After spending 3 weeks at two different parks in Tucson, early Saturday morning we finally packed it up and made the move north to Phoenix. I must admit that Phoenix is one of those cities I thought we would skip over. In my mind it was nothing more than a large sprawling city crawling with retired folks and overrun with artificially green golf courses. While I suspect I might be partially right in my initial assessment, what I failed to realize is that Phoenix is surrounded by one of our favorite things. Mountains! Lots of mountains! The city is essentially plunked down in wide valley bordered on all sides by a ring of jagged peaks and soft rolling slopes.
On the southeast side of the city lies the Superstition Mountain range. This is where we’ve made our home for the next 12 days. We’re staying at Lost Dutchman State Park which is tucked right up against the Superstition Ridgeline. It’s another nice Arizona state park with scenic views and large sites.
Our site boasts a huge private front yard surrounded by Palo Verde trees. This time of year the prickly, yet lovely, Arizona state tree doesn’t have leaves, but its profusion of spiny branches provides a nice amount of filtered shade over our sitting area. It’s been awhile since we stayed anywhere with vegetation this tall (except the Saguaros of course) so we’re pretty excited about our mini forest in the desert.
The Superstitions are filled with miles and miles of hiking trails. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the hiking possibilities around here with two medium length treks. Both hikes started at our front door and explored the area just east of the campground.
We’ve noticed that in response to a plethora of recent precipitation the desert is beginning to show signs of greening up for spring. We even spotted some wildflowers on the trail!
Besides hiking the only other exploring we’ve done in the area so far is a quick visit to the Goldfield Ghost Town, which resides across the street from Lost Dutchman S.P.. Back in the early 1890s when gold fever raged in the west Goldfield was a booming mining town with a population of five thousand. There was once over 50 working mines in the area and everyone wanted to get their piece. The Goldfield Ghost town is now a tourist attraction with a few original buildings and many more built to look old.
This is one of those places where there is no entrance fee, but everything costs something. There’s a fee for a picture with a cowboy, a fee for a trip down into the mine, a fee for a look in the museum, a fee for a ride on the train, a fee to try your luck panning for gold. Needless to say we weren’t so intrigued that we paid the fee for any of those activities. However, we did enjoy browsing through the shops and looking at some of the authentic mining town artifacts.
We also happened to arrive just in time for the hourly gunfight show.
Overall it was a fun place to spend an hour or two, but if we weren’t staying across the street I am not sure we would have taken the time to seek it out. We have lots more activities planned for our 2 week stay in the Phoenix area. Including a few sporting events, a long mountain drive with a lake visit, some ambitious hiking, a meet up with a couple we meet back in Tucson, and who knows what else. Stay tuned!