Tag Archives: Arizona

Mountain Biking in the Pine-Strawberry AZ Area

Jay riding the Pine-Strawberry Trail on his Salsa Fargo

Over the long weekend, Sharon and I agreed we needed to get out and camp somewhere. We decided on Rim Country based on the prediction of perfect weather. The prediction held true. I had a great morning riding the Pine-Strawberry Trail. I rode from our campsite off of Hardscrabble Road up to Fossil Creek Road. This portion of the dirt road was very fast on my bike, a Salsa Fargo 29er.  I then took the Fossil Creek Road on through the town of Strawberry and picked up the Pine-Strawberry Trail.

Unfortunately the video footage above is washed out or over exposed.  I hope future full sunlight footage will be better, as I plan to get a polarizing filter for the go-pro camera. I was wearing sunglasses, but the mixed shade/sun/shade made it hard for me to see at times. It’s so washed out that it is hard to see, but early on in the video the trail is quite steep and I just let the bike roll, plunging off of multiple ledges. Yes, it was a rough ride on a rigid bike.

I still really want to come back at some point and ride the Highline Trail/ Arizona Trail. Of course, if I am still in northern Arizona I do not think I will want to miss the Fire On The Rim race and festival.

Oak Creek Brewery, Sedona, AZ


While riding in Sedona, Sharon and I thought it would be a good idea to visit the local brewery after our ride.  I am glad I didn’t judge this brewery by its bottles.  Going back a few months, I bought Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale in bottles and discovered that their bottling process is not good.  Out of a six pack, two were flat and one tasted terrible. Thankfully the beer fresh out of the tap at the brewery is nothing like that experience.


Sharon really enjoyed trying there winter warmer which I also found tasty. It’s yet another high alcohol beer that does not taste boozy. I also enjoyed tasting their IPA, which was a great example of a beer conforming to a style well.


In the picture above I am enjoying the porter.  This porter had great dark roast flavor with a strong coffee taste.  Of course in the end we filled the growler with the crowd pleasing beer that put this brewery on the map, the Nut Brown Ale (pictured above in the glass on the table).  It’s really terrific and I am so glad I didn’t let a few bad bottles put me off of it.  (Yes, the bad bottle incidents happened with more than one six pack from more than one store).  If you get the chance to have this beer out of a keg don’t miss it. I will still pass on bottles however.


The Nut Brown Ale from our growler was rich, smooth and offered a complex flavor.

Photo Review (& Time Lapse Video): Cochise Stronghold

This past weekend we camped in the Cochise Stronghold campground in the Dragoon mountains.  A rain storm moved in the first night;  it rained all night long which rarely happens in most parts of Arizona.  We woke up the next morning to fast moving clouds and changing light.  I took a bet that the worst of the storm was over and went for a six mile hike to the saddle and back.  It was a great decision since I got to see this area in a unique way with wet cacti and interesting ever-changing clouds.  Jay also went exploring, but he did so on his bike and captured a time lapse video of the clouds.

Time Lapse video, view below or click HERE to view on YouTube.


Cochise Strong Hold in clouds

yucca and alligator juniper

sycamore tree

cattle tank cochise stronghold

Cochise Strong Hold view from saddle

Photo Diary: Our First Bike Packing Adventure

This week we had an unexpected but marvelous adventure!  For awhile now we have been talking about wanting to try bike touring or bike packing, but we weren’t sure where we could try it out that would fit our criteria: A) an easy bike ride B) a safe place to leave our car and C) a nice place to camp.  Well, when we went to visit the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, we got to talking to the staff at the San Pedro House and they let us know that there was a primitive campsite that was accessible by biking or hiking on an easy four mile dirt road.  It only costs $2 for a back country permit.  We were sold on the idea as soon as we learned that we could leave our car in a parking lot that would be locked up over night and watched by volunteer caretakers.  Perfect!  Our first bike pack would be to the Miller Camp along the San Pedro River.


Sharon's bike packed and ready to roll!

birds on tree in san pedro conservation area

This area is special for all of the birds. As we rode along we would spook the birds filling the trees and the would take off flying over the grasslands.

miller camp

After a little confusion over whether or not we were on the right road and getting used to biking with a load, we arrived safe and sound in our primitive camp complete with outhouse and safe food storage.

miller camp

We had the whole place to ourselves and were spoiled for choice of tent locations

We toasted this new milestone with tequila shots as the sun set

We had even remembered to pack a couple of very sour limes!

These tequila shots were gifts in our Christmas stockings from Morgan and Cindi. Thanks!!

The sunset just kept getting better and was one of the most beautiful we have seen lately

I got up at sunrise like usual to take some photos, but it was so cold (at least 25 degrees) that I just went back to the tent to hide out until the sun reached our tent.

The sun was finally melting the frost and we were safe to crawl out of our tent

Jay warmed up over the stove as he heated water for coffee - (another stocking stuffer, thanks mom for the Via!)

I broke out another stocking stuffer, our hand warmers! Boy was it icy that morning.

