Milk Ranch Road

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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.

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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.

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For more from this trip and Lessons from a Squirrel check out my post HERE.

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Snow Birds

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We recently had a wave of 3 snow storms which all together yielded about 2′ of snow.  The birds huddled under branches to keep out of the intense snow blasting sideways with the strong winds.  You can see more of my Snow Animals on my photo blog…. here.

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The drifts piled high where the winds swept them against trees and boulders.  But it didn’t deter the big animals from trudging through.  We saw more than one limping as a result of tripping over unseen rocks and uneven terrain.

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It amazes me the treks these animals must take on a daily basis going from hither to yon incessantly.  It’s a tough life in these mountains and woods with their treacherous inclines and rough canyons.

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Lockett Meadow

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One of the easiest and most beautiful fall color outings to get to outside of the ‘big city’ is Lockett Meadow.  It’s only 20 minutes from Flagstaff and yields awesome concentrations of full color yellowing aspens.

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The characteristic white trunks and silver dollar yellow leaves make these aspen fields stand out in their stunning beauty.  It’s a great place to go for the day, for a picnic, and just soak in nature at it’s finest.

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It’s been an early fall.  I wrote about it first here.  As such the leaves are already starting to dissipate.  Compounded by our gusty winds, the leaves are definitely falling as we are getting ready for winter.  But for now we are enjoying the last hurrah of what has been a gorgeous Fall here on the mountain.

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Leaf Peeping

forestcolorPSi.JPGFall cometh early to Northern AZ.   I have told anyone that would listen, winter is coming.  It’s getting cold early and fast.  We’ve already had overnight lows below freezing.  So with it, the leaves are popping.  We have been out several times to see them, and plan on several more trips.  I think October 1 is the earliest I have ever seen this abundance of color.  Usually it’s not until at least 2nd or 3rd week of October.  My guess is by then we’ll be taking photos of snow instead of leaves.

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But we’re loving it.  The beauty is incredible.  I don’t know how I every lived in the valley without getting the 4 seasons.  I’m addicted… and love it.

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Talk about photographic fodor.  The color variations and possibilities are stunning.   We packed a lunch and had an amazing view amidst the burst of color we found ourselves in.

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Fantastic!

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The one that got away

Unfortunately, despite our many trips to the Mogollon Rim looking for animals, we just haven’t seen that many.  I don’t know where they are, but they just aren’t here.  It’s rut season here on the mountain, so the bull elk are collecting their harems.  We did just see a small herd of elk the other day.

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We saw a few little babies born this year with fading spots, and few cow elk, along with a young single spike bull.

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But the one I really wanted to get a photo of was the one on the way out and I only got a fleeting view of this big bull.

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Darn.  He was just the one that got away.  It astounds me how these big boys can walk (not to mention run) through our tangled forests with those big racks on their heads.

Maybe next time.

A Year in the Grand Canyon

Every once in awhile you come across something you really want to share.  Point in case, my friend, Dave.  Dave, is like my dog… in a good way (I do love my dog, Journey, by the way, and Journey adores Dave – she has good taste.).  I mean that in the way that he has never met a stranger.  Everyone he meets is a friend.  He’s affable, friendly, talented, intelligent, and kind.  He’s one of those interesting people that you just love to know, and someone I am super proud and happy to call my friend.

But this isn’t a plug for Dave… not really.  It’s a plug for his book. You see, Dave is quite the aficionado on the Grand Canyon.  He has been down the Grand Canyon over a year. And by that I mean IN the Canyon OVER 365 days.  Pretty impressive.  In that time he has had quite the many experiences.  We are very fortunate that Dave heeded the advise of many who know him to write them down and publish them in a book.  He finally did.

His book, A Year in the Grand Canyon, is a collection of those adventures.  It reads like stories around the campfire.  It’s engaging, inviting, fascinating and intriguing.  It’s one of those books you just can’t put down.  It’s a man’s tales of life through passing through the Grand Canyon and it’s many lessons it teaches.  It’s fun, dead serious, and entertaining.

He got an impressive endorsement from none other than the famous Arizona story teller himself, Marshal Trimble who gives it a glowering review:

“Dave Elston’s passion for spending time in the beautiful Grand Canyon wilderness has produced a series of riveting stories that makes it a must read for anyone who’s ever been bitten by the “Canyon Bug.” His quest to spend 400 days in “Natures Grandest Architectural Masterpiece” over a period of years turned him from a green novice into an experienced veteran.

Elston’s stories also provide many important lessons in survival. Nature can be very unforgiving. The vicissitudes of the wilderness including the capricious elements, ankle-twisting terrain, lack of preparation, not understanding one’s limitations, and a myriad of others have endangered or cost the lives of many who fail to give it proper respect.

This book should be on the shelves of anyone who’s ever hiked the challenging trails of the Grand Canyon or ever wanted to.”

I don’t recommend a lot of books.  In truth, I don’t find the time to read a lot.  But this book is hard to put down, and a great read, one I highly recommend.  Check it out..

A Year in the Grand Canyon, by Dave Elston

It is published by Vishnu Temple Press, Flagstaff, AZ . Online orders can be made at vishnutemplepress.com. The price is $15.95, and the book will ship around mid-August. If you would rather have an e-book, it will be ready by the end of August. Both versions will soon be on Amazon as well.

Order yours today.

Mountain Snow

My friends in the Phoenix are all talking about the torrential rains they are having.  The storm this week has given us some much needed precipitation… all in one week.  While Phx is dealing with their large volumes of rain… we GOT SNOW!

 

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Our local ski resort, Snowbowl, is reporting the best year in a decade, with up to 100″ of snow!  55″ this week alone.  Flagstaff is reporting 30″ this week, and here in Happy Jack we probably got about 16″ this week.

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Our dog, Journey is loving it.  What is it about snow and pets… they are like little kids …. oh boy, oh boy… SNOW!journey snofac_Ssi.JPG

Totally fun to watch.

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