I know this is a long post. I probably should have made it into several posts, but we have been so busy here in Arizona time just gets away from me. We decided to spend the month of March in one of our favorite areas in Arizona. There are three reasons we love it it here. First, the weather this time of year is sunny and in the highs are 70’s or low 80’s. Second the beauty of the mountains and desert landscape here is right out of a painting and the landscape provides for the most amazing hiking. And third the friends new and old that we have made here make this area such a pleasure.
There are two choices of campground here near Phoenix. There are state and county parks with large sites, lots of georgeous hiking trails and ranger led activities. These campgrounds have water and electric, but no sewer connections so we need to use the shower houses and laundry mats. The other options are in the valley. These private campgrounds and have full hook ups and pools, but no inspiring views or spacous sights. This trip we choose our favorite county park for most of our month long stay along with a state park for a week to keep things interesting. This meant a trip to the shower house every evening which Marcus and Caroline don’t mind and Grammy Red was a good sport about when she visited. The showers here at Usery Mountain Regional Park are very clean and have lots of hot water if you find the right one.
Recently I read a blog by another fulltime traveler where Charles Swindoll was quoted. He said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Living this lifestyle definitely lends itself to positive thinkers. We are so blessed to be able to realized what is really important to us and that is quality time together.
During Grammy Reds week long visit we went on a full moon hike, went to a ghost town, did some shopping at the swap meet and went kayaking. Marcus and Cali had lots of activities planned to do with her and she helped them make banners for all their Junior Ranger badges. Marc and I were able to spend a fun evening with another fulltime couple. We talked for hours and even had to find another place to hang out when the restaurant closed.
Usery Mountain Regional Park https://www.maricopa.gov/parks/usery/ has a plethora of hikes and programs for all ages. The ranger and volunteers here are the most informative we have found. We attended programs on wolves, bald eagles, rattle snakes and wildflowers. We went on a desert scavenger hunt, a wild animal safari and hiked to see an old mountain lion den. We went on a flashlight hike to find nocturnal animals and Ranger B taught us about desert edibles. One Friday evening we went to see “Desert Animals Outlaws and Skeletons” at the nature center. Marcus and Caroline participated in a fun activity called “Kid Versus Wild” where they learned how to survive in the desert. This park truly is a gem and the kids even had a chance to volunteer here with younger children which they were really excited about.
We were lucky to have several other fulltime families visit the area. We enjoyed a day at the science museum with one family and were so glad when two other families we knew decided to stay in the park! I had a great day shopping with the girls and the kids enjoyed hanging out on the playground with new friends.
We spent a few nights at Lost Dutchman State Park http://azstateparks.com/Parks/loDU/index.html while we were here. One day, with the encouragement of our friend Pat Polosky (our good friend Kelly’s dad) we decided to hike the Siphon Draw Trail to the Flat Iron. The first two miles to the basin weren’t too bad. Just a 1000 foot gain over the two miles. The last mile climbed 2000 feet. It was the most difficult climb I have done. Really the hardest part was the strain on you legs on the way back down while you were taking care not to slip. After seven hours we made it back to the truck. My legs were sure sore for a few days.
Marcus and Cali were excited to see their friends Cole and Jonah and spend the night with them at their grandparents the Polosky’s ( Kelly’s parents.) They always make us feel right at home. These four have a great time together and I really love the food their parents serve from their Uprooted Kitchen Food Truck!
We were able to get together on several occasions with our friends the O’Donnell’s. Marc has really been happy to have his friend Mike near by and the kids sure had fun together.
Our next stop is the World’s Best Roadschooling Convention with Fulltime Families in Tucson!