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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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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I’ll take Flagstaff over Sedona

Blasphemy, I know!  Sedona has stunning views, no doubt.  But there is something real and genuine about Flagstaff.   What’s not to like in city that is littered with start up breweries and coffee roasteries.  Flagstaff has more boutique breweries (NOT affiliated with any big beer company) than anyplace I know.  Let’s see there is Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, Lumberjack Brewing Company, , Darksky Brewing, and Wanderlust Brewing Company.  That’s SIX small breweries.  You don’t have to like beer to understand that there is a mentality and state of mind that comes with small breweries.   The people are free birds, a little hippi-ish, and proud of their passion and want to share.

It doesn’t stop with breweries…  Flagstaff is home to not 1, but 2 Farmer’s Markets weekly PLUS a Farmer’s Market store PLUS an Urban Market every 2nd Saturday.   It has SEVEN coffee Roasters spread across it’s charming but condensed small city.  Now maybe that’s common in big cities… but it’s unheard of in such a small town.   This entrepreneurial mindset demonstrates the passion that Flagstaff residents exude and want to share with their community.  It’s not out of sense of making big bucks or charging high prices, but moreover sharing the products they care about and are proud of, with their community.

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While Flagstaff may not be have the stunning landscape that Sedona has, it makes up for it in character and the great outdoors.  It’s filled with walking paths, trails, hiking areas and National Forest.  It’s a great place to camp, hike, forage and enjoy the abundant wildlife and unburdened (no fee) forests.

It also DOESN’T have the high prices, ticky tack souvenir stores, floods of tourists, or hoity toity-ness that define Sedona.  You don’t have to pay to park on the side of the road (like in Sedona) or fight the insane traffic to get from one end to the other (though Flagstaff has it’s fair share of traffic – unfortunately).

Did you know that Sedona has the only McDonald’s in the world with a turquoise arch (rather than the standard yellow)?  The Sedona city council deemed the yellow McDonald’s arch ‘too garish’, despite the fact that many business (including Hertz) have yellow logos along the same street.  That’s Sedona.  Flagstaff’s McDonald’s arch is yellow.  Need I say more?

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