The first stop was Faywood Hot Springs for a night soak in their hot springs pools. See earlier blogs for more about Faywood.
|Lunch at Tuscon Sweet Tomatoes.|
|My campsite at Picacho Peak State Park.|
The next day, I headed up the front trail (Hunter Trail) to Picacho Peak. It's not an easy hike (Rated: Difficult). Bring a lot of water. When I got to the saddle, I discovered that the trail dropped quite a long ways down the other side before it rose again to head to the top. I wasn't really ready for that drop and decided I wouldn't go all the way to the top on this visit. There is a trail from the back side (Sunset Vista Trail) that doesn't do this unexpected up, down, up. Next time, I will take the back trail up to the top. 2-3 liters of water is recommended for these trails.
|Looking down from the hike up Picacho Peak.|
|The view on the hike up Pacacho Peak.|
|Sign at the Saddle of Pacacho Peak.|
|Meanwhile, back in Los Alamos.|
After my partial hike up Picacho Peak, I headed north to the El Dorado Hot Springs in Tonapah, AZ. El Dorado is a funky place with nice hot springs tubs. If you camp there you get 2 hours of private hot springs use. There is also a public area to soak 24hrs.
I arrived on an early December Thursday. The place was pretty much empty. I signed up to soak in the Desert View pool around sunset time. It was great. After my hour, and wanting more soaking time, I headed to the public area called "Desert Pete." I was the only one in the Desert Pete area my whole time there and enjoyed a full moon while laying on my back in the largest of the hot pools.
I have reviewed El Dorado Hot Springs in a past blog HERE. It's $30 for 1 person to camp, $50 for two. $20 more for each person. (kids $10). Add $5 for access to an electric plug.
I got the Katie's Corner camp site and paid the extra $5 for an electric connection. You have to hunt for a working 15amp connection. Bring a really long electric extension, you might need it.
|"Desert View" hot springs tub at El Dorado Hot Springs.|
Piestewa Peak turned out to be a really great hike. It's a short distance hike at 1.2 miles up but you rise 1,200 feet, so it is a heart pumper! There are fantastic views at the rugged top.
It's a popular hike. Get there early. I got one of the last parking spots at 2:30 pm.
|Lots of folks hiking up to Piestewa Peak.|
|Greg at the top of Piestewa Peak.|
|The top of Piestewa Peak.|
|Sunset on the way down Piestewa Peak.|
|Stealth overnight at the Maricopa Medical Center/Hospital employee parking lot.|
In the morning, I headed to Papago Park in order to eat my breakfast and then to take the short stroll up to Hole in the Rock.
When I was a young lad, my parents bought me a Batman Cape and mask for my birthday. I still remember clearly the moment when I was climbing up to Hole in the Rock and some older boys made fun of my batman outfit.
Ah, the little traumas of life!
|Greg at Hole in the Rock at Papago Park, Phoenix, AZ, sans Batman Outfit. (I do have my "utility belt" or sling.)|
|Looking through the Hole in the Rock with van below.|
|Map of trails northwest of Sedona, AZ|
|On the trail to Devil's Bridge northwest of Sedona, AZ.|
|View from the trail to Devil's Bridge.|
|A couple getting a photo on Devil's Bridge.|
|Georga ladies on Devil's Bridge.|
|Driving through Sedona, AZ.|
|Buffet meal at Twin Arrows Casino Resort|
|Twin Arrows Breafast Cafe.|
|Christmas Tree at Sandia Resort & Casino.|
|A nice walk around Sandia Resort & Casino looking up to the Sandia Peaks.|
The trip was a nice break from the frigid December weather of Los Alamos.