Lake Havasu is home to the famed London Bridge, but it is also home to a lot of RV’ers and boaters.
During our brief stay, we had a wonderful visit with our special friends, and saw an abundance of large (& fast) boats driving through town and on the waterways. Though February is not necessarily prime time for the boaters, it certainly was for the RV’ers, who litter the campgrounds and desert with big rigs.
While we weren’t there long, we enjoyed our stay and the warm weather (89F) away from our snow packed roads (6F the morning we left).
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.
1. Pismo Beach, CA... wish I could get sunset shots like this in AZ!
2. Lil Buck… If only AZH had published THIS pic
3. Hawley Lake …. Through the Fog is Clarity
4. Javelina … not a common sight in this neck of the woods
5. Snow Elk…. Animal behavior can be so much fun to capture, sometimes these little guys do the darnedest things
6. Moqui Snow … I need to work on getting more landscape snow pix
7. Oak Creek Fall … Gotta love waterfalls & fall, such an amazing combination
8. Morman Lake Elk Pool … While this is a busy pic, lots of fun interactions to look at
9. Kaibab Daisies … I had never been to Kaibab Lake before, I need to get out more
10. Babies Rule … love me some baby wildlife!
I could go on, but I think the exercise of limiting oneself to only the best forces one to be critical of oneself, encouraging growth and improvement. Something we should all heed in our lives. Happy New Year!
Maybe a restaurant you meet your one and only? A place of solitude that elicits fond memories? A spot you go to so that you might clear your head?
We should all have such a place of tranquility and peaceful reconciliation. Alas, many of the restaurant / bars that my husband and I remember fondly – where we met, where we danced to quiet music, etc. – are now no longer there. And I’m not talking just change in names… buildings gone, and unrecognizably landscapes have taken the place of long forgotten icons.
But we still have our special place. It’s not a restaurant or a bar… it’s an attitude of peaceful reflection. My husband first went when he was a boy of 10 years old. He went camping with his dad. His dad felt he should know how to drive in case anything happened to him. So it’s a place, he first learned to drive with his dad – gone now some 20 years.
My husband took me there before we were married, some 30+ years ago now. It was then that we discovered these ruins as we looked over this grand landscape and saw this structure tucked into the side of the hill… seemingly undiscovered all these years.
We have been going back ever since, and deem it our special place. It is magical, tranquil, and awe-inspiring. We should all have such a special place.
Hutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona. It is on the National Historic Lookout Registry. It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area. Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.
The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire. The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before. As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices. Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.
From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.
The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.
At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk. Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.
We just got back from the Grand Canyon – South Rim hoping to get some great storm cloudy pix. It’s difficult if not impossible to schedule a trip around a storm, as getting reservations at the Canyon can be it’s own difficult task. But we managed to get last minute reservations in one of their old ‘rustic’ cabins.
A storm was predicted for the days we were there… but today’s weather forecasters are often wrong. Furthermore, it’s hard to say if upon a storm one will get awesome clouds and interesting sky, or complete whiteout and washed out gray skies.
The afternoon we arrived brought snow almost immediately. The next day we were socked in and you couldn’t see the Canyon over the edge…. so I was glad I got the shots I did when I did.
The day it snowed all day, we had hoped to get to see Hermit’s Rest, a Mary Colter building 7 miles off the main Grand Canyon loop. Unfortunately, the road was closed due to all the snow we were having. We got about 8″ in the day we were there.
Going to the Grand Canyon is like touring the world…. people of all nationalities wander with you taking in the magnificent sights of the ‘big ditch’…. even in the snowy winter.
While we were out driving in the snow, we passed no less than 3 tow trucks towing multiple cars that had careened off the ice. It was like a ice rink with rental cars as bumper cars, skidding into trees and into each other, many of whom had no doubt never before seen snow. Roads were blocked with tow trucks clearing the way, making it impassable everywhere.
We found these elk watching the traffic go by… munching the afternoon away after a short clearing.
Check out my pix … here…. of Mary Colter’s Desert View Watchtower.
Just off the Forest Road 300 is an obscure road marked FR 218: Milk Ranch Road. Along it are magnificent overlooks of the Mogollon Rim below. One can find an open spot in the woods or down a long rocky rough road to be rewarded by this great expanse.
If you’re lucky you’ll be blessed with amazing skies, puffy clouds, and remarkable sunsets and sunrises. If you’re not, just enjoy the view, a nice picnic and peaceful, relaxing visit.
For more from this trip and Lessons from a Squirrel check out my post HERE.