art · My Hometown

Prescott’s McCormick Arts District GONE

art-district-sign

The McCormick arts district in Prescott, AZ is yet another one of our quirky attractions that has vanished. We knew that it was just a matter of time before this happened. Off the beaten path, the funky little bohemian community had a rough time attracting gallery going tourists.

The buildings were tiny and old, old, old. Well, you could reasonably call them dilapidated. OK, and maybe a little hazardous, But with the cute, colorful paint colors, they were COOL. Not to mention that they were all filled to the rafters with unique,  original art and a cool coffee shop.

A lot of the art consisted of murals on the sides and backs of the tiny buildings.

So, flip to the present-why am I writing a blog post about something that no longer exists? It’s because I keep running across my old pictures of the street and remembering how much Les and I enjoyed the walk. We loved checking in to see what was new with the gallery owners. And we love art. This post then, is an ode to a happy destination that once was.

The refurbished little cottages are lovely and I’m sure that the people that bought the homes are living happily ever after. But, for Les and I, this is just one more sad loss for the arts in our town.

My Hometown · Travels

Hiking the Peavine/ Watson Lake trail in Prescott, Arizona

The Peavine Trail is 11.9 miles in length. The trail offers fabulous views of Watson Lake and Granite Dells. About 1 mile into Peavine we veered off to the left to hop onto the Watson Lake Trail which skirts the lake itself. Les and I walked for 4 miles today and then turned back, so it was about an 8 mile hike this time.

We started our walk just south of Watson Lake at the large gravel parking lot by the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve. The beginning of the trail is crushed stone and packed dirt. It is about 5 feet wide and is fairly flat. This part of the Peavine was constructed on top of a 19th-century railroad track. It’s a local favorite for evening strolls and family bike rides.

At 5,300 feet above sea level, Prescott and her surrounding area enjoys cool breezes gently tempering the heat of this high mountain desert. Where there is water, wildflowers and wildlife offer ample interest along Prescott’s many hiking trails. Watson Lake is Prescott’s largest lake and is surrounded by bright green cottonwood trees granting shade from Arizona’s almost relentless sun. Late winter and spring are our favorite times to hike these trails. Continue reading “Hiking the Peavine/ Watson Lake trail in Prescott, Arizona”

art · Travels

Visiting the Palatki Cultural Center

The Palatki Cultural Center is awesome! Les and I are interested in ancient ruins as well as artwork from any period of time. This place is rife with both and is located smack-dab in the middle of some of the most amazing red-rock scenery. It gets a HUGE thumbs up from us. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you about our day at the site. (grin)

A gorgeous meadow on the walk from the parking lot to the Cultural visitor’s center where you have to check in.

The very first thing that we learned upon entering the visitor’s center is that we were supposed to call ahead to make reservations. Oooops! After a long, bumpy drive down a dirt road, we could have easily been turned away from the ruins. The reason is that they don’t allow more than 10 people on any given tour. The ledge in front of the dwellings is fairly narrow and really would not comfortably and safely accommodate more than ten. Also, the site can be closed for renovation, rock falls and rain. At times, the walk to the cliff dwelling is closed, so you can only view them from a distance below the cliffs. Continue reading “Visiting the Palatki Cultural Center”

My Hometown · Travels

Bumble Bee to Cleator to Crown King

It was another beautiful day in paradise this past weekend so Les and I took a drive over to Crown King for another art day. For years, people have been asking if we’ve been yet and telling us that we are missing out and it’s so beautiful and yada, yada, yada.

Bumble Bee, Cleator and Crown king are recognized as three of Arizona’s many ghost towns due to the demise of the mining operations in the mid to late 1800’s.

We never actually got out our art supplies on this trip. We did take a few pictures that I used as reference for my art journal when I got home. Continue reading “Bumble Bee to Cleator to Crown King”

Travels

Verde Valley Train Trip Through the Southwest High Desert

If you are ever in Clarkdale, Arizona, take a ride on the Verde Valley Train. You should book in advance as the cars are often filled to capacity. This train trip is a little pricey, but worth a take. I mean, you will spend twice as much as  if you go to a movie and buy refreshments in the theater snack bar, but you will have a better outing, so do it.  OK, maybe three times as much, but it’s not something that you do every day. Continue reading “Verde Valley Train Trip Through the Southwest High Desert”

Travels

Urban Camping in Northern Arizona

wide openSee that teeny little disturbance in the middle of the photo? That is our camp site. Even though Dead Horse Ranch State Park is practically in the town of Cottonwood, AZ, there is still plenty of wide open space and privacy.

Les and I decided to give “Urban Camping” a go this past weekend. Urban camping is about choosing a campsite that is near or in a town or city.
We decided to camp at the Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Camping in Arizona is still kind of strange for us. Coming from Southern California, we are used to driving long distances past housing development after housing development just to get out of town, much less to get to an actual camping spot. We have lived in Arizona for thirteen years already and it still trips us out that we can step out our front door and hit a hiking trail. Being surrounded by this huge blue sky and so much unoccupied land is such a gift to be appreciated and, believe me, we do!.

Les workingSetting up camp: as usual Les was doing  all the work while I goofed off taking selfies. Life is good. (grin)
At Dead Horse camp grounds there are a ton of camp loops ranging from citified (lots of shade trees and fully equipped with electricity and running water) all the way out to the farthest point where we chose. And even that site (tents only) had the most immaculate restrooms and showers we’ve ever seen at a state park. Les said that they were better than some of the hotels that we have stayed in and he is right!

unusual plants at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona
unusual plants at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona

abondoned cabinThis park is an exciting choice because, not only is there a lot of ground to cover, exploring abandoned shacks and ruins, but there is a wonderfully cool, shady lagoon to explore as well. You’ve got such a diverse eco-system within the park. You can hike from a high desert, to a cool lagoon to a shady marshland all in one day. Everywhere you look, the flora, birds and animals are plentiful.

Colorful and comical blue herons hang out at the dock of the lagoon where they steal fish from the buckets of unsuspecting anglers. This waterway is so peaceful and beautiful- an excellent destination if you just want to pack a lunch and go for a relaxing day hike.
the lakeAt the lagoon, there is also kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, and a ton of different hiking trails.

Tadeshi marshOn our second day in the park, we trekked on down to Tavasci Marsh.  It’s a fabulous hike down to a cool, wooded, marsh. It’s quite a surprise to find such an oasis in the middle of a dry Sonoran desert.  One of the rewards to this hike is coming upon a fern covered wonderland. You can see how dense the fine, lacy ferns are in the photo at the upper right corner of this collage.

Tuzigut Ruins, ArizonaFrom the Marsh trail-head, you can look across and see the Tuzigoot Indian ruins in Clarkdale, AZ. Also an interesting site seeing destination best saved for another day.