Archive for the ‘Outdoor Adventure’ Category
I think that Northern Arizona has some of the coolest place names ever! Mint Creek. Feather Mountain. Hootenanny Holler. Mary’s Mesa.
But, after the crazy-busy tax season it’s been, I needed a break! I think Ben, Pete-The-Dog and I all desperately needed to get out into nature, enjoy the signs of upcoming spring, and get some air that hadn’t been locked up in an office!
It was a quick jaunt north on Feather Mountain Road and then up a MONSTER mesa. At the top, along the ridge, were the ruins.
After examining them, I’m really not sure that they were Indian ruins. Rumor has it that the Spaniards, had horses and a fort in this area. For some reason, the walls just didn’t feel old enough for Native American.
Regardless, Ben, Pete The Dog, and I had a great little hike and a much needed break!
If you’ve been following The Outdoor Princess blogs these past weeks then you know that ESP Boss & I had been planning a trip to kayaking the Colorado River from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach. It’s a total trip of about 13 miles, goes past 3 hot springs, 2 sets of rapids, and is the perfect place to see Rocky Mountain Sheep.
We started our trip early on Sunday October 18. In order to kayak this section of the river, you HAVE to be launched by an outfitter and have the proper permits. That’s because of security measures since we’re so close to the dam.
We launched about 9:00 in the morning. There was water being released from the dam and the outfitter warned us that the river could rise as much as TEN FEET in as little as an hour. Boy was I glad to know that ESP Boss had brought some rope so we could tie up the kayaks! I hadn’t even THOUGHT of bringing rope to tie up the yaks; I just figured we’d be able to pull them out of the water like we do at a lake.
Our first stop was a sauna cave. This was a man-made tunnel that goes back into the canyon wall. There’s a hot spring the bubbles up about 3/4 of the way back that heats the cave to a “balmy” 140.
Next stop was Gold Strike Canyon. Here’s we got out to hike up the canyon to the hot springs AND to lay down some footage of our adventure. It’s currently in post-production but will be finished soon so I can show you more of the trip.
By the time we got back into the kayaks, the rapids just outside the mouth of Gold Strike Canyon were running. More water was being released from the dam so the river flow was higher (a LOT higher) and the rapids were very noisy.
Neither ESP Boss or I had really ever kayaked rapids before. What an adrenaline rush! Thankfully, we made it through the rapids without any problems; dry and upright!
From the first set of rapids, we headed to Boy Scout Canyon for more hot springs. But, since it was starting to get really cloudy (the whole day was overcast) and we could hear thunder moving closer, we hurried on towards our pre-planned camping spot near Arizona Hot Springs.
The only problem? Arizona Hot Springs is just on the other side of Ringbolt Rapids. These rapids made the first set (never did find out their name!) seem like NOTHING. And, we could see a TON of people camping there. So we skirted the rapids and camped at one beach upriver from Arizona Hot Springs.
Want to hear about our camp? Check out the article on PitchYourTent.com called Camp Setup Order of Priorities.
The next morning, we hiked over a couple of ridges to Arizona Hot Springs. You’re going to have to see this on film to believe it. Fantastic!
But, a word of caution about the hot springs. Most people wear clothes or bathing suits, but we did encounter a couple of people who were, how should I put it? Naked! Yep, apparently it’s not all that uncommon to run into people enjoying hot springs in their birthday suits. You’ve been warned!
After our dip in the hot springs, we headed back to camp to break camp and head down the river. We got to Willow Beach about 4:00 in the afternoon.
Now, you might be asking how we had heard about this trip. We found it in the book, Paddling Arizona by Tyler Williams. (That’s an Amazon.com affiliate link.) The only thing is that the information about this trip was kind of light. So, we’re working on a new eGuide that will cover EVERYTHING you need to know about this trip, including stuff to watch for (side canyons, hot springs, and the catwalk), GPS coordinates, photos and more.
