Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Our Last Day in Arizona





Spending the week in Arizona was truly wonderful for Grayden and I.  Yes, Arizona is a completely different place from where both of us are from.  We are used to living in the beautiful green state of  Virginia!  We love to travel and see places that are not like home.  I remember one time we were touring Italy and one of our traveling companions mentioned to our guide that something was not up to their standards like they were used to at home.  I will never forget what our guide said! "If you want everything to be just like home, then that is where you will be most comfortable!"  For us it would be a shame not to visit places that may be out of our comfort zone.  

The desert is a harsh, but beautiful place that makes one wonder how anything survives.  As we looked closely, we discovered many gorgeous sights.  The flora and fauna does quite well in the desert environment.  We learned so much about the ancient peoples that walked this land way before the white man.  Even though we had been to Arizona years ago, I found we looked with mature eyes at the beauty of so many places.

On our way to visit the Lost Dutchman State Park we passed Camelback Mountain.  Can you see the camel?




We traveled along the highway past Mesa and then to the Lost Dutchman State Park.  I learned about this park from my friend.  She has a beautiful blog that you might want to visit  Dawn  She writes about gardening and paper crafting and  stamping with watercolors and many beautiful things.

In the little town before going into the Lost Dutchman Park there is a monument to the Lost Dutchman.




The Lost Dutchman State Park is about 30 miles east of Scottsdale,  The park leads into the Superstition Wilderness and the Tonto National Forest.  There is an interesting story about the Legend of the Lost Dutchman that you can find  Here

The mountains seem to rise up out of the desert standing alone in all of their majesty!






This gorgeous park has many trail heads that lead all over the Superstition Mountains that is in the Tonto National Forest.  There are also camping facilities.

Grayden was interested in going along the Apache Trail to the town of Tortilla Flat.  We talked to the ranger and she pointed the way.  She reminded us that the road beyond Tortilla Flat was gravel in some spots and quite curvy.




The Apache Trail is a 120 mile circle route that runs through the Superstition Mountains to the Roosevelt Lake and into the Tonto National Forest.  It is named after the Native American Indians that used this route for over 1,000 years!  Today we are traveling just a part of that route.

We come to an overlook and see the beautiful Canyon Lake.






It's always a surprise to see water in the desert!   Canyon Lake is one of four reservoirs that were formed by the damming of the Salt River.  The Mormon Flat Dam was completed in 1925 to form this lake.






As you can probably tell we are riding along the crest of the mountain on a very narrow, beautiful road!  The GPS is showing we only have a half mile to go
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It takes a while to go very slowly along this mountainous narrow road.  We see Tortilla Flat in the distance.



Tortilla Flat is the last surviving stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail.  I had never heard of it, but Grayden said he remembers hearing about it as a child.  The population of this town is only SIX!




Tortilla Flat has a restaurant, a country store , a museum and a U.S. Post Office!



It's definitely a quirky little old west town.  After looking around the gift shop we decide to buy the grandsons some little gifts.  Miles loves rocks and so we bought him a geode to open and then a small brain game for Alex and a railroad nail for Samuel the railroad lover.










We decide that for lunch today we would try "The Superstition Saloon".  This is another interesting spot in this town!  The first thing is it's lined with thousands of dollar bills!




The dollars are taped to everything in sight!  We learned that years ago a waitress received a tip from a foreign visitor in their currency.  She figured it wouldn't work for her in the USA so she taped it to the wall.  It seems other folks wanted to join in and started leaving dollar bills to join the rest.  And as they say it's now history.  We understand there is over $100,000 worth of bills on the walls.  There are also signs warning one not to take them off the walls!




Driving back down the Apache Trail we are treated to more beautiful scenery on Canyon Lake.




We then planned to visit Picacho Peak State Park.  We have quite a distance to travel and see the flat desert land before us. The weather is changing quite rapidly and we see lightning in the distance.   We are traveling through miles and miles of cotton fields.




Arizona is known for its Pima Cotton.  It is a long fiber variety that is named for the Pima Indians that first cultivated it here in Arizona.  You are probably familiar with their famous Supima cotton linens.

