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Monday, February 29, 2016

Hot Well Dunes - BLM

I went exploring 3 BLM disbursed camping in Southeastern Arazona.  Hot Well Dunes is directly north of Bowie, AZ. (See other post on Bowie, AZ)

I saw this sign that tipped me off to investigate.

As I exited Bowie, heading north, the road turns to dirt.  Flat and straight but a washboard that rattles everything in my Prius.  The last 4 miles is tar but many potholes. Warch out!

I arrive at Hot Well Dunes and notice this is a fee area.  The camp host was there and he explained that the money that is collected goes directly to maintain the area.

$3.00 a night gets you pit toilets, rubbish removal, picnic table if you get one, and two hot tubs.

With my senior pass it's half price per stay at $1.50.

There is a 14 day limit.

Since it is BLM land around here you can disburse camp if you choose, but to use the above you have to pay.

Here is the entrance area to to the two hot tubs.

This is not a natural spring.  They were drilling looking for oil many years ago and hit water that was an artesian source, and it was hot!

As the water table decreased over the years it was no longer artesian and they installed a solar water pump.

This is one of the two hot tubs.

I was attracted to this site after reading my RTR friend's blog, where she has reviewed a number of hot springs in the Truth or Consequences, NM.  She has a nice simple blog and a pleasant writing style.  She is also looking to get more readers so check hers out.

As with all water sources I look for outflow to know the water isn't stagnant. There is a good flow.

After seeing the area I was going to stay a night or two but there was no cell service, even with my cell amplifier, so it was 2 hours back to Tucson for the night.

I teach online and post to my blog every day so I have become accustomed to stay at sites where I have cell service.


Ft. Bowie - 2/29/16 (Day 57)

As my days draw to an end in Southern Arazona, I have a few more places to check out.

Today i visit Fort Bowie.  It is 2 hours and 15 minutes to the east (121 miles one way)

I follow the signs on I10 and get off in the town of Bowie and head south.

I arrive at a busy sign with no clear understanding on how to get to the Fort Bowie site.  Sign has handicapped going one way and the other is to a trail.

I took the road to the trail, although I was not looking to hike a second day in a row. The sign says 1.5 miles so that is a 3 mile hike.

I head out with my backpack with water and the hike takes me past sites along the way that add to the experience of the visit. ( mining camp, stagecoach route, cemetery, Apache house, spring, original fort site, second fort site.

Above is the Butterfield stage coach trail through the grass.

Here is a picture of the entire Butterfield Trail.  Butterfield was given the contract to bring mail across country as previously mail went by boat to California.

Butterfield used special wagons with mule teams to get over the mountains.

Along the way, there are plaques that provide explanation of the various things to see on your way to the fort.

Above explains the cemetery that is here.  The Millitary that were stationed here that were buried here originally were move to a national cemetery leaving only civilian graves.

A stone wall around the cemetery has been replaced by a picked fence.

This is an Apache hut used during this period.

The Apache spring was an all important water source for the fort and the stage/mail line.

This is the visitor center, small but nice.  A woman who lives on site, is the host ranger today and she was very pleasant and helpful in answering my questions.

She explained the sign difficulty I had.  They do not want people driving to the site of the fort unless they are handicapped.  They (the government) have to be ADA compliant, but driving here you miss the the walking history tour as this is the value of the hike you do not get driving.

There are two fort sites.  The on with partial foundations in the background is the site of the newer Fort Bowie and the other is a quarter of a mile to the right (west) of here.

This site was used to address the Apache nation after the Cuvil War and Cochise who eventually had problems with the US Government and fought the troops at Fort Bowie, who he was once at peace with.  Cochise hid out in the hills west of these that they call the Cochise Stronghold.

The ranger recommended that I hike the return trail up the hill behind the visitor center.  

It was a climb but the views of the valley were as good as she promised.  Above is the picture I took from the top of the hill.

Again, I forgot to turn on my AllTrails app to track my hike out and back.  The best I have is this stored track that someone else recorded.  The only problem is that the red line is supposed to meet to form an upside down lollipop.

Overall, plan on a 4 mile hike and this include the spur at the bottom to view the Fort Bowie sites.

I enjoyed the hike and self paced tour reading the panels, but my expectation before I arrived and when I had to hike I was coughs off guard.

So please go to Fort Bowie but plan to hike 4 miles as this is the only way to take in the entire site.  The Fort itself is moot as there are only foundations that remain of both the first and second fort.  The experience is to enjoy the history as it unfolds as you walk.

I walked out with an elderly couple that have been here before.  They take their time and bring water and a snack.  


Indian Bread Rocks - BLM


South of Bowie, AZ on I10 (see separate post) and north of Fort Bowie National Monument (see separate post) and 3 miles off on a dirt road west you are at Indian Bread Rocks BLM picnic area.

My RTR friend Dave in his Prius mentioned this place to stay.  Being in the area I decided to check it out.

When I arrived there was a pick up truck with cattle a trailer but no one around except the cattle.  

Watch out where you step as there are cow flops all around as this is open range.

Although designated as picnic area, there is no problem from what I see from camping nearby.  

There are a few places on the way in and a few immediately past the picnic area entrance.

I drove past the picnic area to see about other spots.  I drove about an 1/8th of a mile and its narrow and often soft sand.  I got nervous with my low clearance Prius. I decided to go back.  With the narrow width road and soft sand there was no turning around, so I back up the 1/8 mile to the picnic area.

Don't go past the picnic area unless you check where you plan to turn around first.  I didn't feel like hiking the road as the cattle were already eying me in my Gold Prius as I drove down the dirt road past the picnic area.

