Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The last time we hiked a leg of the 750 mile Arizona trail, we were on the far southern border of Arizona and Mexico, very close to the trail's southern end, in Coronado National Monument. Yesterday's hike near Flagstaff was much different!

Our hike started at Canyon Vista campground, a USFS campground south of Flagstaff, in tall pines. We had intended to camp there during this visit, but the USFS camps around here don't open until May, some as late a May 15th. Though the campground was closed, we remembered a hike we had enjoyed there 3 years ago, and decided to return to try a slightly different route.

From the campground, a spur trail runs down a canyon to link up with the Arizona trail. We managed to miss this spur right off the bat so, next thing we knew, we were bushwhacking down a steep "trail" wondering where we had gone wrong!

We always carry our GPS when we hike, and I marked every junction so we would be able to find our way back if things didn't turn out quite right. No need. We slid the last few feet down the slope, fell out on the well-trodden AZ trail and were soon enjoying a beautiful hike on a beautiful day.

Here's an interesting guy, a Horned Lizard. We saw two (I almost stepped on both of them) on the hike, and both blended perfectly with the trail. Angry looking, isn't he?

Once he had scurried two feet off the trail to escape being trampled, he stayed perfectly still while we observed and photographed him. When I looked him up on the internet when we got home, I read that they can shoot a stream of blood from their eyes up to three feet (I am not making this up!) as a last ditch way of dealing with predators - I'm glad he didn't feel threatened by us.

The turnaround point of our 8 mile hike was Fisher Point, reached by a spur trail high above the canyon floor. We ate lunch in the sunshine and took in the great views of the San Francisco peaks back towards Flagstaff.

Today is an altogether different day. The sun is shining, but the winds are howling. Our weather radio went off with a High Wind Warning. We've stayed inside, planning and preparing for tomorrow's departure.

Tomorrow night we will be in California - Needles on Thursday, then Ridgecrest on Friday. Whoopeeeee. We're not looking forward to either stop, but they get us closer to one of our favorite routes to Sacramento: up Hwy. 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra, through Lone Pine, Independence, Bishop, to Lee Vining and Mono Lake.

One of our favorite BLM campgrounds, Tuttle Creek (boondocking) is at Lone Pine. I took this hoto of Scoopy at Tuttle Creek in late March of 2004. I understand the fee has gone up since we were last there, from zero to $5!

Lone Pine is a cute little town in a great location. Last time we were there, we spent an afternoon in the Alabama Hills, a nearby rock formation that has been the scene of many a western movie and TV series. Odel showed me the exact spot where the Lone Ranger became "Lone", when the rangers were ambushed by the Cavendish Gang and all the other rangers were killed. What a highlight, huh? He, he.

We plan to spend 3 nights in Lone Pine, then another 2 in Lee Vining while we explore Mono Lake. It's a route to enjoy.


  1. Oh, how I wish I were with you on the Arizona Trail!!! My goal is to hike the whole trail at some point, but not necessarily all at the same time. tee hee

  2. I remember growing up, playing with horny toads all the time and never did they squirt blood at me, but, in later years, I remember picking one up and it all of a sudden had blood coming out from its eye. I remember wondering what happened to make it do that?

    You'll be just north of us in Needles, tomorrow, as we're in Blythe. I will be looking forward to reading your blog about driving up Hwy 395, my favorite drive north.

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron

  3. I love reading about "new" things I wasn't aware of; fer instance, I didn't know there was an Arizona Trail. We'll look for it when we return to AZ. Also, we stayed at Tuttle Creek C/G in Oct 2010 - loved the "free" feeling we felt in such a wide open C/G... till a monstrous wind came up and almost blew us away! Beware of volatile winds in this area!