Bullards Beach State Park, Oregon

I was asked to write my thoughts about my first impression of the Oregon Coast. Well, guess what? For the first time, in a long time, I actually don’t know what to say. I don’t think I even know words that can begin to describe the beauty Bill and I are sitting in the middle of here at Bullards Beach State Park. After a year of waiting, planning, and anticipating this Oregon adventure, we are finally here. And, all I can say, is that I am overwhelmed by the absolute beauty everywhere I look.

From the moment I looked up and saw a glimpse of the Oregon coastline as we were making our way to Bullards Beach State Park, all I could do was cry. I know some folks find it hard to believe, that at 65 yrs of age, I have never traveled across country, until Bill and I retired and started our full-time RV life, but it’s true, and I have never seen anything like Oregon. I just can’t wait to get out on some day trips, and explore all that Oregon has to offer, because I’ve been told “you ain’t seen nothing yet”… But, for now, I will share some pictures of what we are enjoying within the Park we are calling home for the next two months.

Welcome to Bullards Beach State Park, Oregon.

This is our campsite where we are all set up to sit a spell with coffee in the mornings, happy hours in the afternoons, and a campfire in the evenings…

Of course, this is the awesome lighthouse where we work two days a week.  LOVE it!

And look closely in the middle of the next picture and you will see two deer romping around.

This park even has a horse camp area, complete with corrals, where you can have your own horses right in your campsite (Laurie Archbold). Now who wouldn’t love having a horse to ride on the beach…? This girl would… 🙂

There are several trails within the park that lead directly to the ocean/beach…  Bill and I followed this trail that lead us to …

these awesome sights!

I guess I’m rocking the windblown look right?

Bill is mesmerized by the ocean waves..

Like I said, I don’t know what to say, because everywhere I look, everything I see is beautiful.

Bill and I are so thankful, and grateful, for this opportunity to be here. Everyday is a new blessing for us, and we are like two kids at Christmas just running from one thing to another as we take it all in.

Tomorrow we will go to Mass, at a small Catholic Church we found in Bandon, and you know Bill and I will be giving thanks, because we take absolutely nothing for granted..

Stay Tuned!

 

 

The High End Of Bell Trail

About a week ago, Bill and I hiked the Historic Bell Trail in the Coconino National Forest. The day we did that hike, we were not fully prepared to stay out long enough to hike all the way up the mountainous cliffs that take you to what is called “the crack”.  The reason we were not fully prepared that day, was because we did not have enough water to make the 10 mile round trip hike. Now we are prepared to take on any hike we want. Because, we purchased these handy-dandy back-packs, that include a 2 litter water reservoir. The water reservoir has a hose attached that allows you to bite and suck a little tip on the end of the hose so you can drink all the water you want while your hiking. It allows you to hike hands free, making the hike much more enjoyable. And, the backpack is large enough to allow you to include your lunch, and any gear you need… Way cool!

So yesterday off we went, on a 10 mile round trip hike up the bell trail, in search of the bell crack, that Bill really wanted to see.

 

This was a very difficult hike. Because, the majority of the hike involved climbing up, over, and around some very steep and rocky cliff trails.

I mean to say, I had to really dig deep, and suck up all my courage to do this hike. Not only because of the difficulty factor, but I am also very much afraid of heights.  OMG, the things I do for Bill… YIKES!

The payoff, other than being able to say we did it…, was the beautiful up close views of the gorgeous red rock mountains.

We stopped about two hours into our hike, found a nice rock to sit on, and enjoyed our picnic lunch and all the water we could drink… Then we hiked on to see the bell crack which, by the way…,  after all it took to get there, I didn’t even get a picture of it! But that’s a whole other story that’s probably better told while sipping wine around a campfire… 🙂

Finally, after two and a half hours of hiking, climbing up and over rocks, boulders, and just about anything else you can think of along the beautiful, but rugged trail…, it was time to make our way back down the mountain and back to our car. I was hurting all over, and told Bill I felt like my toes were bleeding. He said “I’m not feeling too good myself, but I can tell this isn’t going to be about me right now”. I laughed, but I was thinking to myself, that’s right baby, you’re the one that wanted to see the bell crack… Ha!

Well let me tell you, as much as I love to hike, I was one happy girl after four plus hours of hiking, to have my feet firmly planted back on solid, level, ground!!

