We arrived at Dead Horse and found that we had the most amazing spot in the Park…lucky us! I actually had made the reservation a year before so that the reason we got the best site. Even the ranger at the check-in station said wow you guys have the best site and for two weeks! The history of this state park was pretty interesting. It started out as a ranch in the late 1940s. The ranch got named Dead Horse by the kids of the parents that bought the ranch. They had spent several days in the area looking for a ranch to buy and after they had tour all the ranches the father ask the kids which ranch they liked. They told him the one that had the dead horse on it. So Dead Horse Ranch it was. After the family sold the ranch to the state of Arizona in 1973 the one condition of the sale was they kept the name of the Ranch. Giving it the name The Dead Horse Ranch State Park. How cool is that!
Once we got set up and settled in we headed out to do some exploring we had three months in Yuma and we was ready for some different scenery and a few hikes. Lucy was happy to be outside again too. Yuma got way to warm for us at the end of our stay there.
Our first town we visited was Prescott it was about one hour and half drive from Cotonwood…the drive would take us up over route 89A through a old mining town named Jerome and when I mean up and over a mountain – WOW – it was crazy but very cool drive. The first time through was enough for us we came back to Cottonwood a different way but we would definitely head back to Jerome at some point.
We spent Cinco De Mayo day in Jerome. This once historic copper mining town could be found tuck away near the top of Cleopatra Hill between Prescott & Flagstaff. It was once known as the wickedest town in the west. It has a bit of a hippie flair to the town with many shops complimenting that theme. We had a great lunch at Bobby D’s BBQ and a pretty good margrita to celebrate the day!
Our visit to a National Monument was to Tuzigoot Monument in Clarkdale AZ. Tuzigoot is an ancient village built by a culture known as the Sinagua. The Pueblo consist of 110 rooms including second and third story structures with the first building being built around A.D. 1000. This is one of two ruin sites we visited while in the area. Another stamp in my National PassBook. Very cool!
Our next town to visit was Sedona. Oh my gosh, amazing scenery, red rocks, and some awesome hikes and drives we took. The first thing we went to see was the Chapel of the Holy Cross Johnny surprised me with this pick. I had no idea what it was. Wow was all I could say when we first got there. The architect was a woman Marguerite Staude. Initially, she had envisioned the chapel as a modern-day skyscraper cathedral that would encircle one city block. Her early sketches impressed Lloyd Wright, the son of famous architect Frank Llyod Wright, but the archbishop in LA would not approve the sketches. Then a nunnery in Budapest was interested in the design and planned to build it above the Danube River. Unfortunately, WWII would stop those plans. After her parents past, she then decided to build the chapel in Sedona, a place she had become to love. Staude had changed her plan for the Chapel and Lloyd Wright was clinging to the original plans so therefore he would not work with her. So she hired a firm named Anshen & Allen from San Francisco. They jumped at the chance to build this unique Chapel. The Chapel was completed in 1957 at the cost of 300 thousand dollars and it quickly became recognized nationally. In the early years, the Catholic church held services in the chapel but it quickly became too small to meet the needs of the Sedona Catholic community so it became a shrine for people of all faiths. How cool is that!
Next stop in Sedona was a hike with Lucy. She had to stay in the car at the Chapel of the Holy Cros so now it was her turn to explore the Sedona back country. Right down the road was the Coconino National Forest and we took the Mystic Trail hike. Amazing scenery which included a small snake, beautiful flowering cactus, agave plant, unique Juniper tree and those gorgeous red rocks. It was a great hike!
Back at Dead Horse, we decided to go find the Verde River and explore some of the state park. The trail was right out our door and it wound around the backside of the park. We hiked about a mile to the river and then followed the path along the river bank around and came out on the other side of the park. It was a pretty cool hike all by ourselves. We never saw one person on the trail so you actually feel like you have the park to your self. Which is pretty darn awesome!
We headed back towards Sedona for a day of exploring. First stop would be the ruins at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site in the town of Rimrock. This site is the largest known Petroglyph site in the Verde Valley. If you have the National pass it free to get in otherwise it is five dollars and well worth a visit if you are in the area. From the visitor center it just a half mile walk to the ruins. The rock art consists of 1032 petroglyphs in 13 panels. The petroglyphs were created by Southern Sinagua residents between 1150 & 1400 AD. The site was known to early American settlers and became a part of the historic V-Bar-V ranch around 1907.
A solar calendar is also incorporated into the panel by taking advantage of the gap in the cliff to the right and several stones that have been placed in one of the crevices. A sun dagger lines up with certain symbols to mark the passing of both summer & winter solstices and the spring & fall equinoxes. These calendars are important for planting and also for timing of religious ceremonies for the blessing of moisture for crops and other necessities of life. After the ruins we would continue towards Sedona with a drive down lower & upper red rock canyon road. The red rocks are just amazing and no picture is going to show the true beauty of this area. John and I fell in love with the beauty of the red rocks.
We went to a trail head that had caves at the end of it. It was a bit of a climb up and over lots of rocks and down, down and over lots of rocks that made up the trail. We did make it all the way down to the first cave. I had to bail out I got a bit dizzy so Johnny went down and got some pictures. Nonetheless it was another amazing hike, views, and picturesque photo opt. Life is sure good for Johnny and I as we are on a journey of our life.
The drive to Sedona is just so cool. Along the way you will see some amazing statues or unique art work in one of the many round-a-bouts you drive through. Just a very cool cool place to visit. I would say it should be on everyones bucket list. Lunch was in uptown Sedona with amazing views.
We went to uptown Sedona and had lunch and this was our view at Open Range Grill & Tavern. There are lots of places to eat and lots of shopping you can do. Just a very cool town and it has several different areas that offers so much to do and see.
Our last day in Cottonwood we spent a few hours in old town..we had lunch outside and then hit the streets to do some “Antique shopping” nothing like spending a few hours walking through two acres of Antiques. Johnny now loves doing this with me and of course I am always looking for something for our forever home…whenever that may be 🤔