Sunday, March 5, 2017


Sunday, March 5 – We took another hike this morning in Usery Mountain Regional Park near Phoenix. We combined several trails to make a little over a 4-mile hike. Moon Rock was part of the hike and is an excellent hike with ups and downs. Great for mountain biking.

Moon rock hike

We can’t get over how green the desert is.Moon rock hike

Maybe this is where Moon Rock trail got its name.Moon rock hike

Moon rock hike

Moon rock hike

We've sure enjoyed this park, and the many hiking opportunities. We looked into extending our stay here but there are no vacancies.

Last night we attended a movie at the Nature Center entitled “Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert.” It was about life in the desert during the four seasons. We think the five comes from adding the rainy season to the four regular seasons.  It had no spoken lines, only the sounds of nature in the desert. Lasted about an hour and was pretty enjoyable. Well attended too – a full house.

Jan, Bill and Jan RVing in the USA, suggested that we check with the Ranger what the big Phoenix sign on the side of the mountain means. Marsha did just that. Here is what she found out.

A former WWII pilot was convinced some sort of directional aid was needed to help pilots find Phoenix. In the 1950s, the Air Explorers Boy Scouts cleared away brush and arranged rocks to spell “PHOENIX” on the southern slopes of one of the peaks in the Usery Mountains. They painted the rocks white, and it was fronted by a large white arrow pointing to the airport, located almost thirty miles away. Each letter is about 100 feet high and 12 feet wide.  The tip of the arrow to the end of the word, the sign is 1,00 feet across— that’s about the size of the Eiffel Tower. Now you know the rest of the story!

Phoenix sign

One last photo from Marsha. On her bucket list to get a photo of a javelin, Gambel’s quail, coyote and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Well, guess what. She got one of the four and is she thrilled. Doesn’t take much to make her happy.

Gambel’s quail.
Gambel's quail

This is our last day in the mountains north of Phoenix. Tomorrow we move down to Apache Junction. We will miss Usery Mountains but put it on the list of places we might want to return to again.

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


  1. I hope moving down into the city after this wonderful mountain retreat is not too big a culture shock. But, say hi for me to all our friends you see down there.

  2. I don't blame Marsha one bit...that Gambels Quail is very handsome!! I've never seen one either and would love to!! Congrats Marsha!!
    The Usery area is so pretty!!
    Safe travels you two!!

  3. I meant to mention...what an interesting story about the Phoenix sign on the mountain side. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Yes, the desert is unbelievably green this year. All of the Maricopa County parks are really nice, and popular. Apache Junction will be quite a change from Usery Mtn!

  5. Thanks for the background on the Phoenix sign!! Who knew!

    We saw a Gambel's quall today, also! Didn't get the camera out fast enough. Great photo!

  6. Love your picture of the Gambel's Quail all over the place here but have yet to get a good picture of one yet.!

  7. Love the cactus with the two beautiful birds resting on it.

  8. We've seen that sign. Thanks for the story.

  9. I thought you would like Moon Rock. We ride it one way then do some other trails. Then we ride the opposite way before ending the ride.

  10. Looks like a great place to visit.

  11. Love the story about the Phoenix sign. I find that I have an odd fascination with goofy signs like this, so we find ourselves seeking them out so I can get a picture.

    I somehow missed seeing the Phoenix one when we were there. Must have been distracted by Spring Training, and having the coach in the shop. . .again!

    We are going back eventually. I'll need to search it out. Loved this post. . .


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