Monday, June 17, 2013

Mingus Mountain Recreation Area

The Lazy Daze group disbanded on Saturday, but we decided to stay in Prescott Valley until Thursday. Jim has a follow up appointment at the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday, so we are just going to make the 100 mile drive down to Scottsdale for the day.

The Fairgrounds RV Park isn’t such a bad place to be. We moved to a different site after everyone left, and we feel much better about not having to look out at horse stables. It would be nicer if it wasn’t getting into the low 90s during the day, but the mornings and evenings are very pleasant, and there are no biting bugs. And although there are no facilities here, the owners also have Orchard RV Park, about 5 miles away, where we can use the laundry, pool and fitness center.

Our new view.


Yesterday we drove 12 miles up to Mingus Mountain for a 4 mile loop hike around the rim. We figured at 7,500’ it should be cooler, and it was, but the trail didn’t turn out so great. The first 1.8 miles were downhill, but we didn’t realize it would be so steep. We kept sliding on the loose rock even using two hiking poles, and at one point Jim slipped and fell on his right shoulder. He thought he heard it crunch, but it felt okay so we kept going. After nearly going down again, we decided to turn around at less than a mile in.

The trail hugged the edge of the mountain so the views were great, and had we needed to call for help at least we had a good cell signal.



Views of the Verde Valley and Cottonwood in the distance.



As we were climbing back up to the trail head, a group of older (like us) hikers were coming down. They asked if we made the loop, and Jim told them what happened. They said if we had just kept on going, the trail was much better and easier the rest of the loop. Exactly what we figured, but better to be safe.

We then walked around the Mingus Campground, which was actually quite nice. There were several sites with good views and electric hookups, although they got struck by lightning last summer and the Forest Service hasn’t fixed the power yet. The only downside is the 3 miles of really rough, washboard road to get there.

There is also a hang glider launch ramp and camping area at the highest point.


There were several guys suiting up to get ready to take off, so we were able to watch a few of them, until someone decided the strong wind gusts were making it unsafe. It is quite a production getting everything ready, and requires lots of help.

The ramp. That white speck in the center is one of the gliders.


I could barely watch them go off the edge. It’s got to be quite an adrenaline rush.




Then as we were leaving we saw a number of cyclists climbing up the road, with many support vehicles following them or waiting along the road. It turned out to be the Race Across America (RAAM). If you haven’t heard of it, this is billed as “The World’s Toughest Bike Race”. You can ride as an individual or as a relay team of two, four, six or eight riders. The solo riders are quite impressive, as many of them ride 250-350 miles PER DAY! And finish in as few as 8 days. If you don’t make it in 12 days you are disqualified.

Since the relay teams can ride 24 hours, they usually average 350-500 miles a day and finish in 7 days.

This year they’re riding from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD, crossing 12 states and covering 3000 miles. I can’t imagine ever being in that kind of physical condition. The solo riders are lucky to get anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours of sleep per day. And they have to take in about 8,000 calories to make up for what they burn. That’s a lot of Power Bars!


  1. WOW that's some road race. I would love to be able to eat 8000 calories a day but not in power bars. I think a 25 mile a day bike ride is enough for me. So I guess if they ride Since that's 1/10th of what they ride I guess that means I can only eat 1/10th of what they eat. 800 calories doesn't sound like nearly as much fun.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on the trail. We think we will be out that way this winter and will NOT attempt that hike.

    I am so much like you Gayle. I would have a difficult time watching also.

  3. Lots of activity there. Sure glad Jim didn't get hurt on that fall. I also hate going down slippery steep hills. I remember Rock Hound for one a couple of years ago.

  4. That's just nuts!! I guess if I (or liked) biking I might understand. I am complaining after 20 miles! Guess this race isn't in my future...haha!

    Glad you decided to turn back on that hike. There are times it just is for the best. At our age getting injuried would not be the wisest. Boy, and it would put a crimp in that MH lifestyle. Good to know Jim was all right after the slip.

  5. My parents lived down in Cottonwood, so I've watched many a Hang glider take off from Mingus. It is a leap of faith, isn't it?
    Box Canyon Mark