Is Dave trying to bite this ocotillo cactus? Yes indeed! He may be a little ahead of his time, since the ocotillo isn’t blooming yet, but the flowers actually are often used in salads and have a tangy taste.
We had an exciting excursion yesterday.Our friends John and Chris returned to our place after being away for a week and together we went on an adventure in the Tonto National Forest. John and Chris belong to a photography club and so they always had their eye out for interesting places to stop and take pictures on our nearly six-hour drive through the forest. Our first stop was Canyon Lake. Chris was buying jewelery from some women selling their wares and I went off on a little hike to get some photos of the interesting rock formations.
When I came back Dave and John were having a deep discussion about retirement income and whether they had saved enough to get them and their lovely wives through their twilight years.Next stop was Tortilla Flats- a kind of kitchy western town where you could pose with a gunslingerListen to country western music
Walk the boardwalk
And check out the hangman’s handiwork.We had lunch at the Superstition Saloon. Dave and John are drinking snake venom beer and trying to make their fingers look like snake fangs. Chris mentioned that their choice of drink was very appropriate since it was the start of the Chinese New Year and it is the year of the snake. Chris and I are sitting in front of some of the famous signed dollar bills in the saloon. They are five layers deep in some places and there are nearly 150,000 plastered all over the walls of the place. Apparently this is in keeping with a cowboy custom that was common before there were many banks in the Old West. When cowboys set out on a cattle drive they would leave a dollar with their name written on it fastened to the wall of a saloon. Then if they came back from the drive penniless they still had a dollar to their name saved for them on the saloon wall. The bills behind Chris and me were signed by people from all over the world.Although John, our driver was not that excited about it, we decided to continue from Tortilla Flats down the scenic Apache Trail to Apache Lake and Roosevelt Dam. It certainly was scenic but also pretty scary in spots. It was a 22 mile gravel road, one lane and we had to pull over to let other cars pass.
The road was incredibly steep and winding. When we got to the bottom of one part of the trail and looked waaaaaaaaaay up at the narrow roadway with a sheer drop on one side we couldn’t believe we had driven on it. I have to admit my heart was beating pretty fast on some sections of that road.
We stopped at the Fisher Scenic Point. Dave has his hands up to the sky here. I’m not sure if he is praying or just in awe of the magnificent scenery. I thought this agave flower stalk looked beautiful against the blue sky. The picture is bittersweet in a way though because when an agave plant sends out a stalk like this it means it is going to die. We finally reached the Roosevelt Dam after passing some unbelievable scenery along the way. The dam is named after Theodore Roosevelt who was the United States President when it was built. Our last stop was at the Tonto National Monument where you can see the cliff dwellings of the Salado people in the 1300’s. At one time hundreds of these cliff dwellings dotted the landscape. They provided protection from enemies and the elements. In the museum we watched a video about the Salado people and looked at their pottery, weavings, clothing and other artifacts.
We took the highway home and although it wasn’t as scenic as the winding trail by which we’d come, it was still beautiful. John stopped the car so we could take photos of the sun setting over the desert.
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