Boynton Canyon, Montezuma’s Well, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

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Montezuma’s well

 

Traveling, and living in an RV can be a bit of drag, if you don’t do some traveling while the RV is stopped! Running around, can get expensive however. The State and federal Parks are starting to get used to the revenue generated by fees, and they are raising them all the time. We are always looking for free parks. Here in Arizona, much like California, a free park is rare to say the least. Oregon’s parks are down right inexpensive and the rangers tell me they could easily be funded by fees if the money was not being swept into the states general fund. Never the less there are many parks that are real gems, and they must be visited. Last week, we covered a lot of ground. This first park Motezuma’s Well, just 7 miles north of Montezuma’s castle, and was worth our time to visit. (Figure 45 minutes from Verde Valley Thousand Trails)

Though the parking is not pleasant as they only put in about a dozen spaces, and about 30 dozen people are competing for those spaces, the park is well worth visiting. Key point to remember here, is if you have a soccer mom in the family who is used to competitive parking at she shopping mall. Let her drive!

As you approach the park entry station after you get out of the car hopefully you will see the sign I saw “No FEE” , this is always my favorite sign in the park. There is no need to stop at the ranger shack unless you want to chit chat with the ranger. I found him to be quite pleasant, and I thanked him for coming to work so that we could see the park.

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About a hundred yards up the path, we see a pool of water in a basin. Unless Montezuma was a volcano, he did not dig the well himself.  This well appears to have been an old volcanic crater where a natural aquifer hit basalt and went straight up into the crater, much like Crater lake in Oregon, only smaller and less impressive.  What surprised us, is this water flows out of the crater through a crack.  Which we will try to see later on.

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Along one edge of the crater, are cliff dwellings. Not entirely sure what they were used for, some say the well was actually a burial ground. Seems odd they would bury their dead in their well. My guess is, if they found bodies in here, it was either accidental death, or Montezuma had an Al’ Capone’ in his tribe.

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You can’t see the water come out of the crack anymore, but in this picture is a ditch the water flows into. They say it is seven miles long, I say don’t stick your hand in it; it’s full of leaches.

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I found a desert Holly, so I took a picture of her.

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This is a Beetle Of Unusual Size, it would make a meal for a person, but I think it is just full of juice.

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Break time! The weather is 80 degrees and it is time for Watermelon!

This park is 1.5 hours drive from Verde Valley Thousand Trails. The park is too expensive, but is worth the money to go once. Figure $5.00 per person. Also note that this is a State Park. Arizona State parks are screwy just like California. They close them at times, so make sure they are open before you go. It took us two trips to this park to catch it open for use. Currently these parks are closed Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s.  This park is advertised open from 9-5, but no one can enter after 4-pm without getting charged with criminal trespass.  (Oregon seems to have its head screwed on correctly when it comes to their parks. New Hamphshire, Vermont, California, Texas, and Arizona make me thankful for the way Oregon runs its park system.)

We enter the park
We enter the park
It has a gift shop at the entry. We had to pay for our entry in there.
It has a gift shop at the entry. We had to pay for our entry in there.
First look at the natural bridge
First look at the natural bridge
Look how pink these rocks are
Look how pink these rocks are
Athena is reading a map with all the rules. Don’t climb rocks, Climb Trees, and stay in the path. That all sounds like work to me, so I’m good.
Athena is reading a map with all the rules. Don’t climb rocks, Climb Trees, and stay in the path. That all sounds like work to me, so I’m good.
We see the cave in the distance. The trail is about half a mile long. Takes most people about 15 minute. Took Athena about an hour to drag me in, and at least that to drag me out! One trip down here, will be enough for me.
We see the cave in the distance. The trail is about half a mile long. Takes most people about 15 minute. Took Athena about an hour to drag me in, and at least that to drag me out! One trip down here, will be enough for me.

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We caught the girls enjoying the water fall and stream.
We caught the girls enjoying the water fall and stream.
Prickly pear will keep you on the path!
Prickly pear will keep you on the path!
Water falling off the land above the cave.
Water falling off the land above the cave.

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A river runs through it.
A river runs through it.
Rare photo opportunity! The girls stopped and allowed their photo to be taken. Holly on the left, Sarah on the right, and Riley from Tuscon in the middle.
Rare photo opportunity! The girls stopped and allowed their photo to be taken. Holly on the left, Sarah on the right, and Riley from Tuscon in the middle.

