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Continued from the previous page.

I climbed up and down several more ridges and hiked in and out of lots of little ravines until I reached 4.5 miles and turned around. I kept wanting to see what was around the next corner and over the next ridge . . . typical Sue! 


Ocatillo cactus (left)


Prickly pear cactus on left


Heading back after I turned around; you can see Black Canyon City in the distance.

I was constantly distracted by colorful rocks, too -- different than those in Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon but equally interesting. There is a lot of quartz in this area and rocks that glitter in the sun.

Colors include the whole rainbow -- blacks, grays, silver, white, cream, tan, browns, gold, yellow, orange, pink, bright red, dark red, lavender, purple, reddish purple, blue-gray, greens:










Above and below:  quartz formations

There were also some rocks with interesting lichen colors on them: 


In addition to some free-ranging cows I saw a total of nine hikers and six cyclists.

The trail in this section is mostly rocky and very narrow, with some steep drop-offs. I doubt Jim would enjoy riding here. At our age we both prefer bike paths and wider dirt trails and roads.


I mentioned that it took only a few days for us to realize we didn't want to stay in the Black Canyon area very long. There were several reasons, including the amorphous "it just doesn't feel like home."

One big reason was the electrical issue at the RV park. We couldn't use our surge protector effectively and didn't want to damage our electrical system. Another was the small size of the RV sites. We're spoiled with more roomy sites we've had in other RV parks where we've stayed for several weeks or months. A couple nights in a tight spot is tolerable; not so much for the long term.

Above and below:  Sego lily on the Black Canyon Trail

Traffic is also a problem for us. We drove south toward Phoenix to shop twice during the middle of the day and traffic was a nightmare on I-17. Can't imagine what rush "hour" is like.

Today, a Saturday, we wanted to re-visit Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monuments again but the traffic going north on the freeway was so fast and heavy that we turned around after 15 miles and went back home. It was just too nerve-wracking for us. It looked like everyone in metro Phoenix was heading north to cooler areas for the weekend.

Another reason we decided to leave is the lack of convenient and interesting places for us to hike, ride our bikes, and exercise the dogs. 

Bright flowers on the Black Canyon Trail near the river

Seed pods on a palo verde tree

We have decided to go down to the RV park at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in far southwestern Arizona. We were on base several times when we were boondocking at the nearby Imperial Dam Long-Term Visitor Area in January and February, 2012 but we haven't stayed there before.

We'll have full hookups, cable TV, WiFi, a larger site, and much better hiking and cycling opportunities on base and nearby at a large conservation area and the LTVA, all for the really low price of $375/month including electricity (haven't seen a military base that charges extra for electricity or a third vehicle). Plenty of sites are still available because it's even hotter there right now so we should have a good choice of sites.

Hedgehog cacti growing out of a wall of rock on the Black Canyon Trail

The main downside is being 20 miles from Yuma but the drive through lush farmland to get there is quiet and interesting, not stressful like driving around Phoenix. We'll be heading down to YPG tomorrow with high hopes for a more relaxing winter retreat.

Next entrySnowbirds in Arizona, Take 2 Camping at Yuma Proving Grounds

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil