We’re leaving… and we’re here

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We have a flag now. If you’re out and you see the Jalapeno(on a stick), stop by and say “Hi”

This weekend we went for a more local destination. Seriously if we were any closer to home we would have just plugged in at the house. Our original plans were to go to Mingus Mountain(no, that’s not a theme park). But the better half actually has a good relationship with her mom, and would like to keep it that way. So we headed out to Cave Creek Regional Campground. That’s about 30 minutes drive away from my home. With traffic.

20140510_093305-1That doesn’t stop it from being beautiful. It’s great when you find a place that’s close by to get away. It helps when the desert is in bloom. The cacti had some flowery crowns on them. Oddly enough the campground was not full. Sure this week we saw 100º temps, but this weekend was in the 80’s. Ya gotta love the Phoenix area in the summer… What? Spring? Oh boy.

Saguaro cactus with a crown of flowers.

Saguaro cactus with a crown of flowers.

This is one of the things Arizona is known for. When people think of a desert they often have the image of the Saguaro(sa wah row) Cactus. There is only one region these things grow. And that is the desert region of the southwest. It seems strange at first that there is a law against removing these things, but they grow for a thousand years, and are native to this region. They are a habitat for birds, and they are, despite their look, very fragile. Ask any landscaper in Phoenix who’s had to remove a dead Saguaro that fell on someone’s home.

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The Clay Mine trail

On Saturday, we went for a walk on the Clay Mine trail. It’s actually a gentle(ish) trail. Neither of us were having any difficulties all the way to the Clay Mine. Originally it was a gold mine. Yeah, no gold. So it got sold to a woman(sign says “a women”) named Leila Irish Who bought it for the rich clay. She in turn sold the clay in a bottle as a miracle cure-all. Apparently it made her wealthy enough that her descendants are still living off of that wealth. I was going to say “This can never happen today!” and then an infomercial started on the TV, proving me wrong. People still buy snake oil from snake oil salesmen(or women), they just have to include the disclaimer “Results not typical™” in the infomercial.

Here’s a few of the pics from our short trip:

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You can rent a horse while you’re out there. Though we did not. I kinda wish we did so I could tell you if it’s worth it. I do know that if you aren’t on a horse and you go past the sign on the Clay Mine trail that points out where the horse rental is, there is a LOT of horse poop to navigate around. They must feed them a lot. We made it to the end of the Clay Mine trail though, but decided against the other trail… sooooo much pooo.

My sweetheart made us a couple pina coladas, and we sat by the fire that night. Woah, a place where there were no fire restrictions… Amazing! Look, before anyone yells at me about why there are fire restrictions, I get it. And yes, I would rather have forest, than a camp fire. It’s just darned annoying to have firewood, and no ability to have a fire. It was great. We sat there by the fire listening to hits from every 80’s movie ever…

The next day we packed up and headed home. Ordinarily this would be the end of my post. BUT we were still out. We tossed her mom and step-dad into the truck(Hi Mom, Hi Roy), and headed out to Saguaro lake. Ate lunch, and just outside the restaurant was a gorgeous cactus starting to bloom.

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We left there, and headed to the nearby Fort McDowell Casino. Weeee just what I want. I HATE Casinos. And not just because I’m a former smoker, and they all smell like the bottom of the ashtray I tossed out, but because of the constant drone of machines and the desperation of people thinking that if they just play ONE MORE DOLLAR… Ugh! If you love casinos, go for it. Play my share. So we kinda ditched her mom and step-dad at the casino, and shot up to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, that was our alternate choice for this weekend.

I quickly descended into a bit of regret. The views are stunning, and not nearly as near civilization as Cave Creek Regional. Cave Creek Regional had homes within sight of the campgrounds on the west side. The East is safe from that. McDowell was seemingly free of any such interference. No random people’s homes cluttering the landscape. I swear the campground was laughing at us for not picking them to stay at. There was a coyote that just happened across our path, a few dozen families of quails(darn almost referenced the political guy autocorrect…), and a whole bunch of jackrabbits with big ole ears. We might just stay a week there just because. It’s close enough to my work…

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