Today, both Bill and I are sore to say the least, but Bill is even more sore than me, because about an hour before we reached our car, he slipped in some gravel and fell flat down landing on his hip that was already sore from a previous fall when he tripped over our car dolly!  So after that happened, I told him it could be all about him now… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Historic Bell Trail

Today Bill and I took a two-hour hike through part of the Historic Bell Trail.

The Bell Trail makes for a beautiful hike. It reminds me of some of the trails in Sedona with all the red rocks. Sedona is not far from here, and is very near and dear to my heart, because Bill proposed to me standing right outside the Chapel in the Rocks, early one morning, as the sun was just coming over the red rock mountains.

Around every bend in the Bell Trail the scenery changes,

and there is something new and different to see. Bill found this rock with the images carved on it very interesting. We were not sure if someone hiking in the area did the art work, or if it might be some hieroglyphics.

The cactuses are blooming all over this area. I just love these big yellow cactus blooms.

We didn’t hike the whole 6 mile trail because we were not really prepared with enough water to stay out that long. So after about an hour and half of hiking, we turned back.

On our way back to our car, I found this nice rock to sit on and relax for a few minutes. That’s when we decided to get playful, and use this as the background for a photo opportunity that went a little wayward…

Shantel, papa was taking pictures of me sitting on a red rock, and I was turning my head from side to side, and he started coaching me like I was a model. I finally started laughing and just kind of laid back on the rock and he snapped a picture of that too. It’s not my best look, but we had a lot of fun, and I guess some pictures are better left unexplained. Ha!

Stay Tuned!

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Today Bill and I visited Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This is a beautiful park nestled in the cool climate of the town of Cottonwood. Dead Horse Ranch offers numerous outdoor opportunities for camping, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing or just wading in the cool water.

The information sheet we received when we entered the park says “Dead Horse Ranch got its peculiar name in the late 1940’s from its previous owners, the Ireys family from Minnesota. They were looking to buy a ranch and on their tour they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road outside of the property. After two days of viewing ranches, Mr. Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best, and they all agreed the one with the dead horse! Acquired in 1973 by Arizona State Parks, the Ireys family made it a condition of the sale that the park retain the name Dead Horse Ranch.”

Bill and I decided we would hike the self-guided interpretative trail. We thought it was going to be like the interpretative trail we have at McDowell Mountain Park, where we give our guests an information sheet that explains everything they are seeing on the trail, i.e., plants, mountain ranges, wildlife, etc. But, no, this park didn’t even have a map that made it easy to find the trailhead, and there was nothing to explain what we were looking at on the trail. So, Bill and I had to make up our own version of what we were seeing as we hiked along..

This little tiny sign that was almost hidden in the bush was the only thing that gave any indication we were even on the right trail.. The only way we knew that was because I remembered reading that the self-guided interpretative trail was called the Mesa Trail.

Lucky for us we know what a blooming cactus looks like, and this one had lots of pretty blooms.

Then there was this pretty flowering bush that I have no idea what it is, and some pretty yellow flowers that I don’t know the names of either… so there is that…

This was growing out of a large cactus, and I told Bill I thought it is called a century plant, but to be honest, I’m just guessing. See, it’s important that parks provide informative information for their guests, because inquiring minds, like mine… want to know.

Here are some more pretty blooming cactus with yellow flowers this time.

The trail lead us up a hill, and when we reached the top, there were very pretty views all the way around, so that was nice.

After that hike, we made our way down to see the lagoons within the park. As we pulled into the parking lot of that area, we saw this covered wagon hitched to these two big horses. Then we found out that is where you go if you want to take a trail ride. They rent horses by the hour for guided horseback tours around the park. Now that’s cool that they provide that service.

The lagoon area was my personal favorite. So beautiful, peaceful, and quiet, with only the sound of birds chirping and an occasional fish jumping up out of the water. Take a look.

And today, we found the perfect spot for our picnic lunch.

I didn’t have cold fried chicken for our picnic, but I did have cold baked pork chops from dinner last night. Add a touch of B-B-Q sauce, some chips, olives, and cheese, and it was a tasty picnic lunch that both Bill and I enjoyed.

After lunch, we made our way down to the Verde River Greenway Trail. This trail takes you right along the bank of the water. So pretty with the trees creating a canopy of shade over the trails.

Bill stopped to see if he could locate the frog he saw jump into the water just as we passed by.

While we were disappointed with the lack of information, about the different trails the park offers for their guests, we were very impressed with the overall beauty of this park. They have 100 RV/camp sites, and eight one-room log cabins. The cabins sleep up to four people with a maximum capacity of six people available for reservations.

