Just doing this and that in Cottonwood, AZ

I was grateful to Steve for organizing the three-day road trip for us to Canyon de Chelly and Walnut Canyon, AZ.  Not only did he take me to fascinating places, but the trip helped me in coping with my grief.  Like many other facets of our mobile lifestyle, returning after a major life event was challenging and interesting.  One part of that was reading every one of the comforting comments on our blog, and I thank you all for your thoughts.

After the road trip we mostly hung out at our home base at Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Steve’s review here).  Of course, there were many things to see and do in Cottonwood and the nearby cities of Jerome and Sedona.  Unfortunately I had a nagging cough and cold, plus jet lag that slowed me down a bit.

The upside was the gorgeous weather that allowed us to sit outside and be entertained by my favorite Arizona birds.  They came, they ate, they tussled, and then they scurried away. It was such a delight to watch and hear them again!

Great Road Runner

I caught this Road Runner in “non-running” mode

Gambels Quai

These male and female Gambel’s Quails seemed to strike a pose while foraging nearby

There was even one little guy doing an inspection of our coach:

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A variety of activities can be enjoyed at this state park – fishing, horseback riding, hiking and bird watching.  Steve got me out of my chair to take a walk and get the blood flowing.  A sunny day with puffy clouds and chirping birds is enough to brighten anyone’s mood!  I felt my head cold clear up after walking around the park’s lagoon.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

During our walk, the erstwhile ghostly town of Jerome could clearly be seen high up on the side of Mingus Mountain.  It was beckoning us to go and pay a visit.

Jerome

We saw that letter “J” on Mingus Mountain from our campsite

The town had changed little since our visit ten years ago during our flying days.  It’s been called “America’s Largest Ghost Town”, and is a tourist draw for its spookiness.

Our goal on this day was to check out a mexican restaurant that had been recommended for its food and margaritas, Vaqueros Grill and Cantina.  The moment we stepped in we were transported to a uniquely festive and colorful place:

Vaqueros Restaurant

We would say that the food was good but not great, and the margaritas were great but not good!  We enjoyed the meal and the view, and that margarita put my cough into sleep for a while.

Vaqueros Grill and Cantina

The atmosphere was fun, and the drinks rocked our world!

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Finally, a dog I WASN’T afraid of…

On our last day at Cottonwood, we got a call from our friends Hans and Lisa who were camped nearby at Rancho Verde.  When these serious hikers invite us on a trek with them we try not to miss it (we enjoyed a great hike with them in Colorado), and we weren’t disappointed on this one either!  All of a sudden my malaise evaporated and I was really excited to see them again.

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Apparently they had followed this trail twice in 2014 and called it The Best Hangover Ever, and now on their third trip they were sharing it with us and another couple.  I won’t repeat the details of this moderately-difficult 8.5 mile hike, but refer you to their second blog titled Hangover Hiking with friends.  We were introduced to a lovely creative couple, Lauren and Howard of the Nosh Bus.  Here are our pictures of this wonderful hike:

Hangover Trail

Yes Lisa, I’m right behind you!

Hangover Trail, Sedona

Lunch break at the saddle, bisecting two large red rock formations rising out of the canyon

Hang over trail, Sedona

The Hangover gang – Lauren, Howard, Hans, Lisa, myself and Steve – with a red rock backdrop

Hang over Trail

The section that gave the trail its name – rocks hang over the trail in spots

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Hangover Trail Sedona

The trail winds down behind massive red rock formations rising out of the canyon

Hangover Trail

Hans, the leader of the pack gives us some information

This challenging opportunity to hike with Hans and Lisa was just the push I needed to get me back on the trails and more.

 

Next up:  Really Chillin’ in Prescott, AZ