"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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Bear Attack, Botanical Gardens & A Birthday

Apache Junction, AZ
Lost Dutchman State Park

Even though we got a late start out this year we were very fortunate to be able to still meet up with a few 2014ers as we all happened to cross this year in Arizona for a couple of weeks.  Before we left Lost Dutchman State Park, Greg and Cori of The Restless Youngs rolled in.

Fun times.  We BBQed and played some domino games and caught up.  We hadn't been together since Quartzite last year.

Thanks to my friend, Tina, for this yummy recipe.

I played my worst game ever. I think I broke everyone's record for the worst score!

A few days later Lee & Trace of Camper Cronicles arrived.  It was April 1st and Cori had a great idea that we should play some kind of prank on them.  Since, eh hem, ONE of them is afraid of bears, Cori outlined a bear with some blood and we outlined (thanks to Greg & Cori laying on the hot ground) some dead bodies. We then taped off their campsite with crime scene tape.  The couple camped next door probably thought we were crazy!  Since they were almost at the front entrance, Cori told them there was a some problem with their campsite.  Something about a bear attack. There were camp hosts and park rangers out and we weren't sure what was happening.  Then we hid in the bushes.
When they pulled up they had no idea what was going on.  Then we started growling from the bushes.  Then we started laughing and out we popped.

They really weren't sure what was going on!  Best April Fools joke!

After they settled in we had a little Happy Hour at our place.  Sweet Aunt Trace always brings treats for the dogs, Hurley and Greg & Cori's dog, Hobie.

Since Hobie aka "Thug Dog" has a habit of stealing all the other dogs toys, she brought one for each of them.  They were very happy pooches!  Thanks Aunt Trace!

"Thug Dog"

The girls went out for a little geocaching in the area.
The next day we planned to hike up Flat Iron with the gang up to the Thumb, maybe even the Bowl.  This way they'd get a good hike, get up high enough to see the valley and not get blisters!


                 Cori, Hurley & I                                Trace                                              Lee

On our last day we decided to visit the old church, museum and Goldfield Mine. The Elvis Memorial Chapel is a movie memorabilia museum showing the movies that were filmed at Apacheland.  According to the website, the chapel was taken down piece by piece, nail by nail, has been reconstructed on the museum grounds. The Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum is a special museum of western motion pictures and television that were filmed there over a 45 year period, including “Charro!",” which starred Elvis Presley. Some of the movies filmed here were: The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Arizona Raiders ,The Haunted, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler.

The Elvis Memorial Chapel has the prettiest setting with the Superstitions in the background.



Then we walked over to the old miniature railroad This permanent G-scale model train exhibit has several steam locomotives and over 1500 feet of track.  Very impressive with the details.

The old stamp mill.

It was getting hot and we were all hungry so we went across the road to Goldfield Mine.
It is a reconstructed 1890's town with lots of local history, shops and a restaurant etc.

Our view across the patio of the Superstitions.

Steve & Trace goofing off.

Greg, Lee & Cori.

My handsome cowboy!

There is a really creative geocache hidden behind the mine.  We let Cori and Lee have the fun of finding it.  Cori was just tall enough to pull it out of the well.  It is what is called a Bug Hotel and has several geocoins and special trackables.


An old Indian legend about the Superstitions.

After enjoying Lost Dutchman for a few days we drove a very short distance to Usery Regional Park where we'd stay the rest of our visit together.  Some friends of Trace's, Bert and Kat would join us.

Right off the bat as we were pulling in I saw a Rattlesnake slithering towards Lee & Trace's rig.  I let them know to watch out for it.

Our place.
Lee & Trace's rig.
Greg & Cori's bus.
Kat & Bert of The Smiles per gallon Club joined us for the rest of the week.

Our last outing before everyone parted ways was a visit to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  Click on the link to get prices and all the details.  Beautiful gardens and trails.  Dogs are welcome.

Picked Post in the background.  One of my Bucket List hikes.



It was a hot day but we all enjoyed the easy meandering trail.

This rock reminded me of some of those faces on Easter Island.

I caught this little guy on the trail.


One of my favorite pics of the day.

This unusual tree has a very short, thick trunk.  It's about 6 feet tall in the above picture.

This one is much taller and the trunk is about 2 feet wide.

The four of us stuck around to do a little nearby geocaching and found this Earthcache of Picket Post.
 Before we all went our separate ways, they all threw me a little birthday party for my 55th.  I don't like a fuss made at all, but it was very sweet of them.
This sign was made by one of the 2014er's and was modified from 50 to 55 and has been past along the states over the past couple years to celebrate other 14ers birthdays.  Pretty cool!
They even got me several geocaching trinkets.  Then we had a good laugh when my birthday candles started melting as soon as they were lit.  Thank you guys for a wonderful early birthday!


  1. Great recap! Glad you guys all managed to connect. Safe travels.

  2. Happy birthday! What a good time with friends. Can't beat it.

  3. Wow you guys have been busy since leaving CA. Always fun to hang with friends. Love Boyce Thompson.

  4. What a great time visiting with friends! So happy you all got to spend some time together! Missing you all!

    1. We had a great time. Your sign held up well! We missed you both!

  5. Thug dog? We have contacted our attorney for defamation of character!! :-) Great hanging out with you guys!!

    1. Sorry but I will need to testify on Hurleys behalf !!

    2. Well..............if the stolen toy fits....
      We had a great time!

  6. It was so great being with you guys and more importantly the puppies!!

    1. Thanks again for Hurley's treat! He totally enjoyed it! It was so, so nice to see you two again!

  7. Loved those smiles and pictures and that our traveling 14er amigos were all able to cross paths and celebrate with Deb. Happy Birthday!!!

  8. I love your prank :-) How imaginative! It's great to be able to visit with friends while on the road. Glad you were able to connect and enjoy some fun activities together :-) Do you worry that Hurley's pads could get too hot or injured walking on the trails? The train set up looks pretty cool. I think the creator must have a lot of time and patience to build such a setup. Great photos of the gardens too.

    1. I don't take Hurley out on trails that would be really tough on his feet (like lava or sharp things). Hot, most dirt/pine needles etc isn't really hot. Hasn't been a problem. It's a train club and they did a fantastic job. It's set up year round.

  9. Great to see you all together again :-) Best April Fool's ever! Love the botanical garden, gorgeous and unique plants. Great pic of your cowboy.


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