Flying high before leaving Arizona – Parker, AZ

As we begin our trek north, our final stop in Arizona was at Buckskin Mountain State Park, scenically located between the Buckskin Mountains and the Colorado River.  It’s also situated along the Parker Strip, an 18-mile stretch of land that runs between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam.  The stay here was shortened due to our 10-day detour to Mexico, but it turned out to be a delightful respite with excellent views of the river and surrounding mountains, plus a special surprise.

Buckskin Mountain State Park

Yup, that’s California over there!

We didn’t waste any time exploring the park, and followed a connecting trail that led to a nearby overlook.  From the top we had a commanding view of the Colorado River that separates Arizona and California, and the mountains that line the river on both sides.

Buckskin Mountain State Park

A great view from the nearby hilltop

With the short time we had here, we decided to combine several trails to create an excellent hike – the Lightning Bolt, Buckskin, Abandoned Mines and Interruption Point trails.  It added up to just over four miles, but was good enough to give us a decent workout with interesting views.

Buckskin Mountains

This guy is happy to be back on the trail again!

Amidst this rugged desert landscape were a few budding Beavertail Cactus, some Creosote bushes and a lone Saguaro.

Beavertail Cactus

I spotted a lone Beavertail Cactus bloom

Beavertail Cactus

Beavertail Cactus full of buds

Interruption Point Trail

Steve is always way ahead of me, and here he is arriving at Interruption Point

Lonesome Barrel Cactus

Buckskin Trail

The Buckskin trails are well maintained and provide a good workout

We were impressed that an overpass had been built just for hikers from the campground who want to check out the interesting trails and old copper mines.

Buckskin Trail at Highway 93

Pedestrian Bridge aptly named Buckskin Trail crosses Highway 93

A few weeks from now these dainty wildflowers will spring up everywhere to give the copper-colored mountains some beautiful color contrasts.

Notch-Leaf Phacelia

Notch-Leaf Phacelia

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But the highlight of this stop turned out to be a flight aboard the sleek Cessna Corvallis TT owned and piloted by Rod, Steve’s pilot buddy who stopped by on his way to Scottsdale from northern California.

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Is this thing gorgeous or what? Twin-turbocharged and over 300 horsepower!

Steve was blown away by the the all-glass cockpit and over-the-top features of this plane. What a thrill it was to take a ride around the area.
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Steve takes the controls for our tour, the first time he’s done so in several years

We flew over Parker Dam, the “deepest dam in the world.”  What makes it the deepest is the fact that 235′ of its 320′ height are sunk beneath the river bed.
Parker Dam
It’s a concrete arch-gravity dam built between 1934 and 1938 by the Bureau of Reclamation.  It’s a hydroelectric power dam that created Lake Havasu.
Parker Dam, Arizona
 We also did a flyover of our RV park…
Buckskin Mountain State Park
 …and tried to zoom in on Betsy – but she was well-hidden in the trees
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A selfie of Rod and the happy passengers

Thank You, Rod for the ride, We had so much fun!

Thank you for the ride Rod, we had a great time in your fantastic plane!

It was a short but exciting last stop in Arizona, and now we’re moving from a river to a lake…

 

Next Up:  Hello Nevada!