Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Tuesday, April 3 – We went to nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park today for a hike. This park takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. You can see these mountains off to the North of our campground here in Apache Junction.

We are headed way up that mountain.

These are the mountains Paul rode his bike out to this morning (he didn't realize it at the time). The cost is $6 per car for a day-use pass. They have a campground (We checked a couple weeks ago and they were full.), picnic areas, hiking trails, bike trails, and play areas for the kids.

We chose to hike Wind Cave Trail this morning. This is the park's most popular trail. (More on this fact later). The moderately difficult trail is 1.6 miles one way with plenty of switch backs. Most hikers plan about 2-hours for the round-trip. The steady, 800 feet ascent of the flank of Pass Mountain ends by the trail almost reaching the south peak. Hiking shoes and sticks are recommended. Be sure to remember all this AND this sign.


Wind Cave Trail is a very nice hike. It would rate up with some of the nicest we've taken. Many twisting turns, beautiful cactus and wild flowers, large rocks to climb around and over, beautiful vistas, and over-all a well maintained climb.

Pretty rough in lots of places.4-rough-trail

A bit narrow in many places.8-paul-on-trail

Marsha's back is MUCH better, or she could have never done this hike.9-marsha-going-up

Beauty vistas.

Almost at the top.

At the top…Wind Cave12-at-the-top-wind-cave

BUT.....remember we said it was the park's most popular trail. That means people. People can be annoying. The biggest irritant is there loud and constant bantering. You could hear them talking w-a-y before you passed them on the trail. We were out here to enjoy nature and a hike, not hear some gal discuss her child's soccer match, or what their plans were for dinner.

Then we had the young people who felt it would be more of a workout if they ran the course. Lookout here they come running past you on one of the skinny switch backs.

Trail right on the mountain edge.14-trail-along-mt-ledge

They were polite and thanked you for moving over out of their way though.

I kept thinking there has to be someone talking on a cell phone. That we didn't see, thank goodness! We did see several with earphones listening to music on their phones. One guy didn't bother with the earphones. He just played his music loud enough for everyone to enjoy it.

Of course their were hikers with their dogs (sorry folks) not on leash. The trail head clearly stated that all pets were to remain on leash. That really didn't bother us. They were almost the only wild life that wasn't scared away....ha ha!

Now these last three items take the cake. We saw one lone fellow with a child about a year old sitting on his SHOULDERS. Yep, getting a horsey ride up the mountain. One slip and this fellow would have a regrettable accident.

One guy thought he would show us how strong he is…at the top of the mountain, he decided to do push ups…YES, push ups…OH DEAR!


The #1 CRAZY AWARD goes to the young couple with a several month old baby in a backpack carrier.

Notice…NO HAT on the baby!  These parents are so selfish!15-baby

Of course the baby was hot, uncomfortable, cranky and CRYING!! Paul tried to keep his mouth shut but couldn't resist saying to the fella'...."Please don't fall."  Soon after passing them, we saw them heading back down the mountain with the mother carrying the child in her arms. At least they only went up about a fourth of the mountain.

So what should have been a truly wonderful hike became somewhat annoying. We would do this hike again, but on a cold, windy and rainy day. Just kidding folks! It's a shame to get old and grumpy....ha ha!

More beauty in the desert.
Usery Mts

We have learned NOT to do the popular hikes again. We do HIGHLY recommend hiking this park…just take another trail. It is just so full of beauty!

Why the giant word PHOENIX is painted on the side of a mountain, along with an equally giant-sized arrow? The story begins back in the 1950's, when this sign was first whitewashed on the hillside by a group of Boy Scouts. At that time, the desert surrounding Phoenix was all open desert without much in the way of landmarks; the giant arrow was intended to direct pilots to the Phoenix airport, some 22 miles to the east.

We could see Phoenix from the top of Wind Cave trail…over 20 miles away.

These days, the metropolitan area has grown all the way out to the hills and beyond, and the nearby Superstition Freeway provides an obvious reference, so the sign is pretty much obsolete. Still, in the late 1990's, the sign was repainted by another group of scouts under the supervision of rangers from the nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park. That caused some complaints, so the giant letters will likely never be repainted again -- in these more-enlightened days, the public takes a dim view of defacing the natural scenery.


Watched the Baylor Bears in the NCAA Women's final basketball game. They won 40 games this year. The first time any boy or girl team has done that in the history of basketball. It was a pretty good game.

Wednesday, April 4 - Happy Birthday to our daughter, Kelly. Sorry we can't be there with you this year. We hope you have a wonderful day! Love you!

Kelly sitting in flowers close up

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!


  1. People really can be stupid and annoying. The stupid (especially with a baby) really gets to me. Happy Birthday Kelly.

  2. I think we might have said to the baby's parents, "Oh, too bad baby lost his hat. Now he'll get a sunburn!" Yes, the noise from the competition does get to you, but it is perfectly all right to get older and cranky. Just don't ever get OLD!
    We've heard a bunch about Usery Mountain Park, and would like to visit there some time.

  3. Some people should never be parents. Happy Birthday to Kelly!

  4. As parents and now grandparents, keeping your mouth shut is very difficult. Our newest granddaughter will not sleep unless it's on one of her parents' chests!!!!

  5. Then there are the people in wildlife refuges who wonder why they're not seeing wildlife ... well, let's see ... you're talking loud and you're slamming the door to your vehicle every time you stop. (Grrr)

    As a friend (fellow-Phaeton owner) would say ... IJIOTS! We try to do the popular trails early, early in the day, but that doesn't always work either

  6. Haven't been commenting much, but still following along! You know those Pheonixians are crazy folk....I remember being there our first year in 110-degree weather and people were STILL outside and exercising....yikes!

  7. First thing a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KELLY and second thing is people can be a pain in the A## and no it's not us..

  8. As you know...we can REALLY relate to your hiking experience. Noise is becoming one of our more irritating experiences unless it's birds singing or frogs croaking of course.

    Sure hope that baby was okay...must not have had a grandma to warn the parents about the harmful effects of the sun...especially on a newborn. :-(

    Loved the pictures...the desert flowers were beautiful!

  9. As hot as it's start to get in that area watch out for those little critters that are starting to move about. We loved the RV park at Usery Mountain. It was gorgeous, peaceful and just a great place to be planted for a while.

  10. Loved your beautiful wildflower pictures - so colorful.

    Noise pollution is one of the things that really gets to me, especially when I am trying to enjoy nature. That includes folks in campgrounds who play music or sit outside and watch TV with the volume up so loud it can be heard halfway across the park.

    I hope they at least had sunscreen on that baby. Grrr.

  11. Apache Jct. was one of my favourite spots to hike, we were there for a month last year! loved it! Can't believe they had a small child out on the trail without a hat! Yikes... hard to believe!

    John, RVlifeonwheels

  12. Happy Birthday to Kelly!!

    Great hike and terrific pics despite some of the dumb and inconsiderate folks you ran across.

    It's amazing to see how careless and plain stupid people are on some these hikes and stuff - they must think they're in Disneyland or something.

    We saw parents with toddlers walking towards the edge of the Grand Canyon so they could get a real 'scary' photo! Idiotic!

  13. Usery and McDowell Mt. are our favorite parks around Phoenix. When we did the Wind Cave hike it was in Feb and only a couple other adults on the trail so it was perfect. Except that I sprained my ankle going up in one of those really rocky areas. Thought Jim was going to have to carry me down the mountain but I made it. Kept me from hiking for about a week, though.
    You might want to try one of the hikes near Lost Dutchman SP. May be be less people there.


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