Wednesday, February 6, 2013


the finches waiting their turn at our feeder  remind me of the pussy willow bush back home

Another beautiful morning....but the TV weather people are telling us that change is coming.  With that admonishment, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring this beautiful area.  We drove out McDowell Mountain Road in the direction opposite to the one we usually take.  At the small, planned golf community of Rio Verde, we turned onto  Forest Road and followed it in to the Tonto National Forest. We were looking for Needle Rock and the Verde River.  

We parked the jeep and set out on a  long, smooth path through an impossibly green glen, the Mesquite Bosque.   We could hear the river close by,  but couldn't see it.  Interspersed among the twisted, tilted Mesquite trees were wickedly thorny bushes and soft fluffy air plants of some sort.

its hard to believe this lush green is in the desert just a few miles from us

Oh Dave, don't sniff this one!

close up of the thorn bush, yikes!

I don't know what this soft air plant is called, but its beautiful
Dave found a way down the eroded dirt bank and we scrambled down following the sound of the water.

We broke through the thorny, thick underbrush and came out on to a dry creek bed.  We walked one way to a dead end then back the other way, still following the sound of the river.
down the dry creek bed towards the hole in the bushes
And, there it was, the Verde River.   Not a soul around, the current rushing by, ducks quacking and the reeds rustling in the wind.  Beautiful.   We walked  down the muddy bank for a bit hoping for a glimpse of this Needle Rock, then decided to head back.
Verde River
We retraced our steps, got back in the jeep and continued down the road to see where it went.  After only a few miles the road ended at Needle Rock Beach!     There was the river, clearly in front of us, and we didn't even have to crawl down dirt embankments, through dry reeds and underbrush and down a dry creek bed to find it!     And.....there was Needle Rock.   Leave it to us to do things the hard way first.

This rock arch won't be here much longer from the look of the crack in its middle.....come out of there Dave!

hmmmm, I'd like to know the back story on this shrine

Dave chats with a fisherman from Nebraska
(actually, he was a professional Roper and not a fisherman...)
Back on the road home, we drove through a veritable forest of giant Saguaros (sue are oo).  They can grow to 60 feet high or more and live as long as 200 years.  They don't start growing side "arms" until they're about 75 years old and they seem to have real personalities to me.   No two are the same and I've always loved being among them.
you just can't beat this scenery

I'm fascinated by Saguaros.
 I make no apology, you'll see lots more while we're here in the desert.

Dave loves them too

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! What a beautiful day! The finches do look like pussy willows. Glad you found Needle Rock. The rain did some good, such lush undergrowth. Now you need to get on the crested Saguaro bandwagon! I know there are several up that way.