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Holly and the girls found some shade and are enjoying the quiet stream while we climb out of the canyon.
Holly and the girls found some shade and are enjoying the quiet stream while we climb out of the canyon.
The girls after a while decided to catch up to us, as they wanted a ride home
The girls after a while decided to catch up to us, as they wanted a ride home
Heading over to the next view-point
Heading over to the next view-point
I got distracted by cool toys! I wonder if I could talk Santa into that collection for Christmas, and can I pull it behind the RV? I can only pull 10,000 pounds.
I got distracted by cool toys! I wonder if I could talk Santa into that collection for Christmas, and can I pull it behind the RV? I can only pull 10,000 pounds.
The Natural Bridge, is a lava tube that has collapsed at each end, leaving a land bridge. Here you can see how the lava cooled. That reminds me! Arizona appears to be completely made of volcanic ash the entire Terra-firma is covered with it except where it is paved, or covered in Sand in places like Yuma. Yuma looks like the movies where you see Arabs riding camels.  So, If your from Washington don’t bring them a jar of ash. The young man I met was not impressed. It is kind of like bringing Gold to heaven, or a handful of asphalt to the highway department, or serving over boiled canned spinach to your kids.  Might as well, leave the ash souvenir in Washington.
The Natural Bridge, is a lava tube that has collapsed at each end, leaving a land bridge. Here you can see how the lava cooled.
That reminds me! Arizona appears to be completely made of volcanic ash the entire Terra-firma is covered with it except where it is paved, or covered in Sand in places like Yuma. Yuma looks like the movies where you see Arabs riding camels. So, If your from Washington don’t bring them a jar of ash. The young man I met was not impressed. It is kind of like bringing Gold to heaven, or a handful of asphalt to the highway department, or serving over boiled canned spinach to your kids. Might as well, leave the ash souvenir in Washington.
Looks much less impressive from this angle. Getting down that last trail to the viewing deck is the only real way to see natural bridge. If you can’t walk, crawl! It is worth it. If your crawl though where gloves and chaps, the soil here is abrasive.
Looks much less impressive from this angle. Getting down that last trail to the viewing deck is the only real way to see natural bridge. If you can’t walk, crawl! It is worth it. If your crawl though where gloves and chaps, the soil here is abrasive.
The girls put up with the natural wonders of the world, and are now headed to the gift shop. Seems girls and gift shops were made for each other. What came first? The gift shop? Or the girl?
The girls put up with the natural wonders of the world, and are now headed to the gift shop. Seems girls and gift shops were made for each other. What came first? The gift shop? Or the girl?
We come back to camp and the view is spectacular. Those peaks in the distance are about 80 miles to the north.
We come back to camp and the view is spectacular. Those peaks in the distance are about 80 miles to the north.
To get into the park you must drive down a 14% grade for quite a long way. There is an area at the top to ditch your RV, and just bring your car or truck
To get into the park you must drive down a 14% grade for quite a long way. There is an area at the top to ditch your RV, and just bring your car or truck

 

Last Stop Boynton Canyon

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Pictures taken from here forward were taken using the I-phone 4. Our Canon SX260 battery died. The dirt here is red, Holly is playing ninja chick in the trail. She had to quit though too many morons were coming around the corner without looking ahead. This hike is super long, and none of us made it! If you look at Google’s satellite images of this trail, you will see it is pretty cool. The trail head is 45 minutes from Verde Valley Thousand Trails. Go to Sedona and turn left on dry creek road, go to the end turn left, go to the end turn right. This park requires a federal parks pass, or a $5.00 fee at the box by the toilet. Also bring your own toilet paper, they ran out.
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Along the trail we see a sign “The Cultural Significance of Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” that causes me flash backs. I have severe PTSD they say, and this is why! One day when I was not yet a half pint living in Fort Brag, ca., my grandparents came to visit. I had just gotten three new kittens. I named them Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Being a giddy child with a new toy I just had to show them off. I carried them into the kitchen where Grandma and Grandpa were seated, and commenced to showing them off. In one arm I had the three kitties secured tightly with my arm wrapped around them. In my right hand I pulled the first kitty out and said “This is Yesterday”, I put Yesterday back in my left arm and pulled out today. ”This is Today” I exclaimed, and then I Put Today back in my left arm. Finally, I reached over and pulled out Tomorrow. I gleefully held up Tomorrow and excitedly said “And this is Tomorrow ” Right about then, Tomorrow shit all over me with about the same amount of fanfare in which he had been introduced. I never saw my grandparents laugh as hard as they did that day, not prior to this incident, and not since. This, is my story of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. I have no idea what this sign says. You can read it for your self. I just hope Tomorrow was not some kind of prophet…. 36 The trail has lots of rock formations along the way. Boynton canyon The cliffs around here are a cool red color. You will see young people in top of them at times. Spirits Boynton Canyon I see faces in these rocks, do you? lizard red rock A visitor on the rock, he almost blends in. Boynton Canyon We can see into the canyon. The trial is too rough for me, and Holly takes me back to the car.

 

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The trail has lots of rock formations along the way.

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The cliffs around here are a cool red color. You will see young people in top of them at times

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I see faces in these rocks, do you? If so, rest assured, they make medicine for that.

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A visitor on the rock, he almost blends in.

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We can see into the canyon. The trial is too rough for me, and Holly takes me back to the car.

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Athena and Sarah went a while longer and came back with this cool picture.

We have covered less than 1% of the natural things to see here at the Verde Valley Thousand trails park. We could spend many months in this area. Our main advice, is watch out for idiots on the road who think the speed limit and other traffic control devices are just mere objects of suggestion. Watch for snakes see my article Venomous Snakes, don’t wear sandals as there are red colored scorpions around.  If you dress appropriately and educate your self on what to look for you will be fine. The humans are as dangerous as it gets.

Good evening and Good Night…. PS: Enjoy today for all its worth, learn from yesterday, and don’t squeeze onto tomorrow too tightly

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