Friday, February 24, 2012

WICKENBURG’S VULTURE PEAK…BEAUTIFUL AREA

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THE TRAIL TO VULTURE PEAK

Where once mornings began warming up about 10 a.m. after a chilly night, we’ve noticed it’s getting pretty warm out here by 9 now.  And the nights are warmer too.  And, we no longer have to put a warm jacket on at 4 in the afternoon.

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I THINK DESERT POPPIES ARE BEGINNING TO BLOOM

The night sky was beautiful Thursday night with a crescent Moon low in the west & Planets Venus & Jupiter just above.  In the next few nights the Moon will move through Jupiter & Venus making for a rare & beautiful sight just after sunset.

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THE COWS BIG IRON WATER TANK NEAR US

We were happy to see a return of horses this morning & counted 8 of them moving through the Mesquite & Desert Brooms near our rig.

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We were on the road heading for Vulture Peak about 9:30.    Had we known the 200 mile RAGNAR RELAY RACE was being run from Wickenburg to Phoenix today we might have held off on our Vulture Peak drive until Monday.  Vulture Mine Road was loaded with runners & countless support vehicles all the way up & beyond Vulture Peak.  The driving was slow with so many young marathoners running.  Drove out as far as the Vulture Peak Mine site before turning around & heading back to a very crowded parking lot at the Vulture Peak Trailhead.  Fortunately the road heading from that parking lot further in to the Vulture Peak Trailhead was free & clear.

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What a beautiful area this is & we saw people boon docking with lots of room between them.  Because of the higher altitude the vegetation is totally different than the valley floor below.  This is the land of giant Saguaros, Ocotillos, Prickly Pear Cactus & Agave plants.  It is the true Sonoran Desert at it’s greenest.  With Vulture Peak & it’s jagged ridge lines in the background I felt this was some of the finest scenery we have seen in our travels.

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We right away thought of bringing the rig up there but then noticed something that quickly changed our minds.    There is another beautiful cactus that lives at the altitude, but this one can hurt you & especially hurt your pet.  Teddy Bear Cholla!!  We were virtually in a Teddy Bear Cholla garden.  Beautiful as all get out but we know first hand how terribly painful these Cholla barbs are.  We knew this would not be a safe place for Pheebs & Motor.  Once those Cholla barbs imbed themselves in a dog’s paw it is a major problem.  Dogs will immediately try to pull them out with their teeth & that makes things worse because the barbs then become imbedded in the dog’s mouth.  Pliers are about the only tool to get them out.  And, you had better be wearing thick gloves.  As often as not pets have to be taken to a Vet & sedated before the hooked barbs can be removed.

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THESE ARE TEDDY BEAR CHOLLA

We parked at the Vulture Peak Trailhead.  Clean pit toilets here by the way.  At the trailhead, one has a choice.  Either hike the moderate, but very scenic 1.4 mile uphill trail or take the Jeep Road.  Kelly had read some literature which described this Jeep road as being exceptionally rough.  With that in mind we decided to hike the trail.  Besides, we needed the exercise far more than our Jeep did anyway.

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KELLY SIGNS THE TRAIL LOG & HEADS ON UP TOWARDS VULTURE PEAK

It’s a beautiful trail which winds you along a sandy & sometimes rocky path through towering Saguaros.  The views all around are second to none.  Many species of cactus everywhere & it is a truly fine desert landscape.  The grades are manageable with a little huffing & puffing here & there.  Good hiking boots are a must for some of the rock scrambles & loose gravely stones underfoot.  Take your time, take water, & stop to enjoy the views around you.  From the lower trailhead to the upper trailhead took us 40 minutes.

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CHATTING WITH SOME FELLOW HIKERS

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THE PATH SOMETIMES PARALLELS THE JEEP ROAD

The upper trailhead is where the Jeep road ends as well.  From this point on the trail takes on a whole different personality & if your not in good shape, we hear it’s not wise to proceed up beyond this point.  Standing at the trailhead with Vulture Peak towering over us we could see the difficulties ahead & knew this is as far as we would go…….today.  Maybe a few years ago before I began having leg problems I might have thought, “ya, let’s do it.”  But, after hiking uphill for 40 minutes, my legs were bothering me & I knew it wasn’t wise to go any further.