As we reach Picacho Peak State Park the storm is really starting in earnest. The Picacho peak is 1,500 feet high. There are trails that wind up to the peak.  We decide to look around the visitor center and then drive back to Scottsdale.  The park ranger helpfully encouraged us if we were in a sand storm to pull off of the road and turn our lights off.  Cars tend to follow cars with their lights on.




Driving back to Scottsdale we see a sand storm in the distance.  I'm not taking photos at this point.  We are both focusing on our safety.  Thankfully we just go through wind and rain with no problems!
Arizona was such a lovely surprise to both of us!  I encourage you to see  America the Beautiful!  ♥







39 comments:

  1. I think it is enough to see Arizona through your eyes. It looks so much nicer than it did through my own. I was like the unhappy tourist who would have done better at home. I loved seeing the lake against those rugged mountains and I am amazed how adventurous you both are! (No way that I would strike off on unknown roads not knowing quite where they would lead or how long it would take to get there.)

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    1. Vee, I definitely saw Arizona with new eyes this time. Forty years ago I don't think I really appreciated the beauty of the desert. As far as unknown roads, we planned every mile before leaving home. ♥

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  2. You two are definitely the adventurous type!! Our family is made up of extreme homebodies (I am one of those) and those with a big sense of adventure (there are several). As I type this, I am reminded of one of my first blog posts...maybe I'll repost that...

    This new place to which you have introduced us does not disappoint! You and Grayden have eyes that see such beauty and you are so gifted at presenting that to your readers. There certainly is much to see in this vast world of ours!

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    1. Thank you Cheryl for your sweet comments! I think the older I get the more amazing the world seems to me. I want to see it all! ♥

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  3. Arizona is like living the cowboy dream. These photos are amazing!

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    1. It really is a cowboy's dream! Thank you so much for stopping by! ♥

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  4. Your posts are certainly making it easier for me to look forward to our trip to Phoenix the beginning of April. I don't relish the long flight and could easily just not go.

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    1. Getting to your destination can be the most difficult part of a trip, Cathy. In spite of that I hope your trip is enjoyable. ♥

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  5. Yes! I thought I remembered The Lost Dutchman Mine story. :-)

    Thank you for searching for the painting I love!!!

    Gentle hugs,
    Tessa

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    1. Tessa, The Lost Dutchman story is quite interesting. I had not heard about it until my friend Dawn mentioned it.
      I remember seeing your painting in Victoria magazine ---it's a beauty!
      Enjoy your snow! ♥

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  6. Stunning images again. Wish I'd known about all these secret places too!
    ~~~Deb xoxo
    p.s. Blogger refuses to allow me to reply with my new WordPress account!

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    1. Deb, I'm sure if we returned to the same area we would find more hidden places to explore. The world is full of them.
      I don't understand about not being able to reply with your new account. I know my daughter has both accounts. I'll have to ask her.
      Enjoy your evening! xoxo ♥

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    2. As a matter of fact, it kind of depends on the Wordpress account she has. If she has a self-hosted blog (like my Wordpress one) Blogger doesn't allow for the name/url route that many blogs do. (It's why I use my Google ID when replying here as well).

      If she has a blog that's username.wordpress.com, in theory she should be okay, but I don't have an account to try to test the method.

      Cheers,
      Figart Consulting (Tech support division) ;)

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    3. Thanks, Noel. I hope Deb reads this. If not I'll make sure she gets it! ♥

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  7. What an amazing Wild West adventure, Martha Ellen! I'm so happy that you and Grayden did so much exploring. You really saw a lot! When my mom looks out her kitchen window, she has a lovely view of the Superstition Mountains. Sometimes, they can even see snow on the mountaintops! The drive up to Tortilla Flats is not for the faint-hearted (or those who get carsick) on narrow, winding, switchback roads along the edge of the mountain! You were both very brave to follow that road!! No matter what time of year we visit, the Tonto National Forest always welcomes us with its special beauty. We just love hiking there. It holds such a special place in our hearts. Thank you for sharing so many heart-warming memories, dear Martha Ellen! Big hugs! ♡Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes

