With the recent cold blast (we saw it as low as 22F) and the intense winds, we thought we better check out the Fall Colors to see where we were. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the fall colors were mostly on the ground rather than on the trees.
We’ve barely begun to run our rounds of our favorite haunts for Changing of the Leaves… but as it turns out, we may already be too late. It happens every year. It goes from hot to cold, and there definitely is a chill in the air, particularly with the high winds. It seems Winter is already here.
If you are hoping to catch the change of season…. better hurry out, or it will be the change to Snow that we will be catching next.
While we have been to Vegas in the last couple years, we haven’t stayed on the strip in some time. So with the encouragement of a friend, we took a brief respite and stayed on the Strip.
We aren’t huge gamblers, so we took the occasion to check out the brand new Resorts World casino which just opened up next to Circus Circus.
We walked our feet off wandering up and down the Strip. One of our favorite past times is to check out the art fixtures, which can be found hiding in any one of the casino’s.
One we always make a point to visit is Bellagio’s gardens with their ever changing scenes filled with live flowers. It’s always stunning and never disappoints. This time is was celebrating the rainforest.
For a change, we decided to try a new activity that John found intriguing… a Virtual Reality ‘arcade’. While I’ve heard of Virtual Reality, I had no idea what to expect. Apparently, there are any number of themes: car racing, golf, or shooting zombies. No surprise, but John wanted to shoot zombies. Not exactly my cup of tea, I compromised on the more sci-fi twist, ‘Singularity’ at the MGM Grand, where aliens invade a space station and the rescue team has to combat drones and aliens to save the ship and crew.
I’m not making this up! Now having done it… I can honestly say, I had a blast. It was great fun.
Thanks, Pat, for the wonderful opportunity. We had a great time.
We haven’t seen any animals in some time. I think they are all hiding from the mountain lions, as mountain lion sightings have been on the rise. The storms do bring in animals, though. I love our rains… they are so good for our forests and animals.
We were lucky enough to see 2 bull elk, still in velvet. It was a rare treat and one we relished. They foraged in the grass and lingered around until they wandered off as the thunderstorms rolled in.
They looked like they had been through a rough year as they slowly wandered off. I was happy that they had a brief respite from their harsh environment.
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.
Finally… instead of going out taking photos when our schedules allowed it… we decided to go out because there was weather in the forecast. Sometimes you have to make time for the things that are important to you.
Never was that more clear than this week! I have two friends in the hospital, and one recently out, all awaiting or have just undergone serious surgery. It’s very scary to see people you love facing such a difficult time. While in your heart, you know they will be ok, you can’t help but ache for their situation.
It’s made worse by their having to go through it alone (due to covid restrictions), without their significant other by their side to hold their hand and keep their mind off of the upcoming surgery.
While I know my friends will be better as a result of the surgeries, it really gives you pause. Enjoy life, every day! Do the things one enjoys. And don’t take life for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff. One never knows what the future brings for any of us.
To Doug, Pat, and Meg: Be safe, be well, and know that you are loved. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
As I look out across the ridge, I am awe stuck by the beauty around me. The skies opened up and cast this amazing glow as if to say, it’ll all be alright, life is beautiful and there is a lot more to see.