The Queen Mother called me this morning, early, and asked if I would like to go geocaching for the day. Hello! Like I ever need to be asked twice for an Outdoor Adventure. It was decided that we’d head to Sedona from Chino Valley, along the Interstate instead of over Jerome, caching along the way.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my family isn’t really the biggest on doing a bunch of Park-and-Grab geocaches along a route. Oh, sure, we PLAN it, but we usually find something interesting along the way and get sidetracked. So, this was a new record for us: 10 finds in one day and 2 more that we attempted with no luck.
We started out along highway 169 going after a series of jeananjoe caches. jeananjoe are some local Prescott cachers that hide some NASTY micros and some very kind not-micros.
In one of the first caches of the day I found this AMAZING ring that just screamed my name:
It was also at this cache that we finally met a police officer while out caching. I’ve heard that 99.9% of law enforcement are totally cool when you explain what you were doing. This gentleman didn’t even seem to care WHAT we were doing poking around in the bushes as long as we hadn’t heard any gun shots. Apparently, he had been called out by a report from the locals about gun shots.
I was just glad that it wasn’t a report of suspicious characters poking around in the bushes!
The next cache of the day netted another wicked-cool ring, this time in yellow. You can see The Outdoor Princess & family “striking a pose” near the cache site. Another jeananjoe but not too hard a find.
Although, this being yet ANOTHER nut jar from jeananjoe, I did have to wonder just how many nuts they consume in a year!
I took this photo as an illustration of the term: UPR – Unnatural Pile of Rocks. Refers to common practice of stack rocks on top of the cache to hide its location. The resulting pile often stands out to natural formations. You can find out all about terms at the post: Log Abbreviations: Decoded!
This was the hiding place for a “theme cache”. This is the type where all trades are asked to have a common theme. In this case, trading pez dispensers. I was excited to see that there were 3 in the cache. Of course, I didn’t have time to actually hunt any of my old pez dispensers down so I couldn’t trade for one. I know I have one (or 5) in a box in my garage somewhere, but I just didn’t know WHERE. I’ll have to remember this cache and come back to trade one someday.
Unfortunately, a lot of these caches required the crossing of cattle guards. On foot. Neither The Queen Mother nor myself really likes crossing these things. I think it has something to do with my wonky depth perception alá my astigmatism. Still, The Queen Mother and The Outdoor Princess bravely crossed them. My dad, on the other hand, just trotted happily across. None of the hang-on, pigeon walking of us ladies!
Here’s a closeup of feet. Firmly planted on the slat, if at all possible, walk across on the concrete!
Now, my father, aka ESP Boss, really is NOT a fan of micros. Maybe that’s because the very first one we went after was another jeananjoe cache and we spent nearly an HOUR searching a “zebra” looking for it. To no avail. So, I did convince him to look for one.
I KNEW it had to be in the end of the guardrail. And it was a painted Altoids tin so it wasn’t TOO tiny. Thankfully, my mom, aka, The Queen Mother, found it easily.
This container was actually large enough for a few trade items so I left a pair of EatStayPlay geotokens and then signed the log.
From there, it was onto a series of not really hard to find, but great camo. Even though they were kinda out in the open, so to speak, we still had to hunt for them.
This last cache impressed me just because someone had taken the time to paint the tin the same colors as the dirt. Even though this LOOKS obvious from the photo, it was really well hid under a bush.
And, our favorite hide of the day was a travel bug hotel with a difficulty rating of 3. Even though we didn’t have any bugs to trade, I really wanted to find it since it was a FULL SIZE ammo can. I mean, who can hide something that big? (As usual, I am not going to post the GC code so as not to spoil anything. Just the photos!)
Now, that doesn’t look like anything, right? Just a root sticking up? Well, scroll down!
The only thing about this cache was that the sticky-up root just invited a kick. I don’t know how long it’ll last with people kicking it all the time!
Holy cow! We didn’t have to dig for it, just lift a lid.
From here, we just had a few more we wanted to find, racing the coming darkness. And, since it WAS New Years Eve, we wanted to get home before the crazies came out!
We got close enough to SEE the red rocks of Sedona, but didn’t actually make it to town.
Since you can see from the FIRST family photo, we’ve started piling on the layers. Next time I go caching, I need a princess tee from CafePress!