It's a nice picnic area and plenty of rocks for kids and adults that are kids at heart to climb.  I had lunch here.

The pit toilet was clean and appeared to be maintained.

There is a lot to explore.

Or climb.

I was thinking of staying but I could not get a cell signal.  This. spot is tucked in the canyon at the edge of the mountains.

If I stayed on the road coming in I had service, but I would have liked to stay next to the picnic area and no cell is problematic for me.

It's a nice place but bring food and water as the town of Bowie has very little to offer for services.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Golden Corral - Sunday Prime Rib Special

I may eat out once a week when I travel but haven't been out that much on this trip choosing to cook my own meals.

The hike up Wasson Peak today was a great workout and I wasn't much interested in cooking after that so my  thoughts turned to going out to eat.  

I had seen the sign that the Golden Corral had a weekend prime rib special.

I don't generally go to buffet restaurants and generally don't like sitting at a table by myself.  I have a thing about bothof them.  I generally opt for restaurants with bars to sit at.  These two things I put aside today and went to the Corral.

The price was right and I was hungry so I could eat as much as I wanted and whatever I wanted.  I did make two trips for prime rib and a variety of other things.

Now I was tired and stuffed.


Sky Island Scenic Byway - Mt. Lemmon

A couple that I met at Buenos Ares NWR asked me if I had driven to Mt. Lemmon and I replied I had not.  They said it is something they enjoyed and I should look at going.

This conversation gave me the precipitous to take the drive up.  This drive takes you to the top of the mountains that act as a backdrop for the city of Tucson. (north of the city)

The picture above was taken from the first ridge overlooking East Tucson.

I decided to drive all the way to the top before heading down, stopping along the way.

Above is the ski area but it is not open.  It's on the north side of the mountain to avoid the warm sun.  It isn't a big ski area.

This is the view to the north of Mt. Lemmon.

I stopped at the forest service station on the way down, but still near the top.  I wanted to learn about hiking and camping areas.

I met the Forest Service Ranger opening up for the day.  I asked her about what was open for trails and camping and she said hiking was open on all trails, but only the two lower campgrounds are open.  she explained that as it warmed up the lower campgrounds would close and the upper ones would open around April 1.

I then asked about animal encounters on the trails and she said that two woman were out on a trail and encountered a mountain lion.  They made themselves big and there was a stare down for awhile and the mountain lion left.  They reported the encounter so the animal ranger and he went out to check and he found the mountain lion and it approached him so they killed it and it tested positive for rabies.

We talked for awhile until another customer came in and I was on my way.  I find the Federal employees great resources for Informaiton and they too like the conversations that they get from the people they meet.

Coming out of the forest area at higher elevations you pass these rock formations.

You have to wonder how they stay up there.

I stopped at this overlook at is the most popular spot on the road.  I met 3 woman, all related.  Two 40 somethings and a teenager.  I was asked to take some pictures of them, which I was glad to oblige.

They were visiting from, I believe, Ohio and on their way up the mountain road.  I did get to talk for awhile with one about presidential politics and found her like minded to my thoughts.  I don't tend to discuss politics in passing but for some reason it came up and just happened we found ourselves agreeing with each other.

It's always fun to meet people on the trip, but even more fun to talk to a few a bit longer, when those conversations are more substantive.  

They were looking for a hike later so I recommended Douglas Spring Trail that wasn't far from the road up the mountain.  I hope they found it and had a good hike.  I like that trail as its not too strenuous and there are plenty of flowers this time of year.

This is a formation across the street.

Here is my attempt at a more artistic picture, framing the distance.

If you come to Tucson.  Take the drive up to Mount Lemmon it is enjoyable.


Wasson Peak Hike - Sunday 2/28/16 (Day 56)

Wasson Peak is one of my favorite hikes in the Tucson area for beauty, elevation and elevation.  At nearly 7 miles and over 1700 foot elevation change, it's a hike that prepares you well for many other likes in the area.  Oh, one other good thing is that it isn't crowded.  You are never more than 10 minutes away from others but you are generally alone.

Above you can see I got an early start at 8:00.  For me this is 2+ hours up and 2 hours down.  This means that I will not be back at the trailhead until 12:30 pm.

Going early you also get shade for a good part of the beginning of the hike.

As with most mountains in the area, there are evidence off mines still in the area.

The trail is well marked but with a lot of loose gravel, so coming down I can slide if I try stopping fast.

This hike is near Saguaro NP West.

There are plenty of great looking views to include cactus. 

As usual I will put in a photo of flowers on the way.

Looking back to where the car is parked.

I'm on top of Wasson Peak looking north.

This is one of the few selfies I'll include in my travels.  I know some have been wondering if my two visits to Slab City had any affect on my clean cut look.

A vandweller friend in Kentucky had told me to get some temporary tats before going.  In actuality she was right, although piercings would have helped there too.  I may have to try the suggestion next year.

I was thinking of a tat on my neck behind my right ear.  

I'm wearing my desert light weight wide brim hat as the sun is getting stronger every day and this on stays flat under my sleeping bag as the top is just thin material with vent flaps.  

My Indianna Jones hat is wool and too hot for this weather.  It was great when I was in Quartzsite before it started getting warm.

A look back down the trail from the top.

This isn't my saved track.  I forgot to turn on my record so I got this from the stored files on the AllTrailes app.

My feet held up for the hike but I did have to put bandages on the heals at the top as I was starting to get blisters.

No snakes yet but it will not be long now before they are more active.