After spending big bucks ($30/day) to camp at Fool Hollow, we’re ready for a dose of reality. Our destination in the Tonto National Forest fills the bill with $3 camping (with the aid of our National Park Geezer Pass). This particular location offers flush toilets (always a plus), and the big bonus of solar showers. We had cold solar showers at one stop this month, but hope springs eternal. This shows promise! Once again, the drive to the new spot is pure eye candy. We pull in to our campground, and are enchanted with the wonderful campsites in this large National Forest campground. Water spigots are plentiful, but not on every site. We don’t need that anyway. There is no electric power, but we’ve got a bit of cell phone service. All good! This campground is set on Roosevelt Lake, formed by the Roosevelt Dam, near Globe AZ. We score a terrific sites – above the lake, with spectacular views. Here’s the map. (Learning to create panoramic shots on my camera, above). It’s spectacularly beautiful here. The morning sun (below) was especially beautiful, in the way that it highlighted the desert and mountain colors.We only have one full day here, so we grab our bikes and head off to explore the Roosevelt Dam, on the Salt River. Once again, we’ve got a photo-perfect day. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures! The Arizona Trail runs from Mexico, all the way through Arizona, into Utah. Right here!We rolled into the Visitor Center, checking out the videos (I LOVE those! We make a point to see them at every National Park or every Visitor Center where they’re offered). I want to check out the Cliff Dwellings, John is less inclined to ride another five miles uphill, and clunk around in bike shoes up a trail of unknown quality to a cliff dwelling. So, we part – he heads back to camp to hike with Jezzy, and I roll to the Cliff Dwelling Monument. We are both happy with our decisions.
This Salado cliff dwelling dates to the early 14th century, and was likely inhabited for about 100 years. There are actually two dwellings – the lower, which I visited, and the upper, which can only be seen on a Ranger-guided tour. From the upper Visitor Center, the trail to the dwelling winds up and up, until it finally arrives at the cliff opening. Whew! I passed a lot of folks, sitting on the resting benches, panting, and appearing a bit stressed, physically. What a view from up there!I really didn’t take any decent photos inside the dwelling – it was shallow, and it was pretty difficult to get any decent perspective on what my eyes could actually see. But, it’s always worthwhile to take sights like this in, and absorb what bit I can.
The ride back to camp was something I really looked forward to. I knew the first three miles would be downhill, and I looked forward to cruising. NOT! While I was up on the hillside, a vicious north wind picked up, gusting to 25-30mph. I had to pedal my butt off just to stay upright, even though I was on a decent downhill slope. At one point, I dismounted, and tried to walk my bike, as the wind was swirling so hard I was fearful of blowing into the guardrail, and over the side of the road. If you know me at all, you know that I NEVER get off! It was a horrible ride. I cruised into camp, bonked and totally whipped from the ride. Chalk that one up!
Is my credibility shot yet? Nearly every campground we’ve visited this trip has been the Best. How can that be? They’ve been so diverse. So far, I can definitely say (for myself – John will have to chime in on his own….), that I loved this campground the best. Organ Pipe is 2nd best.
The only shadow on this day has been our neighbor in this last campground. She’s camping in her car with a large puppy. I went over on Day 1 to say hi and said something stupid like, “Oh man, you’re brave to camp with a four-month old puppy” (A Great Pyrenees, which is an enormous dog). “It’s not like I have a choice”, was her reply. So, I stewed for two days, trying to figure out how I could leave her with a bit of cash. Perhaps I just wanted reassurance that she has things under control. On our last morning, I wandered over with a bag of dog treats and two $20 bills folded up in my pocket. As things would be, she was very involved in a conversation with another camper and his dog. I hung on the outskirts for a few minutes, then left her with the treats, and we rolled off. Wish I had handled this differently – it’s weighing on me heavily right now.