Parker Creek

Having lived in AZ all of my adult life, we have traveled many of the places and roads that AZ has to offer. We have enjoyed exploring the off roads and the gorgeous scenery throughout our amazing state.

It’s always a treat when we find a new special place and scenic view.

Parker Creek was such a place. It had stunning views of Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks. It was truly breath taking.

The only thing we missed were some great clouds and wonderful sunsets. We’ll have to go back.

Oregon Coast

We just got back from the Oregon Coast, a trip we have made now multiple times in the last few years.

There is something special about the scenery and the seafood. We took the opportunity to get a much needed respite for some relaxing views, and amazing seafood.

We saw deer, elk, turkey, and even sheep along the way, along with rock spires, docks, and ocean views. This time of year, the weather was windy and cool with occasion rain…. a bit chilly. But we got some nice walks in and visited some great seafood spots for some amazing fresh seafood.

We camped in mostly state parks which offered some terrific walking trails filled with wonderful vistas and colorful plants. We were especially enamored with the western skunk cabbage which we coined the more affectionate name, ‘sea lilies’, with great bright yellow lily looking flowers, amidst large green leaves.

We enjoyed fresh oysters and clams, cooked and raw; fresh fish (ling cod, rock fish, and petrole sole); and fantastic Dungeness crab. The 2021 dungeness crab season isn’t the best, but we did manage to get a few tastes in of some terrific crab, as we picked up fresh fish at the docks and markets, caught that day, and enjoyed that night in our camper every day.

The drive home was a sad one as we enjoyed the redwoods of Northern CA, and headed back home, ending our sabbatical too soon. I’m ready to do it again already.

See more photos here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/04/21/oregon/

Board & Brush, Prescott

I’ve said it many times before, do what you love and enjoy every day.

With all this isolation and stress in our lives, it’s more important than ever to do things for yourself and what you enjoy.

While John and I do a lot of our own projects, we rarely solicit or participate in DIY kits or workshops. Drastic times, call for drastic actions – it was time for a get away, and a little fun! So we opted to do “Board & Brush” in Prescott.

You’ve likely heard of those Paint & Sip kinds of workshops where you pick a project and the host / proprietor teaches you how to create your masterpiece. Board & Brush is the same sort of workshop, but with signs – sayings on distressed wood.

We were surprised when we got there that the boards were a very blond pine wood. Bailie, the proprietor, showed us how to sand, distress and wash the wood to make it look like old barn wood.

Bailie, at the Prescott Board & Brush was fantastic. I would go back and do another one, just to solicit her business. She was kind, patient, and informative. She gave us all the tools and knowledge to allow us to make decisions that resulted in the perfect end result.

We pre-choose our saying online, and the stencils were ready and waiting for us to embark on our project.

Then we picked our background and lettering colors and after preparing the boards, we were on our way to creating our individual projects.

It was great fun and we got to take home a terrific project that is our own. Of course, in true Ritter style, we had to further customize it, so I wood burned our logo onto a plate to make my saying truly our own.

I strongly recommend the outing to Prescott Board & Brush. It was a great respite and super fun afternoon.

Nelson, Nevada

We were ready for a diversion, so we headed out of town to a place on our ‘want to go’ list. We had been told that we could go to Nelson, Nevada at the end of the road, with a great view overlooking the Colorado River and see big horn sheep coming down for water.

We didn’t see any big horn sheep, but we saw lots of iconic old cars and old buildings, relics of a time gone by.

Instead we found this cute little, eclectic ghost town between Searchlight and Boulder City, NV. Back in its heyday, in the late 1800’s Nelson and the El Dorado Mining Camp was the largest city in NV (prior to Las Vegas casino’s). Gold mining was active in the mines here from 1858 through 1945.

We were thrilled to be able to take a mine tour and actually go inside the mine.

The El Dorado Mine has been featured in several notable movies, probably most popular Kurt Russell & Kevin Costner’s 2001 movie, ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’.

These days it’s main attraction is tourists who come by the hoards to wander through the scattered relics, and tour the mine for $15 per head.

We enjoyed our visit and the opportunity for a change in scenario that beckoned a different time.

Animal Sightings

It’s been a good week for animal sightings.

Antelope forages for food outside Chino Valley.

We not only saw antelope grazing in a field, but we also saw turkey running in the snow.

Turkey struts through the snow.

We even saw a herd of little horn sheep. I guess it does pay to get out.

You can see more big horn sheep photos here.. https://kritterspix.com/2021/02/18/little-horn-sheep/

Snow Foraging

Elk forages through the snow with bull elk behind.
Buck prowls through the deep snow.

I never realized the trouble our animals had trudging through thick snow. With the threat of predators, swift winds, and deep snow, animals hunker down during large snow falls.

I can only imagine them running in heavy snow, with unknown ground coverage, rocks, and trees beneath their feet.

