Saturday, March 11, 2017

Arizona Day Trip

We took the Phoenix, Prescott, Wickenburg loop yesterday, along with a sidetrip to Montezuma's Castle National Park.  

Our day began with chuckles regarding a national monument and ended with some sober observations of memorials dedicated to 19 forest fire fighters from the Prescott area who died in the Yarnell fire in 2013. 

It was definitely a full day offering a variety of interesting scenes, visiting with other "turists," often regarding basketball or baseball and a few tidbits of rich Arizona history. 

We turned off the freeway about 40 miles north of Phoenix to see the Agua Fria National Monument, which turned out to be a vast amount of BLM land with roads impassable for passenger cars.  We did see that some folks had left their cars and trailers and had taken off on all-terrain vehicles. 

So, we didn't spend too much time there, but I have learned that the place is filled with Native American artifacts and dwellings.  Next time, when we bring our 4-wheeler to Arizona, we'll see the full-meal deal.  Of course, that may be in another life. 

Montezuma's Castle provided a sharp contrast in sophistication as far as historical sites are concerned----the gift shop, the museum, lovely benches and picnic tables and a lot of "turists," all nice from all over.  

The place features a cliff dwelling dating back about 700 years where a group of Native Americans inhabited the dwellings on the hillside and farmed along the sycamore-lined creek below.  Their civilization, according to the three-dimensional display was organized and sophisticated.

From there, we drove on to one of my favorite places in Arizona.  Prescott, pronounced "PRESS cut," sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet, and one sees a lot of ponderosa pine on the hillsides and terrain filled with artistic, huge boulders in other areas. 

Its claim to fame:  the world's oldest rodeo and a beautiful county courthouse park with a lovely band shell dating to 1910 and some phenomenal sculptures crafted by Solon Hannibal Borglum, from the family of artists associated with Mount Rushmore. 

Twas fun to have a gentleman walk by, who I think might make it his Friday afternoon duty along with participating in a peaceful protest, to inform me of the historical aspects of the Western sculptures in the park.  That's what I love about actually getting out of the car and engaging with the locals. 

We enjoyed a late lunch at the Prescott Brew Pub and topped it off with an ice cream cone from Frannie's before heading on down the road to Yarnell where we would see the first of two memorials dedicated to the tragic loss of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters in the Yarnell Fire.

In tiny Yarnell, a community in the midst of some beautiful ranching country south of Prescott,  plans are still unfolding for the memorial park, while further down the road, a trail has been constructed, winding up the mountainside, showing markers along the way, and the final spot where the firefighters died.

We walked just a short distance on the trail, but even that amount of time provided a sense of the love, respect and efforts being extended toward honoring their memory.  

Wickenburg was to be our last stop, but, as usual, so much to see, too little time.  It was dark as we passed through Wickenburg.

Still, it was an action-packed day, which left us with a lot to think about whenever we have some quiet moments.  That's what is SO great about traveling. 

On to spring training today with Seattle Mariners vs. Cincinnati. Should be fun, and we're expecting to see a few other locals who have escaped the March Madness of winter weather at home.  I'm hearing that there's some melting going on. 

I told Elisabeth to blow a lot of warm air when she's out playing with the doggies. 

Happy Saturday.  Enjoy the photos.   

No comments: