We were heading basically to New Mexico and Arizona, ending at the Grand Canyon. We were going to make a beeline out by driving lots and staying overnight at Cracker Barrels. The first night we were at a Cracker Barrel in St. Louis. The second night a Cracker Barrel in Amarillo, Texas. That was a long drive. We had planned to stay at a rest stop in between, but as we were driving, we were like, what the hell, let's get there.
I sure as hell wasn't taking pictures, so I don't have any. Here's one from the National Park Service that shows the windiness of the road, but not the mountains and sheer drop-offs right next to the road. Or the ice and snow on the road!
On our first full day in Silver City, we hiked the Dragonfly Trail. It was beautiful and so-named because of the 900 year-old dragonfly petroglyphs carved into stones along the trail.
However, the walk ACROSS the rocks to get to the dwellings was TERRIFYING. You have to walk across a huge rock surface that is narrow, unlevel, covered in loose rocks, and bordered on one side by the cliff wall. It's high and you're dead if you slip and fall. NO handrail. WTF?
The trail on the way out of the dwellings is narrow in many places and near the cliff edge. Not as bad as in front of the cliff dwellings, but still a little scary. The drive back to camp wasn't as scary. Maybe I knew what to expect or maybe being on the other side of the road felt less like you could drive over the edge.
We had stopped in at a Visitors' Center and the woman on staff recommended Gomez Peak. The hike was beautiful. The trail was very badly marked and someone we met on the trail said we should take Angel Point. I said we didn't want to go to the peak, just the loop around the mountain, but she looked like she didn't know what I was talking about. We took that trail, and it was clearly going to the peak. Once it got narrow, with a nearly sheer drop on the one side, I got nervous. When the path ahead was covered in snow, I refused to go higher. My husband would have done it no question, but I was done with danger. We walked back and then took the trail around the other side of the mountain. It was nice but eventually got too steep and narrow for me so we walked back. In general, a nice hike.
So I tried to find a campground in the Superstition Mountains. We ended up at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa, Arizona. We arrived on February 15. The park has a campground but it was full. Fortunately, there had an overflow lot with spaces, and we could stay there overnight, so we did. It would have been perfect except for the asshole next to us in his old-ass Flagstaff running his generator for 4 hours (while HE was gone).
The next day, we hiked the most beautiful trails! Not the one of my memory, but still terrific. First we were on the Blevin Trail, a 3-mile easy hike on a rocky path surrounded by saguaro and other desert plants. Cool rock formations (Cat's Peak and others) rose up around us.
Then we did the Wind Cave Trail, rated "difficult." Oh boy. A gorgeous hike but steep. Some parts were VERY SCARY. Going down from the top was a nightmare for me. The cave was cool. We saw lots of chipmunks and some birds in there. On the way down we saw and heard a squirrel. Both paths had lots of hikers.
Then we got lunch at Nando's in Mesa. Tacos and enchiladas. They were so good!
We woke up the next day and opened the door to an inch of snow on the ground. Not what we signed up for! We had planned to stay the rest of the trip (6 nights) at that KOA near the Grand Canyon. We wanted to be warm and hadn't realized we were too high and north for that in February. I went online and found an available spot in a KOA near Tuscon. We booked it and cancelled the last 4 nights of our Williams KOA stay.
We hiked the Baldwin Loop, a bit of Templeton, and the Crescent Moon. Stunning!!! The trails were sometimes hard to follow but we managed. The hikes were around Cathedral Rock. All scenery was stunning near Sedona. Oak Creek was beautiful and clear (we saw it on Templeton).
The next day we returned to Saguaro National Park and did a loop consisting of the Douglas Spring Trail, Carillo, Squeeze Pen, Kennedy, and Shantz. It was terrifically beautiful and a good workout. We started with a steep climb and then we were in the "mountain" tops and saw several peaks. Great views and not scary except the initial climb a tiny bit. I was tired when done.
Someone is not well-behaved when we are gone.