It is such a pretty park with so much to offer in the way of activities, Bill and I decided if we ever decide to work/camp in Arizona for a few months during the summer, we would definitely consider this park.

Stay Tuned!

Day Tripping

Bill and I went daytripping to Strawberry, Pine, and Payson today. What a beautiful day to visit these areas, take a great hike, have a picnic lunch, and just enjoy the great outdoors.

First stop, Strawberry, where we visited this adorable School House which is “A State Historic Site” Take a look.

We were not able to go inside because it is by appointment only, but we did look in the windows, and it is really adorable. I tried to get a picture through the windows, but they didn’t turn out, so you just have to take my word of how cute it really is.

They even have a little outhouse.

Next stop was Tonto Natural Bridge. We stopped in the gift shop, located in the Tonto Natural Bridge Lodge, that was built-in 1927, to purchase our day pass for visiting this State Park.

Then we made our way down the paved trail that led us to the trails that would take us to the Natural Bridge.

Such a beautiful place for a hike.

When we arrived at the place where the trail to the Natural Bridge really begins…, we saw this sign which gave us pause. Because as you can see, it says the trail is steep and includes loose slippery surfaces, and abrupt vertical steps… It then goes on to say this hike is not recommended for persons with hip problems which I have…, and that the area contains numerous natural hazards. But oh, wait…, it goes on to say enjoy it with caution… Well now that they scared the hell out of me, I’m all set to go!

We followed the steep, treacherous, trail, down,

down,

down… It was very steep, but also provided great views into the canyon that you will fall into if you lose your footing, remembering that sign warning… We didn’t make it all the way to the bottom, but we gave it our best effort…

But oh, my, from the point we were able to hike to, what a beautiful reward for your efforts.

One reason I didn’t challenge myself to going all the way to the bottom is because, like I told Bill, I am to the point in my life, where I don’t feel the need to prove anything anymore… I just want to have fun, and do what I like to do. That, and I always remember… if you hike down… you have to hike back up… Just saying. 🙂

This girl was very happy with the hike we did, and I made it back up out of there without having to call for rescue… Your welcome, that you did NOT have to witness that on the evening news. Ha!

Just before we started out on our hike, I saw a sign that said something to the effect of if you see Javelina , stay away from them… I thought to myself, yeah, right, I lived in the desert at McDowell Mountain Park all winter, and I never saw a Javelina

Well, butter my butt, and call me a biscuit…, but as we were leaving the parking lot of the Tonto Natural Bridge…, look what we saw.. JAVELINA!!

Shantel, seeing these reminded me of the time we had a javelina munching on our hedge in front of our house in Awhatukee, and I yelled, Shantel, come quick, and see this javelina eating our hedge, and you said “I wish I could mom…” Opps!  I’m so used to Shantel being blind, I sometimes forget she can’t see, and she has such a great sense of humor about it, it makes it OK that I forget…

Great day spent with my husband, who is also my very best friend.

Stay Tuned!

 

Archery Lesson

I haven’t posted anything in a month because I have been real busy working on other current events that are very important to me and my family…

But today, I took time out to participate in something I’ve always found interesting… Archery, using a compound bow.

I wanted to document my lesson for our daughter, Shantel, and any of my family/friends that care to know.

Our Ranger, Amy, here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, offered an introduction to archery to any of the park host, or park staff, that cared to participate…Well I was all over that offer!

This class was held just beyond the North Trail, and turned out to be the perfect space to get an idea of what archery, with a compound bow, is all about.

Amy is the perfect person to introduce newbies to this sport because she is so calm, has the patience of a saint, making the whole experience not only a learning experience, but also FUN!!!

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Straight away Amy explained the 11 steps to archery success as outlined on the whiteboard below.

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Once we understood the steps to success of archery, Amy went on to explain what the whistle commands are when participating in archery lessons…

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Things like two whistle blows mean “get bow”, three whistle blows mean “go get arrows”… five whistle blows mean something is wrong, stop everything and get behind the starting line…

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We also learned that you NEVER, EVER, “dry shoot” and that means you never, ever, pull the bow-string on a compound bow and release without an arrow…because that can really mess up the pulleys on a compound bow.

