Arizona: Ghost Towns and Vortexes

This may be the most depressing blog post I've ever written. I had a bit of a disaster with corrupt files and a back up drive that failed. The only images that exist from this day are in this post that means a whole three photos. An entire day documented and its gone. I can only say that some day I will do this drive again because it was a lot of fun. You will have to use your imagination to envision what I'm describing if you have not been to this area.

Red Rock Country near Sedona. On the Bell Rock Trail.

I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona in the middle of the night. It was late October. I had fled a snow storm on the East Coast, which was the reason for my extremely late arrival. I was staying in an Airbnb property in Fountain Hills. This was a very nice property and it introduced me to something I didn't know existed: garages big enough to fit a bus sized RV (caravan). The apartment I stayed in sat right on top of this garage. It was a really BIG garage.

I drove to Fountain Hills in the dark. I saw numerous coyote and rabbits running through suburbia. I got the impression of giant cacti but nothing concrete as to what saguaro cacti actually looked like in their natural habitat but I could tell they were out there. Lurking.

So I awoke, far later than I intended, and discovered I was in saguaro cacti heaven. There were Cactus wrens, Curved-billed thrashers, Albert's towhees, Verdins, and Gila woodpeckers all over the small wild area around the property. There were flowers and butterflies. It was hotter than hell and it was only 8 am. It would reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit. And of course, I had to explore.

My first destination was Jerome, Arizona. Why? Because there is a restaurant there called the Haunted Hamburger. Seriously, that was the only reason I chose to drive two hours to this town. But what a town it turned out to be! It's an old mining town perched precariously on the sides of a mountain. It's a really interesting place to explore, just know that you'll be driving and parking on some seriously steep slopes. And you'll be walking up steep stairs on those same slopes. It isn't called America's most vertical town for nothing. It is also claims to be America's largest ghost town. The view from just about anywhere in town is incredible.

The Haunted Hamburger turned out to be lots of fun. It is allegedly haunted. I loved slightly creepy decor and the mind bending decision to put a book case in the ceiling of the main dining room, just to keep you slightly off balance. And, of course, I took tons of photos of this place...that didn't survive. Sigh.

The next stop on my whirlwind, circular tour was Sedona, Arizona. My specific destination was Bell Rock, deep in the red rock country of Coconino National Forest. Had I gotten an earlier start I would have hiked more in this area but I decided that I only had time for one hike and that was to one of the famous Sedona area vortexes. The vortexes, allegedly, are areas of positive energy and certain balancing energies are associated with different vortexes. Bell Rock is purportedly extremely powerful. All I know is this: I felt great circumnavigating this area. And I was having extreme elbow pain that had been making photography extremely difficult for the past year. And after my hike at Bell Rock, over the course of the next day or so the pain dissipated.

I then headed south again through Tonto National Forest. I drove through towns called Strawberry and Pine on my way to Payson. And then I headed southwest back toward Fountain Hills. This is amazingly beautiful country. The red rocks and the cacti disappear and you are in amazing forest and can see across hills and rock formations in the distance. On Highway 87 I had the most amazing confluence of late afternoon light and saguaro cactus. I pulled over and took photos that were stunning. Imagine deep blue sky, purple clouds, and low golden light hitting the green of cacti and their thorns.


Hairstreak of some sort.

Queen Butterfly

Next: The Wild Horses of the Lower Salt River


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