have been added to the tour???lol

    Loved the pictures of fog on the mountain. Then the pictures of the ride you all took are, what Shirley said,! What a beautiful ride and description of what you saw. Thanks for taking us along.

    1. Thanks Deb. We are in a great area for seeing many things. Tons of Teddy Bear Cholla's and various cacti. Mountains hovering everywhere. I think they added this area when Lorne (A place called away) was stay here, because I know Riley and I aren't that interesting and I haven't noticed Doug doing much to cause folks to notice us either.

      It's a ride I think you and Tom would enjoy with your jeep. Amazing sights everywhere you look.

      Take care, be safe,

  5. Interesting comparing our pictures for the same trip. Other than a couple of similar ones we mostly saw different things of interest.

    I had fun and just glad I didn't get us lost. Luckily, there is just one road so that would be difficult to do.🙂

    1. I don't think we would have doubled up on the pictures, as you say we see things differently and have different interests in what we show. Some I purposely stayed away from as I was pretty sure they would be on your blog.

      We had a great time, thanks for playing tour guide. Haha...there was no way off the road, we either had to turn around or keep going. Glad we kept going.

      Take care, be safe,