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.


  1. That 4 mile loop trail of boulders is a fantastic escape from the city. The desert "fruit" and your jigsaw puzzle are beautiful, thank you for sharing :)

  2. We've hiked that boulder trail in Payson!

    We may head out for a few weeks in September without Rosie, we'll check with you to see if you'd like to stay in Prescott...

  3. What a beautiful hike! Any outing these days feels like a huge adventure to us. I think it's going to be a long summer, too. We're still social distancing and wearing masks when we have to go to the grocery store, but lots of people here seem to think the virus has magically gone away. :-(

    1. Yes, we are learning to appreciate the small things these days.
      Many are behaving the same around here and it scares the crap out of us! All we can do is wear our masks and try to avoid going in too many public places.

  4. We love finding new boulder landscapes - these are great! We really liked Payson and hope to get up there again. Hopefully Arizona will take some positive steps to curtail the spread and we can get out and see more soon.

    1. We were hoping to get back to Payson for some other hikes but now there is a huge fire which has the highway closed.It's always something. As far as Covid is concerned things are not looking good for AZ but at least Maricopa County mandated mask wearing in all public places yesterday. Hope that helps to some extent. We really wanted to take a trip this summer but just don't feel comfortable doing so, especially without an RV!

  5. What a wonderful hike filled with my favorite! I am hoping we can find a saguaro here in town that has the red fruit. I would love to see one in person. We are looking to head to Ruby's RV Park in Bryce for a ten day escape at the end of July. Their newer sites in the back are huge with a giant lawn and lots of separation. We figure we won't hike in the NP but outside in Red Canyon where no one goes. We can also do wome Jeep trips. But just getting out of the heat will be a nice change. I, too, have been doing jigsaw puzzles. As a matter of fact I have a serious addiciton. I have completed nine 1000 piece and four 500 piece. I just had two arrive from Books a Million, two from Drowdle, and got three from our local ACE hardware. They should last for a few weeks...haha! It's nice that our local hardware store ordering them. That's where I found my first two.