Saturday, March 22, 2014

Roosevelt Dam and the Apache Trail

March 17 - 21, 2014:

After picking up our mail at the Globe post office (our new South Dakota license plates and registration), it was Adios to Globe and onward on Rt 188 up over a steep pass to Roosevelt Lake.  

Roosevelt Lake is a huge recreational area, enormous, with eight developed campgrounds that contain 1,500 campsites and several boat ramps and marinas. This area is jointly operated by the National Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture.  It is all first come, first served campsites, nice size campsites with picnic tables, shade armadas, fire pits, Toilet/Bath house, potable water, but no hookups or amenities.  It is a really great boating and fishing area that attracts people from all over.  They have a crazy camping system here, to camp you first need a Tonto Pass which you can only get at local merchants or the ranger station, but not at the Campground ?  This pass is a card with scratch off boxes for the date and is good for only 24 hours. Since we are staying 5 days, we had to buy 5 cards, one for each day and we have to put a new card on the vehicle with the new date scratched off each day. Seems like a wasteful and inefficient method ! 

Tonto Pass
While I'm on a rant, another thing, they have about 1,500 campsites here, but no store of any kind where you can buy necessities such as water, ice, beer, snacks, etc and also only two part time dump stations.  Also only one privately owned gas station/store at the south end of the recreation area, that's it, otherwise you must drive 30 some miles to Globe or Payson for anything. The recreation area could be making considerable money with some kind of store here, I would think ?    

On Wednesday, we went to the Tonto National Monument practically across the road from the campground.  This is a Salado Indian cliff dwelling site that is remarkable.  There is a lower and a upper cliff dwelling, however the upper is only accessible by guided tours on weekends.  The view from the cliff dwelling was really beautiful although todays lake in the distance did not exist back then.  If it had the Salado might still be here.  They were productive farmers who built irrigation canals from the river to water their crops and were also hunters and gathers.  They developed a style of Polychrome pottery with intricate designs that became most popular.  They disappeared sometime in the mid 1400's, it is speculated due to the harsh cycles of drought and flooding here. This also plagued the early US settlers, which led to building the Roosevelt Dam which in turn led to the development of the whole Phoenix metropolitan area.  Progress ? 

Tonto Cliff Dwellings

Interior of Cliff Dwellings

Interior view of cliff dwellings

View from the cliff dwellings, Roosevelt lake in distance

View of Roosevelt Dam on display at visitors center

View of Roosevelt Bridge

Another angle of the bridge

View of Roosevelt Dam, the original Dam was all masonry block construction.
The Dam was modified latter to raise to a higher height and to strengthen.

The pretty side of Roosevelt Dam

Thursday I went off in search of adventure with a drive from Roosevelt Dam to Tortilla Flat on the Apache Trail.  Twinkles declined as she is not fond of roads that have endless drop offs with minimal or no guard rails. It is 26 miles in length, 22 of which is dirt and not smooth dirt, but mostly a bumpy, corduroy surface.  It is also narrow in places, sometimes one lane only, steep, curvy and dusty.  The Jeep has a stiff suspension and rides very rough, had to keep the speed low so I wouldn't dribble over the edge in places. The scenery however is world class, especially the most scary parts near Fish Creek.  I did have a minor accident off the road taking a photo, when I lost my balance, fell into a cactus, scrapped by leg and landed on an anthill. I broke my fall with the camera, but somehow did not seem to damage it.  Overall not much damage, except for about an hour with needle and tweezers picking out cactus needles.

View of Salt River from the Apache Trail

Apache Trail view, nice Bridge

Brittle bush are blooming everywhere

Poppys all over too !

Something in Daisy family, should know

View of Apache Lake from Apache Trail

Interesting Saguaro's along trail

Luscious green Cottonwood Trees along creek

Taking a break from the brain rattling ride

Headings down into Canyon area

View in the Canyon

Over the bridge then up the narrow ledge above 

It was worse than it looks here

Coming back up from the other side, better on the inside of road

Nice camp fire setting along trail

In spite of my slip, I got the photo I wanted

Another common flower in bloom everywhere

Theodore Roosevelt, traveled on the Apache trail to the dedication of the Roosevelt Dam on March 18, 1911 and said the following about the trail in his speech;
"The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have, to me, it is most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful".  (He did have a way with words.)

In that vein, I'm now hooked on Tony Hillerman books, who also has a way with words.  I am now on my third book this month, might be a record.  Twinkles, the original bookworm is very impressed.  The books take place in the Navajo and Pima Indian country where we are headed.  I'm trying think more like an indian these days

We are taking short hops north with the next one on Friday to Payson, Arizona.  We plan about 4-5 days there to recharge with a full hookup campsite.  Lots to see and do in Payson, it's Zane Grey country.

Keep on moving On,
Twinkles and Slick


No comments:

Post a Comment