Our camelbak hoses froze overnight, but luckily we had kept some water in the tent and the camelbaks thawed after an hour in the sun

I invented a great morning snack, warm applesauce! (Without some warming it would have been apple slushy)

Our camp was right next to the San Pedro River and we enjoyed watching some birds here before heading back. We were also told there were mountain lion tracks by the bank, but I couldn't find them.

We were only a day's bicyle ride from the Mexican border. This blimp looked down on us (and the border) and we wondered what kind of data it was collecting.

As we rode back the sky was filled with birds, including this group of hawks circling the area

We took the trail next to the river on the way back and were able to stop at two ponds to check out more birds

Like this heron

Jay's brakes squeal and kept scaring off the birds!

Ok, one more heron photo, just cause I managed to get this one of it flying (we watched it circle the whole area before landing at the other pond)

Finally, the home stretch

Back to San Pedro House

Did I mention there were a lot of birds?

Overall, the overnight bike packing adventure was a success!  We might try it again soon.


Photo Review: Coronado National Forest

For the last week we have been exploring southern Arizona.  We spent two nights camping in two different sections of the Coronado Forest and also enjoyed hiking and biking on the Arizona Trail near Kentucky Camp.  I believe that these areas are Chihuahaun Desert.  Here are some photos from the area.

view of the Santa Ritas from AZ trail


view from AZ trail

cactus with vine

view towards tombstone

vine twisted around tree in desert

view of Whetstone Mountains at sunrise

view from AZ trail

santa rita mountains at sunrise

alligator juniper

48th Week in Review: A Fresh Start

This week we enjoyed celebrating New Years and my birthday.  We also had the chance to ride at McDowell Mountain Regional Park with Jay’s dad.  Today we leave Phoenix and head back to life in motion.  We will be spending the next two weeks (approximately), exploring southern Arizona.  We look forward to visiting Tucson, Bisbee, Sierra Vista, and Tubac.  If you know someone in southern Arizona we should meet up with, let us know.  We are also interested in recommendations for free camping and for volunteer opportunities.

Product of the Week:

Video of the Week:

Hours volunteered:  5 hours, Sharon is working on a project for Fresh Start Treasures

States: 1 – Arizona: Phoenix, Chandler, Tucson

Budget: Even with some expenses this week we managed to stay under thanks to Christmas money.

People Visited: No new visits

Nights under the stars: 1

tammie coe cake

My birthday cake

Best meal: Birthday dinner at Sushi on Shea and a Tammie Coe cake for dessert

Best beer: Alaskan Winter Ale – Jay and I were both pleasantly surprised by this seasonal beer that features spruce tips.

34th Week in Review: Seeing All of Northernmost Arizona

Sharon at bucks farm point

Sharon at Bucks Farm point overlooking Marble Canyon

We have had a busy and beautiful week.  We were set to connect with our 2nd Grand Canyon Trust volunteer trip on Thursday at the Kane Ranch, so we headed down through Utah via the Scutumpah Road (a scenic dirt road that takes you by Bryce Canyon, Pink Cliffs, White Cliffs, and Grey Cliffs).  We had heard from our friend Kirstin, that we had to try mountain biking on the Rainbow Rim trail that overlooks the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was awesome and we will be adding a post about that any day now.  After our ride, and a celebratory milkshake from Jacob Lake Inn, we managed to find a wonderful free campsite halfway down the Kaibab plateau, that overlooked the Vermillion Cliffs.  It was a great introduction to the area where we would be volunteering for the weekend.

swimmers in Lake Powell

Hanging out in Lake Powell (ie, the flooded Glen Canyon)

So from Thursday through Sunday we were volunteering on the Kane Ranch (post to come in the next few days).  We made new friends, ate great food, and watched the sunset every night from the porch of a ranch house built in the mid-1800’s.  What an awesome opportunity.  From there we had a few days until we were scheduled to volunteer in Chinle, so we continued to explore, camping on the edge of Marble Canyon (which leads into the Grand Canyon), swimming in Lake Powell, and then camping on the edge of Thousand Pockets near the historic Dominguez and Escalante route.  We rounded out our tour of northernmost Arizona by driving from Page to Chinle, where we are now volunteering through the Muskoka Foundation.  Jay and I consider ourselves very fortunate to have now thoroughly covered the top of the state.  It is a fascinating and varied landscape.

canyon de chelly spider rock view

View of Spider Rock (spire) at Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, AZ


Hours volunteered: 48 hours (combined) working on the Kane Ranch Native Plant demonstration garden with Grand Canyon Trust and restoring Mule deer habitat in the Kaibab National Forest for National Public Lands Day

States: 2 – Arizona, Kaibab National Forest, Kane Ranch, Page, Chinle;  and Utah (though only in Utah for a couple of hours to go swimming in Lake Powell)

Budget: under

People Visited: none

Nights under the stars: 4, Kaibab National Forest, BLM land near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Canyon De Chelly

Best meal: All of the meals at the Kane Ranch were awesome, but eating Bacon Cheeseburgers with Kane beef on National Public Lands day was particularly special

Best beer:  Ska Brewery Ten Pin Porter — picked up a great sampler pack in Page