"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Hiking the Catwalk Trail & Discovering Cooney's Tomb

Alma, New Mexico
BLM Boondocking


The drive from Arizona to New Mexico was about 3 1/2 hours.  We headed NE off of I-10 up Rt 191 and it was very scenic.  It did have some elevation but nothing bad.  Almost no one on it either.


By time you reach the border of Arizona/New Mexico you've been over 6000ft.

Once down the other side we had hoped to camp for free at Bighorn NF campground but the Verizon was too jumpy and not strong enough for Steve to work.  It's a cute little campground right off 180 in Glenwood.
We drove further north a bit above Alma and checkout out our backup which was Cosmic Campground.  Also free and run by the National Forest.  It is also small and laid out like a real campground.  No spots.  We did drive through a dispersed area just before Cosmic and chose a nice open spot to boondock in.  Plenty big enough for us and a couple of others.  Great Verizon.  A little bit of road noise from Rt. 180 but there's almost no traffic.  We're at 5400 feet elevation.

Great views and the weather was perfect, upper 70s.


We came here specifically for 2 hikes.  The first was the Catwalk Hike.  Here is the entrance.
The name for the area, The Catwalk, refers to the original plank-board walkway placed atop the steel pipe used to bring water to the ore processing plant.  You can read more info about the 2 mile out and back hike HERE.
Here's what it originally looked like.  After the planks were damaged in a huge flood it was replaced with the metal catwalk.





The trail is very easy with little climbing.  It starts out paved then climbs the Catwalk.  It spans above the Whitewater Creek.  We stayed left and didn't go over the bridge.  It's an out and back.  Once you come back you can cross the bridge and hike the opposite side.  When we got back to the picnic area the water was running slow and shallow enough to walk through to get back to the picnic/parking area.  We wore our water shoes for this hike.
The canyon is very pretty with all the colorful walls and the leaves were just beginning to open.
You are allowed to bring dogs on leash.  We brought Hurley and he doesn't care for these metal walkways but he did ok.  Since it was short I knew he could do it plus he had many chances to play in the river.  It was not the sharp type of walkway but the holes are probably too big for a very small dog to walk on.

We had the place to ourselves too which was fun.  I think we hit the season just right as the water is still flowing but easy enough to walk through.

Here's how they are drilled into the canyon walls.





Some of the rock was very pink in color.
A small tunnel.
Unfortunately there was some damage towards the end of the trail and you had to turn around.  Bummer.  We turned around and hiked back on the other side after crossing the bridge.





Some rods drilled into the cliffs to help stabilize them.


After the hike we took a drive to find a geocache at a very interesting place I read.  I probably wouldn't have come across this very interesting spot and history if not for geocaching.

They cut in to this large boulder and put his remains.  In person this is a really cool thing to see.  We were both very impressed with it.  There are a few graves behind it as well.
They sealed up the doorway.  It kind of looks like a skeleton head.
The graves behind it had some interesting items left behind.



It was a perfect day.  We definitely recommend the Catwalk Hike if you're anywhere near here.  Tomorrow we will hike the Mineral Creek Trail.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Visiting Bread Rocks & Fort Bowie - AZ

