For over a year now, I have been hit-or-miss in my daily note-taking, relying increasingly on our photos and my little calendar to remind me of what we did when. That’s perfectly fine because, in the long run, who gives a rip if every moment or detail is remembered? Such hubris! When all is said and done, I don’t need to remember all that was said and done. History buffs may fight me on this, but the old saw of those not remembering the past being condemned to repeat it is pure tripe. Condemned? Sheesh! What about the good stuff? Can’t we, shouldn’t we, want to not only remember but repeat that? I could drone on and on with my opinions on the topic, and someday when I’m out of adventures to record perhaps I will, but for now our personal history continues to repeat itself in our second stay at Cave Creek. It’s good history, though, and worth a repeat.
During our first stay, we had set out one morning to find the famed Michelin Man cactus, but TBG wasn’t feeling good or some such when we got to the trailhead, so he left me to explore on my own. I wrote all about my near-miss then, but I wanted TBG to finally see this great specimen of a segmented saguaro, too. There was no missing it this time, and I swear the spur trail leading directly up to it did not exist two years ago. At any rate, it was far more obvious than previously, and TBG declared it his favorite saguaro of all time.
Around camp, we had a handful of Anna’s Sugar Pigs partaking of my feeder, Gambel’s Quail making their rounds through our picnic area, especially since I tossed out a handful of sunflower seeds daily, and a couple of sky events that occurred during our stay. One was the Leonid meteor shower, that although we got up early to try to see it during the peak, the full moon and a neighbor’s outdoor beacon of a porch light (grrrrr) made viewing a bust. I forgave that full moon, though, as it was the centerpiece for the second sky event in the form of the longest partial lunar eclipse in over 500 years. I went out briefly to espy it with my own eyes, but TBG spent just a tad more time with it.
I don’t know what came over him, but TBG decided it would be a good idea to get up super early (again) and make the two-hour drive up to Sedona for a hike. I don’t know what came over me, either, because I agreed to it.
We’ve been to Sedona before, and it was during that visit we learned to be extra-early to any trailhead since there is no such thing as a non-busy one no matter what time of year or day of the week it is. Proving our memory accurate, we were the second vehicle in the lot not long after sunrise, and there were almost no spaces left by the time we returned to the car. Our memories failed us, though, by forgetting that Sedona is higher elevation, thus much colder than the Phoenix valley. Much. As in, it wasn’t far above freezing. We didn’t have a lot of extra warm stuff with us, but TBG was able to dig out our long-fingered biking gloves, which helped until we got moving enough to warm up.
There were numerous water-crossings, easily hopped, and the air was palpably more humid than down in the valley. While the cold was a bit of a shock at first, the humidity was a relief for a day.
Our hike, as do most others’, terminated when the canyon walls narrowed, and it became impossible to continue without hiking in the water, which is what the signs say to do for those who wish to camp up-canyon. I chatted with some other hikers while TBG puddle-jumped to get some photos.
Back in the lot, the sun had come out, and there were pretty Steller’s Jays and Acorn Woodpeckers everywhere, flashing blue and red. They entertained us while we had a snack and got tucked in for the long drive back.
The following day, I was able to re-connect with my friend Ingrid (who, coincidentally, I met for the very first time during our original stay at Cave Creek, and who you, Faithful Readers, will also remember from our visits in Wisconsin) one early afternoon for lunch. She and Al have recently come off the full-time RV road and settled in the Phoenix area, so even though we’d seen each other only a couple months ago, we had scads of catching up to do, and we literally closed the place down. They regularly close after lunch, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. We ended up chatting even more in the parking lot, where we belly-laughed over our silly selfie attempts, trying to find an angle that didn’t have the phone’s shadow by ducking behind her truck only to completely be in the truck’s shadow. Doh! Anyhow, it was great as always to visit, and hopefully we’ll see both of them on our way back north.
Though the days were still quite warm, the nights began to cool considerably, so our nightly scorpion walks only yielded one the whole time. They will seek out warmer places to be and/or hibernate during the colder months, and I hibernated in bed while TBG went out for another moon shot.
One of the things we like about the Cave Creek park is that the trails to the VC are the perfect distance for a morning walk. I went in only once to see how the critters were doing. Two years ago, the fat Diamondback Rattlesnack was on a diet of baby quail, which apparently worked because now he gets mice again. The park VCs aren’t advertising their critter feeds right now, so it is unlikely I will get to see one again, but I’ll keep pestering the workers nonetheless.
The exterior of Cave Creek’s VC is one of my favorites, with a pretty man-made brook and a winding pathway with clever benches made to look like they’re constructed of tree branches. The bird feeder is kept full, attracting lots of customers, and this time we saw the little Sonoran Desert Tortoise crunching on his snack of pea pods and greens.
Another nice perk of staying at Cave Creek is that your camping fee also covers the entrance fee at the nearby Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, and we headed out there to try a different hike. The first time we hiked the day after a good rain, and the vegetation was plump and the streams were full. This time, the landscape was much dustier and the stream beds were dry. TBG chose a trail to parallel what is normally a stream, and it eventually led off of ranch property onto NFS land, but it also finally connected with some water at last.
I’ve been hoping to eventually spot Arizona’s state mammal, the ring-tailed cat. They are primarily nocturnal and shy, but if you’re going to see one during the day, near water is a good bet. We did not see one, but there were lots of butterflies, small fishies, birds, and tranquility.
On our last morning, while I took advantage of what Internet signal I could get to upload these photos, I espied a cluster of hot air balloons reflecting the early sun, and looked over my shoulder to see a fat javelina crossing the road behind me. Because the distances between these parks are short, we have been driving separately, and as TBG let Essie warm up, I held the hummie feeder in my hand while my resident beauty practically landed on me to get his last sips.
Time to hop along for one more previously chronicled setting where we’ll be more than happy to repeat some of our history, but, hopefully, not all of it. See you there!