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Wednesday, May 1, 2002

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Verde Valley

It was getting late as we left Prescott yesterday and started climbing some more and looking for a place to camp. Finally we came on Mingus Mountain Recreation Area. Turning off the highway we drove a few miles on a dirt road, past a religious camp area and, finally to the Recreation Area. We were the only ones there and it was a little spooky under the pines. We did have our choice of campsites and hurried to set up tents before it got dark, barely making it.

We finished cooking supper and eating in the dark and then went to bed with the wind howling. I was worried about being the only source of food for bears but there were no warnings of bears and no bear boxes so I figured there wasn't much of a problem. The wind howled us to sleep and it was cold but nice to snuggle up in a sleeping bag and I fell asleep all warm and cozy.

I woke up to daylight and tried to sleep some more but I have a terrible time sleeping once it's light outside. I got up and made some coffee and then sat in the car covered with my sleeping bag and read till Lisa woke up. It was nice. After a quick breakfast we headed towards Verde Valley. We wound down and up again and through Jerome which is a wonderful old mining town perched on the side of a hill though it's now artsy crafty but still a real cool place. There wasn't a good coffee place open thought so we wound (and wound is the word to use) down to Cottonwood where we picked up some coffee.

We headed towards Sedona and were soon enjoying the amazing red cliffs and hills. We never quite made it as we were sidetracked into Red Rock State Park. My shins were really hurting so we walked around Red Rock which is a really nice park. They have the composting outhouses too which were real cool as they didn't smell. Good idea! We saw an amazing house built by a really rich guy for his wife but it was never finished as they got divorced, etc. and so forth. This country is so full of houses built by really rich guys for their wives who die or divorce them or whatever and end up being visited by tourists because they are really great houses. This one overlooked the creek and the green and red vista was beautiful.

After walking several of the trails we backtracked to Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood to find a campsite. We got one of the few left in the area with facilities. The motorhomes are slowly heading north now that it's getting hotter in the south. We were surrounded by by them and not a creature was stirring. It's always spooky to camp with a bunch of motorhomes as you never know if someone is there. They had room in the overflow but they did not have showers there.

After setting up camp we drove over to Tuzigoot National Monument and walked through what is left of an Anasazi pueblo. It was very interesting though I think I would have been claustrophobic if I had actually lived there. You entered through the roof and that was the only light also. Still it was amazing. Of course, the Anasazi disappeared, probably became some of the existing tribes, so they weren't that amazing.

We returned to the state park and took a walk along their greenway on the Verde River. It's ok, but needs some work. The best part was a lagoon which they kept stocked and you couldn't see the river from the path and the vegetation was a bit glum but I'm sure they're working on it.

Then it was back the the campsite and a shower. How nice.


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Rachel Aschmann 2002.
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