The desert and mountains here on the west side of Phoenix are so beautiful and green, filled with bright wild flowers and noisy birds.
|brilliant Mexican poppies carpet the hillsides|
John and Pam hadn't driven on Castle Hot Springs Rd. before, so one day we loaded them up and set off. We pass Lake Pleasant Regional Park on the way, so we stopped in to take care of a bit of "business" at the visitor's center before continuing on our way. The pavement ends shortly after the Park's entrance and the dirt portion carries on for almost 30 miles through numerous creek crossings, along the mountains and stands of huge saguaros.
We saw a single male burro following the creek bed, he looked lonely but quite determined to go where he was going.....
We found a shady spot to stop for lunch between an interesting rock formation and the creek.
Dave found a spot to sit, but we ended up eating on our feet, opting to explore our surroundings a bit.
We noticed numerous small bubbles coming to the surface on a calm section of water nearby. Pam wandered over to check it out and we all ended up poking sticks (well, just I poked in one of the holes with a cast off pipe) into the holes trying to figure out where the air was coming from. We did not come to any conclusion, but it was fun discussing possibilities.
|Pam checks out the water bubbles while she eats her sandwich|
|sometimes we felt we were being watched.....|
There were a few dwellings along the road, some looked inhabited, others not.
We drove past a huge old spa, Castle Hot Springs Resort, built in the late 1890's, and operated as a glamorous resort frequented by famous people, then a spa for tuberculous patients. After subsequent fires and hard times it sat, abandoned for 40 years. Lately it is a beehive of activity. A small group of investors have purchased the historic property and are very busily rebuilding and rehabilitating the buildings, grounds and hot springs. Evidently there are grand plans afoot, but the long drive (at least 7 miles) on a sometimes passable, often impassable dirt road makes us wonder what it's future will be. We look forward to checking it out when we're next in the desert nearby.
|This palomino looked like he enjoyed wallowing in the creek!|
Another day we collected Don and Carol and drove to Wickenburg for a quick Mexican lunch at El Ranchero before heading off to try and find the Hassayampa River Box Canyon via a sandy road in and out of the river. Part of the road was paved (Rincon Rd.) but then dropped down into the deep sand of the river bed. We drove along parallel to the water for a while, then crossed increasingly deep and fast moving sections until we reached a spot Dave was no longer comfortable fording and we turned back to find another road home. It was a fun day and, after all, its the journey not the destination!
We'll definitely try this road again in the future, when the river isn't running as vigorously.
|do we or don't we?|
On the way home, we saw an iconic figure silhouetted against the blue sky. Since his big day is just a month away, perhaps the Easter Bunny was scoping out his territory.............