When I last blogged we were about to go camping in Cottonwood AZ for a long weekend.Our friends Janell and Mark invited us to join them and some of their friends at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood AZ. Cottonwood AZ was settled in the late 1800's along the Verde River, with a population of approx 11,000 it's a wonderful small city with all the conveniences you need. With mild winters and maybe 4" of snow a year I can see where it's popularity has come from. With Sedona to the north, Jerome and Prescott to it's south you have access to a wide variety of activities. Definitely a place I'd like to go back and spend more time exploring. We were there during spring break which meant that many places we wanted to visit were too crowded for our taste.
We were in site 24, so as to be near our friends, which was a little tight for us with a tree overhanging the back part of the drive. When we go back there is a another section where the sites are a bit larger.
Since the touristy places were crowded we decided to visit a few of the national monuments in the area. Our first stop was at Tuzigoot National Monument where the pueblo remains are of the Sinagua people who once inhabited this area. Their village was near the Verde River where they farmed and thrived for many years.
Montezuma Castle was our next National Monument, this park is located closer to Camp Verde and was inhabited by the same Sinagua people, they though built their homes into the cliff side instead of on the valley floor.
Verde Canyon Railroad.
We opted to go first class which turned out to be a great experience. Champagne toast as soon as we were underway, appetizers, fruit and light desert were also served. 4 hours later we were all saying what a great experience it had been.
The train had to slow to a crawl while waiting for the local free range cattle to get off the tracks.
While our desert cacti were blooming profusely we decided to pay Desert Botanical Gardens a visit, what a display they had there.
Our friends Cindy and Paul invited us to join them on a sunset cruise around Saguaro Lake on the Desert Belle. Saguaro Lake is named after the Saguaro Cactus and is the last of a series of lakes made by the damning of the Salt River.
There is a primitive campground on the lake, the only access is by boat...guess we won't be camping there.
Dinner lakeside outside, a great way to end a great evening with good friends.
Dave of course has been taking lots of pictures around the park here and at Spur Cross, sunsets, flowers, wildlife and the full moon have been fodder for his camera.
Until next time...