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WE WENT AS FAR AS THE UPPER TRAIL HEAD…NEXT TIME WE WILL CLIMB TO THAT ‘V’ IN THE MOUNTAIN TOP RIGHT

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KELLY STANDS IN THE UPPER TRAIL HEAD JEEP PARKING LOT

Decided next time we return to this area we will Jeep up to this point & then do the next leg of the hike up to what is called, the Saddle.  I’m sure I would enjoy that climb.  But, what about this bad Jeep road Kelly read about.  Well, only one way to find out so we decided to walk the entire road all the way back down the mountainside to the lower trailhead.

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WE START BACK DOWN THE ROUGH & TUMBLE JEEP ROAD

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MOST OF THE ROAD TURNS OUT TO BE JUST FINE 

Aside from a few moderate rock climbs near the upper trailhead & some short steep up & down gully whomps close to the lower trailhead this road is a piece of cake for any high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle.  The Jeep road is also an easier walk for folks either up or down than the trail but not nearly as scenic.  I would suggest walking up the Jeep road & hiking back down along the scenic trail.  Again, what a beautiful area this is & it is a ‘must see’ if you are in the area.

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ONE GULLY WHUMP AREA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JEEP ROAD

On the way back down Vulture Mine Road to Wickenburg we Jeeped off some side roads to check out some future boon docking sites.  And, once you get below a certain altitude there are no longer Teddy Bear Chollas present.  Here’s a boon docking area I would suggest……  Coming up Vulture Hill road from Wickenburg, watch for a road off to your left called Vulture Peak Road.  This is a wide hard packed dirt road & fine for Motor Homes & Trailers.  We drove in a mile before turning around & in that mile we saw about a dozen large & easily accessible fairly flat boon docking sites.  And, Vulture Peak itself is easily seen from most of these sites.  This would be a great scenic spot to set up camp & explore the surrounding Wickenburg area.  We did check out another spot further up the mountain on the right with about 6 rigs in it.  This would probably be suitable for most folks but we didn’t care for it.  It’s basically just a large dirt parking lot & certainly does not have the ‘WOW’ factor going for it.  ‘WOW’ factor is always important for us:))

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CAN I GO OVER & PLAY WITH MY PALS, DAD

We were back in the scenic little town of Wickenburg by 12:45 which was just in time to get ourselves into the very popular lunch line at a burger place called, ‘Screamers’.  And, what did I have at Screamers…..why a Screamerburger of course.  Kelly had one as well with a chocolate milkshake.  Good burgs for sure even if we did end up waiting half an hour for them.

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PHEEBS & HER PALS WERE AT IT AGAIN TODAY

From there it was back to the rig for a relaxing afternoon of relaxation & resting my legs.  I’m afraid my legs are becoming my Achilles Heel:((

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GROANER’S CORNER:((  An old television star who's show has been on for years and was recently cancelled runs into a news reporter on the street. "Do you personally answer the hundreds of letters of adoration that have been pouring into the studio everyday demanding that your show be renewed?" asks the reporter. "Goodness No!" replied the actor, "I hardly have time to write them."

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-Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
BAYFIELD BUNCH PHOTO ALBUMS https://picasaweb.google.com/117858411710794543295
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of
right  now...AL.
stargeezerguy@gmail.com

20 comments:

  1. Lady was limping with just the regular desert sticker bushes at the lower elevations. I don't know what I would have done if she got near a Cholla cactus! She is a true eastern Tennessee mountain dog and her paws don't even like the dry grass of Sacramento in the middle of summer.

    I can't ever see enough pictures of Pheebs and the cattle. It's so nice to see animals being able to get along with and enjoy other species.

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  2. All the elements of a great day!

