Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More Playing in the Forest and 'S' Doesn't Stand for Spring

I never get out of my PJs on Sunday, and don't do much more than read, nap and watch TV. It is a lovely lazy day.

With weather expected for late Monday, and worse on Tuesday, we get out Monday morning while we can.

Camping World in Bellemont is just up the road - we go to pick up a new water pressure regulator, and check their availability for an oil change.

A nice size facility, and we're able to get a very convenient appointment for our travel day. Coming out of the store the wind is up again, with clouds threatening to the northwest.

Although the skies are somewhat intimidating, there is no precipitation on the radar so we take A-1 Mountain Road (the best I'm sure) off the freeway in search of more forest roads.

We pass several large homes in a new-looking gated community, and then the pavement ends. Yay - more back roads to explore!

There are numerous boondocking locations here - we're again in the Coconino National Forest. Investigating one of the spots, we come upon a small herd of prong horns. They don't stick around for many photos. Not quite as well camouflaged as the mule deer, they still blend in with the gold grass.

Already on the move

Still see you.....sort of
The roads get rougher as we move deeper into the forest, and closer to Mt Humphreys. There is no sign of any other people here, and we keep our eyes open for more wildlife. 

Mt Humphreys our constant companion
Bill sees a small lake on Imaps, and we do find it. But it's a dirt tank for animals - dry today and really, really small. We're amazed it shows up on the map!
While on that little side trail we find a small bank of snow. Tessa uses it to make red dirt tracks :-)

The white zone is for loading and unloading of passengers only......
Tracks of the Tessa
That stuff's cold - I'm outta here!
It is beautiful back here. Both old growth and new saplings, this forest is healthy. Standing under these beauties, we hear the wind rushing through the tree tops, dropping lower, then kicking up a bit of dust as it touches down for just a second before moving on. A few minutes later, we hear more coming from the distance. Powerful, mesmerizing, but too cold to enjoy for long.

Magical place
The campsites show some signs of recent use, but are clean with little impact. We appreciate this.

Clean fire ring at one of many primitive campsites
Large, lichen-covered boulders add variety to the forest 
In one area is a large number of downed timber. They are all small trees, and it looks more like a huge wind knocked them down several years ago, than anything humans have done.

We find more patches of snow, including a small area we have to drive over. What we don't find is access to the road that would make this a loop, so we return the way we came. Sadly we don't see any other wildlife, and the prong horns have moved on. There are several birds, but they are all moving so fast we can't really see what they look like.

An old rock wall in the trees
Lowell Observatory, also in the trees, on our way back
Back home, the wind increases and we hunker down for the evening. 

The rain comes during the night, heavy at times. And in the morning it is snowing! It's sticking and within an hour we have a pretty good coating all around us. 

By 10 AM it's melting and there is intermittent sunshine. The wind is still up, moving the clouds quickly past the tall, waving pines around us. 

Doesn't feel much like Spring.


  1. Isn't it so much fun finding these hidden drives with no one around:) Glad you did find the pronghorn. Sweet:)

    That white stuff sure makes one shiver. No wonder Tessa ran away:) Smart girl! Thanks goodness it was only rain here. We are finally seeing some blue sky this afternoon with a little wind.

    Hope that windshield gets repaired soon!

    1. Looks like we're getting a new windshield and seal when we get to Laughlin in a couple weeks - works for us. And this one didn't leak from last night's rain so that was a plus :-) It never got over 40 today

  2. Nice pronghorn capture!

    Mother Nature doesn't seem to follow human calendars! The sow sure is pretty...but BRRRRRR!

    1. they were sneaky! Snow melted, but it was still really cold all day!!

  3. Awesome pronghorn sighting. I can hardly wait to return to the pines. When the wind blows it sounds like ocean waves. However, I don't look forward to the possibility of cold and more snow.

    1. Yes, it does sound like the ocean! Looks like this stuff is hanging around a couple days, we may postpone moving west for 24 hours.

  4. Really lovely description of a perfect day...well other than the snow. We've managed to never have Winnona or Ruby in any snow....so far. Don't you wonder where the rock wall came from and what it was for? It's always intriguing to me to find a rock wall in the forest. Really sounds like a lovely solitary day. Glad to hear the camping spots were lightly used.

    1. We did speculate on the rock wall - it was the only one we found too. We've now had snow (little bits like this) on us four times - it snowed again this morning! Fortunately it has melted off quickly, and it is pretty for a short time :-) The forest here is wonderful.

  5. So wonderful that you saw pronghorn! You guys are getting quite the weather in Flagstaff. I have to remember that it's only the end of March -- spending the winter in Florida makes me forget about the "white stuff." I do love the sound of the wind in the pines. We even have those here in Florida. :-)

    1. Pines in FL seems weirder than snow in March :-) There was more this morning and again tonight - supposed to be sunny tomorrow!

  6. Do you put in your slides when it is so windy? Just a newbie question, but it could be important one day... Just a touch of snow is good for a change. I wouldn't want to spend a winter in it though, I'm a wimpy Cali girl after all!

    1. We didn't have to pull them in for Flagstaff, partly because the gusts weren't bad and partly because of the angle we were parked at. We pull them in to avoid the slide toppers being ripped off, rather than to reduce rocking. I would be tempted to go "topper-less" because they are so loud and annoying in the winds, but then I remember parking under trees dropping their leaves and know that we'd rather have them to keep crud off our slides. The snow really is beautiful in moderation!