It made me happy for what we have, and not have to fend for ourselves or our food. It can be a harsh world out there, so take the time to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

See my other posts, here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/29/a-world-of-friends/ and here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/.

Best of 2020 – Landscape

It almost seems like an oxymoron using the word ‘Best’ with ‘2020’.

We have had more trips cancelled this year than we went on. We tried to go to Grand Canyon-North Rim on three separate occasions, and had every trip cancelled for one reason or another, including closures due to Covid, and forest fires.

I contend that the pandemic was different things for different people – some worse affected than others. For us, we tried to take our isolation on the road in our camper as much as possible to keep our sanity through this year’s events. So, without further ado.. here are my top picks for 2020, in no particular order:

(1) Mogollon Rim

(2) Mogollon Rim

Both these photos come from a trip to Mogollon Rim along Milk Ranch Road, which we found to be very crowded with campers this year.

(3) Carnero Lake

Despite the fact that we fought serious camera and lens issues throughout the year, we were able to enjoy (and capture) some beautiful sunrises at Canero Lake. I wish my osprey photos had come out as well.

(4) Carnero Lake

(5) Aztec Peak

As many times as we have been to Workman Creek outside of Young, we had never been (or even heard of) Aztec Peak. There is a gate that prevents you from driving up the road past the creek every time we have been there. We attempted to go to the area for photos several times, but were always deterred due to road closures. Persistence paid off and the third time was the charm when we found the gate open, and were able to enjoy the overlook from the peak, the highest point in Sierra Anchas Wilderness.

(6) Alstrom Point

We had put off our trip to Alstrom Point, not due to road closures or fire, but lack of clouds. The forecast called for weather though, so we packed up and headed out to this amazing overlook over Lake Powell. Unfortunately, there were no clouds, but still made for a wonderful outing.

(7) Flagstaff, San Francisco Peaks

Back behind Flagstaff, is an area called Government Prairie. Dirt roads wind around through scrubby brush and open fields. If you keep driving, the pine trees become more prevalent, and this wonderful view of San Francisco Peaks reveals itself.

(8) Sheeps Crossing

Sheeps Crossing was originally built in 1926 to allow sheep herder’s to herd their sheep across the Verde River, reducing the numbers lost in the swift currents. On the National Register of Historic Places, it has been re-built due to years of use.

(9) Fossil Creek

Just outside of Camp Verde along the Verde River is a stunning gushing stream, Fossil Creek. While it is harder to get there now that they closed access via Strawberry, and made it a fee area, it remains a gorgeous, if not sadly overgrown area.

(10) Greens Peak

Outside of Show Low is a popular area called Greens Peak that we frequent every year. It tends to get a lot of weather (snow and rain) that make it flourish with greenery and animals.

(11) Hart Prairie / Kendrick Peak

We had gone to check out Lockett Meadow, a stunning place for aspen color, but there was a line waiting to get into it due to overcrowding. So instead we found a new area we hadn’t yet explored, Hart Prairie, just outside of Flagstaff.

(12) Mogollon Rim, FR 95 bridge

We’ve gotten very little snow this year, so when we heard it was supposed to snow on the rim, we immediately headed out. We enjoyed a beautiful winter wonderland for a short period.

That wraps up my 2020 Best Of. Let’s hope 2021 abounds with happiness, laughter, great views and interesting places, storm clouds, and stormy weather.

Check out my Best of Animals, 2020 here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/12/best-of-2020-animals/

Blizzard

Snow falls on road along Mogollon Rim.

Ok. That may be pushing it a bit. But we got 2″ in an hour along the Mogollon Rim. It was a virtual blizzard for a short time.

Which was a big surprise to us considering we just got back from 3 nights camping at Alstrom Point waiting for a single cloud! (See post here.. https://kritterspix.com/2020/12/12/alstrom-point/)

It was quite the winter wonderland, and made for a great way to kick off the holiday season. We loved it!

Fall Colors

If I were pressed, I would have to say, Fall is my favorite season. While Spring brings flowers, and winter snow… Fall intrigues us with it’s beguiling colors and flirtatious change in season. Winter is coming she tells us… if only.

Fields of fallen leaves drop from the trees above and crunch below our feet as they blow across the forest floor.

To me, it’s a magical time; one of re-birth, re-newal, and change.

I’m ready for what comes next.

Fawning About

I adore watching the animals, and when I get to see baby animals it’s all the better.

They have this curious sense of newness and wonder that they wear on their faces.

Mom dotes on them and protects them from harm… and the baby listens and hastens at her insistence.

All the while the baby is tugged by this new world it finds itself in, with all the wonders to discover, and adventures to be had.

At this stage of their lives, with all their innocence, they have no fear of danger. If only mom could always protect them. They must be quickly schooled on the harsh reality of their existence.