Huge difference in the ride! Much smoother than before. Today we hit a couple forest roads out of Flagstaff, found some nice big mud puddles to splash through, and a few large rocks to drive on. It was great! No geocaching or hiking, but I always enjoy the drive and scenery.
Gettin' rid of the old
It was a dirty job...
After waiting almost 8 weeks for the lift kit to come in, it finally arrived, (minus one shackle...we had to wait another few days for it)...so Henry spent yesterday installing it. Took about 8 hours, but is finally done!
Our little blue jeep now has an Old Man Emu 3 1/2" lift, new shocks, new springs, new shackles, a sway bar disconnect and transfer case dropdown kit. We can order the 32" tires and new wheels now, and she will be ready for some serious 4 wheeling!
click on picture for larger image
And...away he slithered, rattle and all
Our first rattlesnake spotting! This afternoon, in the barn, at 2:00 in the afternoon....there he was, coiled up perfectly in a small cool corner, just minding his own business. There were four of us....watching him and talking about him, just 8 feet away...he never even flinched. He also never took his eye off us. He knew we were there. After about 10 minutes, he uncoiled himself and slithered away to another cool spot. He was only about 4 feet long and about 8 years old. Greg told us you can determine the age of a rattler by the number of bells they have on their rattle. And Lupe' told us that if the rattler is 4 feet long, he can JUMP 8 feet, if he is 6 feet long, he can jump 12 feet! But not to worry, 'if you don't bother him, he won't bother you', he said.
Henry's plan for tomorrow was to install the lift kit on the jeep....guess where? In the barn! Not to worry, don't bother him, he won't bother you....ay yi yi!
Here we are
Antelope, in the distant
Stage 2 of our 2nd Cache of the day
Another fun day in Arizona! Today we headed for Ft. Tuthill, just south of Flagstaff. We had two Caches in mind we were searching for. We found the first one after walking 1/4 mile. The second cache was a multi-cache (my personal favorite). This multi-cache consisted of 3 finds. The 2nd stage is the photo above...a small metal heart with the coordinates engraved on it. The 3rd stage was the ammo can (the find).
After leaving Ft. Tuthill, we opted for a Forest Road east of I-17, which took us on a great road through tons of Ponderosa Pine. We happened upon TWO Pronghorn Antelope....we were not able to get a good photo...but with our binoculars we definitely got a good look at them. They were beautiful! A male and a female...the male had horns, and amazing coloring. What gorgeous animals! That alone made today entirely worthwhile!
But...onward to the last cache of the day. We found it, no problem. Signed the log book, then headed for home.
Work tomorrow for both of us. Schedules got rearranged again....so we only got 2 days this week.
pretty pink flowers at 9000 feet
Henry with our first find of the day
Elden Lookout, North of Flagstaff
Or should it be "Sandy Steep Trail"?
click on images to enlarge
An awesome day today! We started early (9:00 a.m.), heading up Oak Creek Canyon through Flagstaff and on towards Elden Mountain and Elden Lookout Tower. The weather was great...clear, sunny, and cool.
The gravel road was rough, as it climbed up and around the mountain to 9299'. The gate was locked to the tower, so we couldn't go all the way up, but the views were amazing nonetheless.
Then the fun began. Geocaching! Our first cache was a multi cache, 3 total. That's where the hiking came in...all 1 1/2 miles. Not a very long hike, but it felt good to get out again. With the forest having been closed, it sure put a stop to our activities.
Dark clouds started moving our direction, so we picked up our pace, headed for the jeep and started our descent. And then..here came the rain..and thunder..and lightning...and LOTS of it. It was great!! And scary, all at the same time. (I worry about flash flooding, Henry's concern is lightning.)
We still weren't done playing, and wanted to find at least one more cache. We usually hike the last 1/4 mile or more to any cache, but it was raining so hard. Good thing we have the jeep! We left the road, over the tree stumps, over the rocks, to within 20 feet of it. We found it! The 'rock 'n root' cache! A small round tin filled with trinkets. After signing the log book and rehiding the cache, we ran to the jeep and hit the road.....One last stop...Cracker Barrel in Flagstaff (chicken 'n dumplings/coleslaw/mac and cheese/hashbrown casserole...and blackberry cobbler for Henry) and then home. It was a perfect day.
Deer on Woody Mountain
click on images to enlarge
Back to Jeeping! We've been out the past two days exploring the forest service roads. Yesterday we went to Woody Mountain, an area we were familiar with, but we opted for different roads this time. So many choices, and so many unmarked roads in the mountains. Thank goodness for the GPS and a map!
We spotted a herd of elk...probably close to a dozen of them. Of course the sound of the jeep startled them, so they were up and runnng..too quick and too many trees, so no photos.
Then there are the deer that were trying to nap. (photos above). They don't scare easily, are always listening intently and incredibly curious.
The sky was getting increasingly blacker above us, as the thunder started, then came the rain. We are into the 'monsoon' season here, where it rains hard most every afternoon. There is always danger of flash flooding because the ground does not absorb the water quick enough. So, we have what they refer to as 'monsoons' (thunderstorm) and 'haboob' (dust storm). Why don't they just call it rain and dust?
The Forest Service decided it was too dangerous to keep the visitor's Center open.
The fire had burned the area just above the Visitor Center, and now that the 'monsoon' season is here, falling rocks, landslides and flash floods are very likely. Once again, we are sent home. This means the entire maintenance crew and myself. It is likely this closure will last until Labor Day.
Our boss offered Henry to work fulltime (he's been working just 24 hrs a week), and he offered me a position at Slide Rock Market, 3 days a week. So, maintenance has relocated operations to Crescent Moon (which is where we are), and they have plenty of work. Henry will be working 4 days a week. I worked Sunday at the market 'training' and officially start my 27 hr. week tomorrow. Of course it is all just temporary until probably Labor Day, at which time we go back to our original hours.
Like I said, Ya just never know. I will be able to add lots to my resume! Making ice cream cones, hot dogs on the hot dog machine, filling the nacho machine with cheese.....fun stuff! The cash register and sales I've already been doing at the Visitor Center, so it should be an easy transition.
The best part is, the trails are open for hiking, the jeep roads are open for 4 wheeling!!!!! I cannot wait to get out again!