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A member of our maintenance staff, John, pictured below, agreed to demonstrate the proper, stance, draw,

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We learned there is also a proper way to remove your arrows from the target. You start at the top, putting one hand around the top arrow and the other hand under the arrow (both hands touching) and pull the arrow out, placing it on the ground, while you go on to collect your other arrows one at a time… Once all your arrows are removed from the target, and on the ground, you collect them all together, tap the tips on the top of the target, and walk back to the starting line with one hand covering the tips of your arrows…

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Finally, it was my time to actually shoot the compound bow… I was so excited as I selected my bow from the rack

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Once you have your bow out of the rack, you hold it upright with one end resting on your toe to keep it out of the dirt…

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When it is your turn to put your arrow in the bow… you learn very quickly that there is a right and wrong way  to do that as well. But again, Amy is so good at explaining everything, and making you feel so comfortable…you just relax, and follow her instructions…

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And the next thing you know you are taking aim,

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And hitting your target… One of my arrows landed in the white section of the target, one in the black section, two in the red and one landed at the very top of the yellow section… OMG.. What FUN!!!

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Then it was time for more practice for me, as my fellow host, Julie, (shown in the picture below this one in the pink), took her turn….

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Julie, and all the other participants, did great too. And the main thing was that we all had fun which is what this was all about…

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Big THANK-YOU to our McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Ranger Amy, for taking this time out of her busy day/week to share her knowledge of this fun sport, Archery!

Still Lovin this retirement life, and looking forward to many more years of happy, carefree, retirement travel.

Stay Tuned!

Conquering Lousley Hill Trail

I’ve been feeling under the weather for the past week and a half. That, and because of all the rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, kept me from getting out and hiking the trails here at the park for way too long.

Today is the first day that I’m finally starting to feel alive again, so of course, I was anxious to hit the trails and soak up some of the very welcomed sunshine we are experiencing once again.

Bill and I want to experience all the trails within the parks while we are here. Today we decided we would hike Lousley “Hill” Trail for the first time. It reads like an easy hike. In fact when I googled Lousley Hill Trail, the little blurb describing the hike read “nice easy stroll.” I was a little surprised then to see that the park trail map described the 1.2 mile hike as “Moderate.” I wasn’t too concerned because Bill and I are experienced hikers (we hike every week on our day’s off), so off we went…  The sign at the trailhead didn’t say anything about the hike, and the hill behind the sign is what I thought was Lousley Hill…

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The hike started out nice and easy and fairly flat so I was beginning to think this was going to be a “nice easy stroll.”

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The trail lead us through a wash where evidence of the recent rains can be seen in the deep ridges cut into the sand.

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Part of the trail is flat and lined with rocks making it look like a lovely stroll. Right? Very deceiving as to what lies ahead..

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Once you reach the end of the rock-lined trail you immediately begin the long, steep, climb up the “hill.”

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And you climb, and you climb, and you climb way up high….

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Until you reach a summit with a railing to keep you from falling right of the edge…

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Thankfully, at this high point of the hike, you come upon a bench where you can catch your breath, and take a much-needed rest…

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As a reward for making the steep journey you can add a rock to the rock pile started by other hikers that have gone before you.  Had we not climbed this “hill” we would never have known this rock pile was even there.

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Then, as “they” say, “what goes up, must come down… so we began the long, steep, journey down the other side of the “hill.” It was at this point that I told Bill I wish he would have brought his hiking stick with him like I did because some areas of the decent were very steep and rocky. Bill said “yes, I wish I had my hiking stick too but right now I think I’d rather have a parachute.”

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As we continued to make our way down the “hill”, I told Bill I was glad that this hike was only 1.2 miles long because my legs were shaking and I really didn’t think I could have done another steep mile today. Bill laughed and said “yeah, if this hike was any longer we would be sucking hind tit by the time we get back.” OMG, I laughed so hard I had to stop in place so I wouldn’t lose my footing and roll off the “hill”.

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We finally reached the sandy wash that was the sure sign we were back on flat ground again and near the car.  Bill said it was our welcomed sandy beach without water.

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Normally this hike would not have been so difficult for Bill or I. We usually take much longer hikes. I think part of it for me was that it was a bit much for day one after being sick. That, and the fact that because of all the recent rains, neither Bill or I have been hiking at all, and this was a very steep “hill.” Today, for me, this “hill” felt like McDowell Mountain Regional Park’s answer to San Tan Mountain Regional Park’s Goldmine Mountain Hike.

Now that we are back on track… who knows what “hills” we will conquer next!

Stay Tuned!

 

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