Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spring is in the air!

I know that those of you in the north eastern part of the continent don't believe it, but here in the Arizona desert, they are saying that we're in for an early spring!

And on our guided hike yesterday at Tonto National Monument, the wildflowers were blooming.

We rode our bikes from our camping spot over the the picnic area near the Monument visitor center and then walked the rest of the way up the hill. We used our National Parks Pass to avoid paying the $3 each admission charge. We're keeping track over the next year to see if we get out money's worth out of that $80 pass.

Tonto National Monument is two cliff dwelling ruins sites that were built and occupied by the Salado Indians between the years 1200 and 1500. There is an upper site and a lower site. The lower site is easily reached from the visitors center, and anyone is allowed to visit during opening hours.

But the upper site you can only visit as part of a guided tour and you need to register in advance. They begin at 10:00am, and are held approximately 4 times per week.

The lower cliff dwelling is easily seen from the visitors center parking lot.

Our guide Davis, giving us a pre-hike talk.

They limit these group hikes to 15 people, which I think is pretty good. There were 12 in our group yesterday. The hike itself is a mile and a half each way, with an elevation gain of 600 feet. A fairly easy hike for us, and we also stopped quite a few times along the way so that Davis could tell us something about what we were seeing along the route.

An actual forest?

There's an underground stream running along this section, and as such there's a water source for the plants. There are actual trees here! So, there really is a forest in Tonto National Forest!

A nice view along the way.

That's where we're headed.

Stopped for a snack at the top. You're not allowed to bring food or your backpack into the ruins.

The ruins are in pretty good shape considering their age.

Our group.

They had a pretty good view from up here!

Originally, there were 40 rooms here, with approximately 100 people living here!

We spent about 45 minutes up there, discussing the various artifacts and building methods. Davis was a good guide. He's still an intern, but he knows his stuff!

We were then allowed to remain at the top as long as we liked, and to hike back down individually so everyone can go their own speed.

Heading back down.

They say the spring wildflowers are out a little early this year.

Pretty flowers.

This hillside gets lots of sun.

The flowers lined both sides of the trail.

California Poppies.

These flowers were tiny.

Bright purple.

It was a good hike. The entire trip totaled just over three hours.

You may not hear from us for a couple of days. We're headed to the Burnt Corral Campground this morning, and I doubt that we'll have a cell signal there.

Thanks again for doing your Amazon.com shopping through our links here at Travel with Kevin and Ruth. You pay the same great price that you would anyhow, plus we make a small commission on anything you buy once you've clicked the link. :-)

Check out this great deal on potato chips!



28 comments:

  1. Loved the photos and the dwellings.

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    1. Thank you! It is amazing the great condition that the dwellings are in, the Parks Service has not restored them in anyway other than to put up a couple of supports to protect them from any further decay.

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  2. Very neat. I've been to Mesa Verde in Colorado which has similar dwellings - so neat to think how long those have been there.

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    1. Other than visiting the Lower Cliff Dwelling here back in 2005 we have never seen cliff dwellings anywhere else. We look forward to seeing some of the real big ones like Mesa Verde and the ones in New Mexico.

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  3. Our first year, we got our money's worth out of the pass and waaayyy more! Great pass. Wait till you become as old as us and get the America The Beautiful pass. Awesome!

    Amazing and gorgeous opportunity you two had. Thanks for sharing the "behind the scenes" photos.

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    1. It is the America the Beautiful Pass that we have, I think you are talking about the Senior's Pass which I don't believe we would be eligible for because we are Canadian. The Senior's Pass is only for U.S. Citizens or permanent U.S. residents. :-(

      I am pretty sure we will get our money's worth out of the pass over the next year. This way we won't hesitate to stop somewhere in order to use it!

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  4. I just discovered this area online the other day. I'm hoping we can travel there in April. Great pictures. Now I'll have to look back over your previous posts. I got here from your post on boondocking on fb. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Debbie. Hope you will find some helpful information here. Tonto National Forest is a great spot for boondocking, we have been enjoying our time here. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us either by email (toward the top of this page on the right handside bar) or through our facebook page.

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  5. Spring flowers and saguaro...two of my favourite things! We visited this park years ago, but did not take the guided walk as our daughter was quite young. Perhaps we will in the future.
    http://www.20YrsFromNow.com

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    1. We are so happy to see the spring flowers here in the desert. It totally amazes us that there are so many varieties of them.

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  6. Love the spring flowers in the desert such a nice change from most of the year there.

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    1. Yes they are a nice change. We are hoping that we will even get a chance to see the cacti bloom while we are here.

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  7. Way cool! Thanks for the great photos. Looks like it was a beautiful hike, too! Grace (in Tucson)

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    1. Hope you take to time to stop in here when you are finally "free", Grace and Steve!

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  8. Love native American ruins. As for the weather, the last of the leaves fell the second week of December. Now they are all coming back and the neighbors fruit trees all have blooms! I love Mexico!

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    1. We are totally amazed at how well preserved these ruins are, I guess it helps that they are protected from the elements by being in a cave.

      Glad that the spring weather is on it's way there Chris. We love Mexico too! :-)

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  9. Ohhh love the flower shots! We have a seen a few blooms in NM but not that many. Sunny today and hope we avoid any more snow!

    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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    1. We are enjoying the flowers too!

      Looks like cold weather is headed our way. We have to adjust our route now that temperatures are going to be well below freezing up around Flagstaff. Hoping we can stay just south of the cold front.

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  10. We bought a national parks pass last year, and I don't think we quite got our $80 worth if you only count the number of park admissions it helped us avoid HOWEVER, we still feel that we totally got our money's worth as the places we went were priceless, and we're more than happy to give a little extra to help them stay that way!

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    1. We did that a few years ago as well but as you said you still get your money's worth because the parks are so beautiful and have so much to offer. Hopefully this time we will be able to really put the Pass to use.

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  11. great day for a hike! thanks for sharing all the photos..the views are amazing from the ruins!

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    1. The weather was absolutely beautiful for the hike and so were the views.

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  12. Your new Buddy Heater is about to get a major workout! Deep week-long cold snap will hit Arizona Saturday. Whatever you do, stay below the Mogollon Rim.

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    1. We are looking over our route and it looks like we may have to make a few changes because of the "deep freeze". We don't mind giving our Mr Heater a workout but we don't want it too work that hard! We will do our best to Dugg, thanks for the warning.

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