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    1. Oh Dawn, your mom has a beautiful view! It would be wonderful to gaze at those gorgeous Superstition Mountains while doing dishes! You are so right about the road to Tortilla Flat! We just took our time and pulled over (not easy) when a car came from behind! Our adventure was so much fun. I can see why you love it! Hiking was out of the question as it was soooo hot when we were there. That would have added another dimension to our trip. Have a wonderful evening, dear Dawn! xoxo ♥

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  8. That Superstition Saloon is wonderful. Such an American thing. Lol The rock formations and cacti really draw me in. That area is so beautiful in its own way.

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    1. The Superstition Saloon was right out the Wild West, Judy. The mountains of Arizona are just beautiful! ♥

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  9. Your pictures make me want to go back to AZ and see more. Thanks for taking us along on your travels!

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    1. Thank you for coming along with us, Dotsie. It was so much fun being there and now reliving our trip through this blog. ♥

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  10. What a marvelous trip Martha Ellen! It was such fun to see this state through your photos!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Betsy! I could use some of that Arizona warmth on this cold afternoon! ♥

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  11. These are terrific pictures of Arizona, Martha Ellen. Tortilla Flat looks like a charming place to visit. I bet your grandsons loved the gifts you bought for them. The Apache Trail is lovely. You know, I'm part Native American on my mother's side, and from what I've been told, with the Apache tribe. Wouldn't that be something?

    Thanks for taking us along on your trip to Arizona. I hope to make it there someday. I heard the northern part is different than the others, more colder, and it snows!

    Happy Valentine's Day, Martha Ellen!

    ~Sheri

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    1. Sheri, you would really enjoy Arizona. I hope you do some research about your family heritage. I think it's so neat to know about our ancestors! Have a lovely Valentine's Day! ♥

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  12. P.S. I just love your header, Martha Ellen, with that beautiful cardinal! xo

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  13. HI Martha! Oh, I'm so glad you've had such a great time and the snaps are beautiful! Thank you so much for popping in to see me and Happy Valentine's Day!
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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    1. Thank's Shelia. Happy Valentine's Day to you as well! ♥

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  14. What an amazing trip you had. Must be nice to back home. Happy Valentine's Day!
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Happy Valentine's Day, Amalia! We took this trip in October. xo ♥

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  15. There's something to be said about a town that boasts a population of 6! How funny. Did you leave a dollar bill on the wall? I agree with you about wanting to visit areas that differ from one's own, otherwise, why travel?! I think it makes us appreciate our own location OR, it causes us to want to move! Last time I visited the West, I did enjoy the difference in scenery, but I was really happy to come back home to my lush, green state. I wonder where your next travels will take you?

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    1. Jeri, Tortilla Flat was so quirky and odd, we were glad to have visited. We did not leave a dollar. Well we did, but not on the wall! Only one of the places we visited recently did I really wish I lived...I bet you may have guessed it was England!! ♥

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  16. I really enjoyed this post, Martha Ellen! The next time we visit AZ I want to go to Tortilla Flats! When we do go to AZ we are usually visiting family members that live there, and don't get to do too much sightseeing, but I'd like to add on a few days and do more of that, as long as it isn't in the summer heat. There is so much beautiful scenery to see in the SW of the USA!

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    1. Pat, even though it was October when we visited, the temperatures were hovering around 100! I think you would really enjoy the beautiful ride to Tortilla Flat. Yes, go when it's going to be cooler! ♥

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  17. Beautiful photos, dear friend. Love seeing the sights I remembered when we were there several years ago. XOXO

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    1. Thank you, dear Susan. Have a beautiful day, my friend! xoxo ♥

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  18. Hi Martha! I'm sure you're still enjoying your beautiful memories from your trip. Thank you always for popping in to see me. Hope you have a wonderful week.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  19. Hi Martha! Thank you so much for popping in to see me and I hope you have a great weekend.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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