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  3. there was one of those Ragnar races when we went to Key West - took us 45 minutes to go the last 5 miles... a bad time to be on the roads when they are racing!

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  4. Good day! When we hiked to the saddle we took the jeep up to the next trailhead, we would have never made it otherwise! That is an absolutely gorgeous area--and it wasn't crowded this year??

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  5. I knew you would like it.... Sorry you didn't make it to the top.... At least you see what I'm talking about.
    We seem to be running like crazy lately. between Ms Pat's dancing, all our shooting, Dr apts, gun show this week end, etc. Whew!!

    Washed all our screens and windows yeaterday morning, what a job. We do hope you catch us at home tho... Also hope you stick around for a spell.

    It is amazing how Pheebs likes those cows and they seem to like her too!! Thats more cows and horses out there than we have ever seen before.... That's Round Mountain in the background... Nice view fron the top of it also!! Easy climb too. You can almost drive to the base of it,,,go out senic view road from W/burg...
    Also hope you get to see Box Canyon,,,you can drive to it also....Enjoy!!!

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  6. Amazing to me that the cows and Pheebs get along like that. If you have pain in your lower legs after walking you need to get your circulation checked out. One of the treatments for that is walking on a treadmill to increase the blood flow.

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  7. Those cows really seemed taken with Pheebs.
    I have one of those cactus plants at home and I know all about those barbs. Just try and transplant one!!!

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  8. I was introduced to The Bayfield Bunch by a friend who told me about your loss last year. I have been reading you faithfully ever since. The love you have for the Southwest is heartwarming - but the love for your little pals is overwhelming. I think that Pheebe was sent to you for a very special reason. She is a unique animal that is in tune with all she come in contact with. You are truely blessed. And little Cora is about the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

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  9. Another nice day in the Wickenburg area, lovely scenery there.

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  10. Looked like another beautiful & fun day. Loved the oictures of Pheebs and the cows and also your rig looked like it ia smiling with joy in the sunset photo!
    Have fun & Travel safe
    Donna

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  11. I think I would love hiking up to Vulture peak. What a beautiful area! Thanks again for the photos and all the great tips for boondocking in that area.

    Virginia

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  12. Thanks for posting about that area...Wickenberg looks very fun...and how great to see the desert blooms!! You sure got lots of "beef on the hoof" and Prime Rib roaming around you! Those cattle are so cute it makes me almost want to be a vegetarian.

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  13. We don't normally go out of our way to see an indoor museum, but the Wickenburg one is fantastic! If you have a couple of hours, be sure to drop by.

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  14. We had a rare clear sky here two nights ago and I called to Russ to come see the bright planets in the western sky. I figured one was Venus but didn't know the other was Jupiter until I read about it the next day. I knew they had to be planets as they were lower in the sky and SO much bigger and brighter than the stars. Just beautiful. Love you horse pictures and of course the photos of Pheebs and the cattle.

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  15. My brother lives in Santa Fe and wrote me that he took all of the Cholla cacti out of his yard because his dogs kept getting barbs in their paws. No fun.

    I love the pictures of Pheebs and the cows. Pheebs must be an old soul to be so calm around them.

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  16. Oh my, today's photos I have to say are just wonderful, some of the very best posted I have to say. Looks like you are having wonderful adventures. We start our part time adventures in March, looking forward to the day we can RV more. www/tripswithtwo.com/blog/.

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  17. Al, you're gonna break a half million visitors here soon. :)

    Chinle

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  18. Great post as usual and of course wonderful pictures....almost like
    being there....almost!

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  19. Thanks for bringing our attention back to Wickenburg...it's been a long time. Are we not blessed with this lifestyle??!! Beautiful photos...Thank you!

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  20. Aunt Jean
    Can't believe the pictures of Pheebe & the cows. Looks like they understand each other. Think the cows have adopted her as one of their stray calfs. Just when I think the pictures cant get any better, the next blog proves me wrong. So glad you are enjoying warmer weather. Will try to get an email off to you soon. Wish I were there too. Love & Hugs

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