March 29th 30th, 2014
It was a beautiful Saturday morning, for our departure from Dan’s Escapees North Ranch Village. We drove a couple miles before our first stop, a yard sale. Helen and I both found a couple of books on Arizona parks. Leaving the valley, we climbed some 3,000 feet to the town of Yarnell. Now, some of you might or might know, that Yarnell was the scene of a great tragedy just in the last year or so. Nineteen “Prescott Hot Shots” smoke jumpers lost their lives in what is known as the “Yarnell Hill Fire”. As we crested the mountain top and entered the town, we could see the burnt foliage encroached into the town… nothing left, but the boulders. I wanted to drive a little closer to the site of the main fire and so I navigated around a few back streets. I knew I was there when I spotted 19 purple ribbons on a chain link fence. At this point, I also spotted a sign saying “Shrine” pointing to another side street. We arrived at the “Shrine of Saint Joseph”…not what I was expecting. The Shrine was there many years before the forest fire. Ironically, some of the shrine did burn, but many of the fourteen stations of the cross remained intact. We walked up the mountain and viewed both the station of the cross and the massive destruction of the fire. We left thinking of those “Hot Shots” and how they left this earth.
On the road again, I decided to head to Jerome and Sedona instead of taking a non scenic route north. We had previously visited Jerome, this mining town high on the cliffs over looking Verde Valley. We’re glad that we did take this route. We don’t like to repeat adventures, but this proved us wrong. Jerome was more scenic then we remembered. The afternoon was spent walking the streets and looking at the many galleries. One thing that we were able to witness was a glass blower making a fine looking multicolored wine glass. He was an excellent teacher and described the many phases in the creation of this fine art.
Down off the mountain side and into the town of Cottonwood. It was around 4:30pm when we found a church and attended mass at 5pm. We didn’t have a place to stay as of yet, but that 50 cent book back at the yard sale directed us to “Dead Horse Ranch State Park”. We were lucky and got the second to the last site available for the night. Now, we got to talk to our neighbors who were from Canada. We got to practice our French language with them. Now, here is the possible twist that might make this an unusual connection to us and our friends Dan and Jan. They had just come from their condo or home in Mexico. I asked where and the gentleman said “Mazatlan”. Now, that is where Dan and Jan stayed on the so-called “Secret Beach”. I am not sure if that is the same spot, but it’s close! Can you believe how small this world is getting!
Sunday morning, it was a little cloudy as we headed for Sedona, just a few miles up the road. The skies soon cleared and the sun was shining brightly. We inquired where to go to a “must see Sedona”. A mountain biker, on a side road, gave us all the info we needed. A tour of the Loop road and a tour and hike of the “Dry Creek Road” would take care of all of our desirers. The driving Loop tour first, followed by a popular hike filled the afternoon. Between the both of us, we took over a couple of hundred pictures! Every curve in the road or trail was another reason to stop and frame a picture perfect shot. Dozens, or hundreds of people were doing the same thing. Sedona is probably only second to the Grand Canyon, as far as photo opportunities.
That is what we did and saw!
Place your curser over the pictures for captions!