Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Hi all,
 As we follow the crazy cold and snowy weather across the US we sure hope everyone gets a nice early spring!
 This week we found our adventure about 80 miles southwest. Cochise Stronghold Recreation Area was the destination. This is located in part of the Coronado National Forest.
 The area was a natural built fortress and hideout for Apache and Chiricauan Clan Indians led by Cochise. The story goes Cochise was being forced to reservation land after being wrongly accused of raiding and kidnapping a Mexican boy.
 It is also believed Cochise is buried somewhere here.
  The area is laden with many large rock outcroppings and some valleys with springs made ideal hideouts.
 We took a nice hike on The Cochise Indian Trail. It seemed busy to us, with quite a few people arriving when we did. I guess as we get closer to the Tucson/Phoenix area we should expect that.  Once out on the trail we did not encounter that much traffic.
 This is a out and back trail that you can take for 5 miles. We did about 2-1/2 (5 mi hiking) and thought we had enough. We made it through most of the rock areas while the balance of the trail looked to continue to valley passes.
 Wendy had made us some nice chicken and avocado sandwiches for our lunch. Usually we get the old Pb n J but this was a great treat for the hike.
 Our duty schedule changes next week as we got another host joining us. We will move to 3 days doing maintenance and only one day in the visitor center. This should not be to bad as the temps are slowly rising and the days are noticeably getting longer.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Hi all,
Things keep rolling smoothly around here. We don't see big swings in weather, most nights about 34 and days have been in the mid 60's.  We have had a few days with wind but not as bad as I had thought it would be.
The Santa hat needed to go.

 We got back to our four day work week schedule. We had done a few weeks working five days while a new host was training.
 This week for our adventure we got out the GPS, dusted it off, added some new batteries and set off for a day of geocaching.

We had taken up geocaching many years ago and lately for unspecific reasons had gotten away from it. It was a sport we enjoyed doing with our kids and grandkids. We also enjoyed doing with other family members.Wendy had found a line of caches planted along Hwy 266 which runs through the Coronado National Forest. It was about 17 miles south of the park.
We had driven this road before and enjoyed its beauty. It crosses a mountain range going up in elevation from 3000 to around 6000, with taller mountains peaks about. The scenery also features many rock formations. There are areas for primitive camping and we found a very nice picnic area.
  If you have not geocached, caches are hidden receptacles holding a log and sometimes a few trinkets. Caches are classified by size as micro, small, and regular. The micros we found today were about the size of a matchbox car, many were small cookie tins and the regular was a ammo box.
 So with a picnic lunch packed we set off. The first cache had a easy rating so shouldn't have been to tough. It took us quite a while to find actually finding it 170 feet from where our GPS said it should be.
 That is one thing with geocaching your GPS may read different than the person who hid the cache. With that thought in our minds we went to the second location where it was to be hidden in a large rock cropping. After a good amount of time and a lot of climbing we gave up. On to number 3 and again we struck out. We were starting to get a bit discouraged but it was a nice day and we were getting some fresh air and needed exercise.
 We did get better as we used the data from the first one- we actually looked 170 feet east of where our GPS said it should be and tada that seemed to work.
 On the day we found 9 of 12, not to bad and had a great day doing it. We both agreed we have to do more
 of this.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Interesting things!

Hi all,
 This post or pictures may seem different, it seems a Picasa update( where Wendy stores, adjusts, and retrieves pics from) has been a big pain. Others have been having the same issues so hopefully they will get it resolved soon. Isn't technology great? (Thanks to Jim & Nanc, I figured out how to put the pictures in)
  We have had a change of our plans as to when we leave here. We were to be out on Feb. 1, but as our host site is open and a incoming couple are having medical issues we will be staying on a few more weeks. We really have no set in stones plans other than being in South Dakota by May 8th. So we will still have plenty of time to explore more of Arizona and some of Utah.
 We had a nice visit with a couple from North Carolina. Dennis and Eddy were volunteers at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park just west of Phoenix. It was fun exchanging volunteer experiences. You really find a big difference in duties.
 So far we are happy just doing the volunteer thing. We have read of others that are doing paid jobs and having to deal with Boss and coworker issues. Man, that is the type of thing you had hoped to leave behind. I know some have no choice and need the income, but if we can make it without the hassle we will try. Yeah, I know Wendy applied for a paid position this summer, but after volunteering there we pretty know what to expect, from bosses and coworkers.
  This week we took a drive to Globe, AZ. About 70 miles northwest we had heard of a neat store we wanted to check out. The Pickle Barrel Trading Post is one of those one of a kind stores selling everything from jewelry, Indian crafts, and tons of yard d├ęcor. It is just a fun place to walk through. You at times felt like you were in a museum with some of the stuff on display. Good thing we are fulltimers and have no room for some of this or else.

