Well Hwy. 260 runs off Hwy. 17 and ends in Cottonwood. About 5 miles or so south of Cottonwood we found a popular boondocking spot off Thousand Trails Rd. It was a mix of “transient” RVers (like ourselves) and what appeared to be folks staying well beyond the 14-day limit on this forest service land. I’m not much of one to pass judgement, well, OK, so I do tend to be a little judgemental, well, OK, it is MORE than a tendency, but we had a couple of evenings where I thought we were audience members of the Jerry Springer show.
Before getting into our hiking, we checked out some of the more “stationary” sites in and around the Camp Verde/Cottonwood/Jerome areas. Montezuma’s Castle is an old Indian pueblo ruins site built into a cliff. The archaeologists believe it was once part of a 5 story, about 45 room pueblo that was built and anchored to the cliff face.
Montezuma’s Well is a large spring surrounded by Indian dwellings built into the cliffs. Why these sites were named after Montezuma, the Aztec Emperor, is confusing since there is no indication he ever visited or knew of these sites.
Tuzigoot National Monument is another Indian ruins site outside of Cottonwood. It is amazing that the actual decomposition process of nature can also act as a preservative judging by these ruins. As the upper levels lost out to time and caved in, the rubble built up around the base of the walls preserving them naturally.
The living ghost town of Jerome is built on a hillside near the mines that created it. It is kind of a hippy town now (did I just say “Hippy”?) but is a big tourist attraction. It is a small area, easily covered on foot.
Our first hike we chose to see the Devil’s Bridge. We took the longer of 3 versions which was just about 6 miles round trip. It was an easy trail winding through the desert foliage until we got near the bridge. There is a tiny bit of “all fours” climbing, but the view from the top was pretty spectacular. And Woody made the trek like the real mountain-climbing-dog-trooper that he is.
Hike number 2 was the Broken Arrow Trail. I use the names of these trails although many trails overlap and intermingle with each other. Sedona did a great job on their trail development, they get an A+++ for signage and maintenance. There were beautiful views all along the trail, which we shared parts and pieces with a Jeep tour company with pink Jeeps. This trail wound around to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a Catholic church built into the rocks.
Our third big hike day we took the Courthouse Butte Loop. Again, another scenic experience, and we got to see some mountain climbers scaling the face of one of the cliffs.
Well, after 6 days of boondocking, it was time to pack it in and head for hookups for a few days. Williams, AZ has a Passport America participating RV park at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. We have stayed there several times and it is always a good choice. We have already done it, but if you ever want to enjoy a day trip to the canyon we suggest taking the train. The loading station is right next to the park, the trip starts out with a wild west show, you get dropped off at the south rim to spend several hours gawking at the big hole in the ground (just kidding, it is SPECTACULAR!), then on the way back the train gets robbed by the members of the wild west show. And, if you needed any other convenience, the RV park has a doggy day-care center for Cujo.
That’s all for now, hope everyone had a Happy St. Patty’s Day!