Saturday, June 13, 2020

Surprised to Find Boulders in Payson

Feeling the need for another scenic drive and hike, the other day we went up the hill 60+ miles to Payson, AZ, elevation 5,000'. It got pretty warm, in the 80s, before we finished, but still much better than the triple-digit heat in Fountain Hills that day. The Boulders trail, a four mile loop just a few miles from town sounded perfect.

In the summer of 2013 we spent some time camping on the cooler Mogollon Rim (elevation 7,500') another 30 miles from Payson, but only visited Payson to do some shopping, not hiking, since it was pretty hot then. The Boulders trail turned out to be a good choice as it was very scenic, there was a good bit of shade, and although there were some steep ups and downs they were fairly short. Plus we only saw a handful of other people. We did have some trouble finding the actual trailhead due to poor signage and trail erosion, and there were many social trails going off from the main trail, so it was easy to make some wrong turns. But that's part of the fun of hiking, right?

Welcome shade

And plenty of boulders.

We had not seen an alligator juniper in a while.

I am always fascinated by their bark.

We had to take a detour to see what was at the top of this slickrock and for Jim to test out the soles of his new Hoka's.

We found more unusual boulders up there.

The last part of the trail crossed a creek several times. Given how dry it's been we were surprised that there was water.

And now back to Fountain Hills, I found this saguaro with what looked like red flowers on one of my recent morning walks. Turns out after the white flowers have been pollinated they turn into bright red fruit full of tiny seeds, which get eaten by birds and other desert creatures. I guess we've never been here this far into June to see the fruit.

Also spotted this well-camouflaged roadrunner, a rare sight around here.

I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles but there was no room in the RV, and having always owned cats the dining table in our house was not safe. So during these past few months of lockdown this has been a great way to pass some time. This was my favorite so far, although it was not the most difficult.

In other news, the number of Covid-19 cases in Arizona is rising rapidly since things reopened a few weeks ago, while the number of people we see wearing masks appears to be falling. And with the recent protests, the number of cases is bound to go up. I'm afraid it's going to be a long summer. I hope we can find somewhere to escape for a bit.