Also in the area is the Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaelogical Park. It features ancient Indian ruins and a small museum. You walk through the remains of a 700 year old pueblo. The museum holds many pottery pieces that were excavated here. Not a big place but a nice stop if in the area.

 After we got a good Mexican dinner in the historic downtown of Globe. They feature quite a few good Mexican fare restaurant's, we chose El Ranchito and were quite satisfied.
            We enjoyed this drive as it brings you into the area of saguaro cactus.
Full moon over Roper Lake

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hot tubs

Hi again,
  Holidays are over and everyone must be back to work or school, we have very few guest coming in with reservations. We do get a few just dropping in for a day or so, but overall we are in a slow time. I guess that is the norm.   More time to do some painting- Wendy and I get scheduled for two days in maintenance. We have been painting the electrical pedestals and protective posts by them. We finally finished with all 50- yea!! They look nice and are all uniformly the same, previously some were white and some were grey.  
Photo                                      Photo
  Next up for us will be painting the fascia on the picnic shelters. Wendy will be glad, she doesn't mind painting but the pedestals were a bit of a pain.   We are a bit short of volunteers as one that suppose to arrive has a medical issue and one is in training. We have picked up another day to help out. We don't mind still getting two days off and we only do the 4-1/2 hour days.   Our adventure this week was a short drive to Hot Wells Dunes Recreation Area. It is located about 25 southeast of the park. The drive was down a dirt road which is always fun. It is on BLM land and boast 2 artisan fed hot tubs, primitive camping, and picnic areas. It is also popular to off road enthusiast who are able to ride in the sand dunes.
Photo Photo      Photo                            We were there just to visit and soak in the hot tubs.
 Photo    Photo   Photo
We had read these were some real HOT springs and were they right. At about 105 we were bouncing in and out quite a bit. Our hot tub in Roper is only at about 92-93 and you can soak all you want. While there we had a nice visit with a local who told us some good history of the area. They were actually drilling for oil and hit upon the hot wells. It all made for a nice quiet day out in the desert.

  As you notice the pictures are small and you can't click on them to make them bigger. The updated Picasa isn't letting us post pictures. As soon as they fix the problem, we'll update the photos.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Start to the New Year

 Happy New Year!
  Hope everyone had a good New Years eve and day. Ours was pretty quiet, we cooked some steaks on the eve and had a gathering with coworkers on New Years Day. Nothing fancy as we just met in the visitor center so all could join in. Everyone brought a dish to pass, we ended up with a good mix of food and desserts. It also worked out nice as one volunteer is leaving and a new one came in, a good chance for everyone to meet the new and say goodbyes.
 Down to the last month here, we discussed what we have left to see and do in the area. A couple things but not to much. There is a lot more to the west that we are saving for when we get done here.
  We wanted to spend more time down at the Chiricahua National Monument. So that was our adventure this week.  On Thursday we took off looking to hike and burn off some of those holiday calories.
Saw about 6 deer
  Wendy still had brochures from our last visit and picked a moderate hike, the Natural Bridge Trail. It was not through the tall rocks as before but took you up through a canyon, down through a valley to a natural suspended bridge. You didn't get real close so a good thing Wendy had the zoom along.
  This is the least used trail in the park- we were the only ones on the trail. The trail though listed as moderate had some good elevation gain at the start, then you peaked in one area but then travel down through a valley park (meadow), up again a short piece to the end bridge view.
 This was an out and back trail of 2.4 mi one way. I was pretty beat after that, but glad that we did it. Just seems every turn brings another amazing view.
  The weather report had said 63 for the area, but with the winds and elevation (just under 6000ft.) it was colder than that. Along with the different directions and terrain sometimes you felt hot and then you would hit a shady area or get the wind and cool you off fast. Just saying that is why we looked so bundled up.
Manzanita tree- smooth red bark