Buckeye, AZ
Skyline Regional Park


The best part of being in Arizona in April are all the  colorful cactus and trees blooming.  The bummer part is the heat.  90/100s.  We had a quick repair in Surprise so we camped conveniently right off I-10 at Skyline Regional Park.  No utilities but maybe 10 very nicely spaced and large campsites.  $20 and we stayed in the back of the loop on "D".  Very private.  Verizon is very good. You can hike many trails right out of the campground.  Walmart is right across the highway so we'll stock up on our way out.
Since we were so close to Surprise we had the opportunity to spend a couple visits with Steve's stepmom and we also were able to have lunch with some Placerville peeps, Jim & Jenny, who are in the area for a bit.  This kept us out of the heat and in some A/C.
Site "D"
Long, paved driveway, picnic table and grill.
Ah, that repair.  Last October we needed to get our gray tank replaced (again).  Since it was Covid, getting a tank shipped to us in time was impossible so they tried a patch/weld fix which we agreed to as we needed to get back on the road and couldn't wait another 2+ months.  Beautiful RV Repair agreed to warranty it too if it didn't hold.  As we left Placerville last week, we knew it wasn't holding so they went ahead and ordered a new tank.  It looked like they could get it in while we were passing through Arizona.  If it didn't arrive in time they would try another patch to keep us traveling and when we get back in Arizona in October they'd replace it then.  Lucky for us the tank arrived when we did and they came out on the Saturday before Easter and replaced it.  Real great people!  We just don't get why we seem to have more tank problems than most.  Our bracing and padding is fine.
As we were traveling to our boondocking location down near Wilcox I heard a metal bang/drag sound.  As I looked out my side mirror I just caught a glimpse of the metal underbelly bar on the trailer bounce then fly out the side and land on the side of the highway.  Thankfully no injuries to anyone behind us!  As you can see in the picture it was bent but mostly in perfect shape.  Steve pulled right over and carefully walked back to get it.  After both of us bounced on it a couple times it bent back into shape fairly well.  Not sure what that says about our weight :-)
Luckily we were right in front of an exit that had a large open space on the side of the road where we could ponder what to do.  We also took advantage of the shade created by the trailer next to us.  Steve had to "borrow" 3 self tapping screws from other spots und the trailer and I had found an extra one.  We'll need to buy a few more for replacements and spares.  After about an hour of swearing and crawling around under the trailer in the heat, we were back on the road.  No idea how this could've come off.  We watched them put everything back together using a very powerful drill.  Baffling!

Bowie, AZ
Indian Bread Rocks BLM



The 7 miles off the highway are paved half way then smooth hardpack the rest of the way.  The coordinates of the picnic center are: 32.2303, -109.5337.  The road is wide and easy to maneuver.  You'll go through a few cattle guards then arrive at the picnic center.  I'd pull over in the wide spot here just before the last cattle guard and scope out the first few spots.  There are several areas to camp but mostly for smaller rigs.  The first 4 are big enough for 40 footers.  This is why I'd scope it out before driving.  There are 2 areas big enough further down the road to turn a large rig around to get back but they could be taken if someone was camping in them.  The first spot was open so we were able to back in from the picnic area.  It sits at 4100 feet so the evenings cooled off nicely.  It's warming up for sure so you'd probably want to be here before April.

It's very quiet out here and there is a lot of wildlife and dark skies.  The stars were amazing!

The rocks and boulders were calling me to explore and climb, but with these temps I didn't want to run across and rattlesnakes so I opted out and walked around the more open areas.

The rock at the left looked like it came from Easter Island.

Since we were unable to visit Ft. Bowie last time we were here we took a late afternoon visit to see it since we were within 10 miles.
There is a small free parking area and a picnic structure with info.  You have to hike the 3 mile round trip trail to get to the fort ruins.  They do have a handicap road access to part of it but I'm sure that is still closed due to Covid.  There was only one couple coming out while we started.




There are very few remains but the hike is easy and it was good to be out on a trail.  There are many informational signs along the way.

We hiked past the cemetery to save it for last.
Just the foundation is left of the Agency.


Apache Camp



Here in the creek that was barely flowing from the spring, Hurley enjoys a drink and a dip to cool off.  Just before we got to this spot we spooked up some Javenlina who were also enjoying the creek.


We saw several Whitetail deer.
Here's a video (above) of their fluffy white tails as they run away.
These are all that remain of the fort itself.


Not sure if this is the actual Stage Area or a small Visitor Center?




On the way out we came upon the Javelina again running up the hillside. (video above)
I'm glad we were able to get out here this time.  The hike was perfect and we liked all the information about the old fort.  And of course, the cemetery.
We got back to the truck while we enjoyed the sunset.

Before we left the next day Hurley and I wandered around the nice picnic area here and up and down the road that everyone camps off of.
The picnic area is maintained by the Masonic and Lyons Clubs.  You can see a Masonic inscription above in the rock and there were some other engravings but I doubt they were done by the natives.

The picnic area is behind me.  We took the first pull out to make it easier to get into.

Before we head out for New Mexico, I'll leave you with this adorable video of a young calf jumping all around and having fun! (again, you might only be able to view it on a laptop)

BYE Arizona!