Monday, July 10, 2017

Lake Mary Rd and Willard Springs, near Flagstaff

Lake Mary Road

After leaving Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico, Katie and I traveled to the Coconino National Forest south of Flagstaff, AZ to meet up with Mike for week.  He was camping with Chris, who I met in Sedona, and so it was nice to see them both.

They told me there are a lot of antelope and elk that pass by every day, but they are both early risers, and by the time Katie and I are up and outside, the wildlife are long gone.  But one evening, I did notice movement in front of The Palms over by the treeline and grabbed my camera.  I saw three Pronghorn Antelope Elk grazing.  It was dusk, so these are kind of dark, but so far they are the only photos I have of these animals.  These are the best, clearest ones.  I couldn't get a good shot of all three, one was always behind a bush!  NOTE:  After posting this, I received some comments saying these are not Antelope, but Elk.  Thanks to you all - I had info on Pronghorn Antelope on this post, but deleted it, since it's no longer relevant.  I don't know why, but it's even cooler to have seen Elk.  😊

Aren't they beautiful?

Our campsite in the Coconino Forest.

It looks like I'm alone, but you can see Chris' motor home next to me and Mike's van a little further away in the photo above.  We had some nice chats while we camped together.  Then Chris left because of the 14 day rule, and Mike and I stayed on. 

On one of my walks I noticed something weird hanging in a tree - right about eye level.  I walked over to see what it was, and this is what I saw:

Usually cocoons are not see-through, like the one I found on the rock in my last post.  This one looks like it's encased in a spider web.  I can't imagine what kind of insect is inside, or what it's becoming.  But spiders lay eggs, right?  So this isn't any kind of spider.
 It doesn't look like anything I've seen before!  What do you think?  Have you seen one of these?  Do you know what it is? 

And then a miracle happened!  Coming from high 90 temperatures in New Mexico, I was hoping I had made the right decision, and that our weather south of Flag would be cooler.  And I started to hear pop, Pop, pop, POP, POP!  I looked out the window and it was HAILING!  Hail pounding on the roof - I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.   Then hail and rain, then just rain. I don't know how many degrees we dropped in about five minutes, but it was dramatic.  I was hot, then I was reaching for a sweatshirt.  Sweet, holy hail, Batman!

Here's the hail - kind of like manna from heaven to starving people.  Hail from heaven to roasting people.  (Apologies for any offense to religious people.   Of which I am actually one.  You had to be there to appreciate how great this was.)  
Look at this beautiful crescent moon:

Crescent and full moons are my favorites.  I love the crescent moons because they are beautiful, and the full moons because they give us so much night light wherever I'm camping. 

Willard Springs

Right before the 4th of July weekend, I moved over to Willard Springs to join Jeanne and John.  I expected it to be crowded in that area, it has been before when I've been there over a holiday weekend, but this time it was almost empty.  Maybe because there were no fires allowed due to the high fire danger.  And no fireworks allowed, either.  So we pretty much had the place to ourselves, other than a few other rigs, and could park where we wanted.

But there's sometimes a downside.  It was painfully obvious that recently there had been a TON of ATVers in the area, because all the roads had dust galore on them.  An inch or more of fine dust.  Any time someone drove by, clouds of dust were raised, and if there was even the slightest breeze, it came over and hung in the air.  You could see it, you could taste it, and you knew it was filling your lungs with dust.

These were taken when there was no wind.  When it was breezy, it just floated over overthing.

On the upside, there are a lot of good birds in the area, and we were there when the Acorn Woodpeckers were out working the trees.  They are so pretty:

And these cute squirrels were running around.

One evening I went outside and glued the rear view mirror back on the side mirror housing - it was a permanent glue that I got at Napa Auto in Flagstaff, and they said it would work.  So, I glued it on, held it until it was tacky enough to tape, and taped the heck out of it.

It only needed a few hours to cure, so in the morning, I removed the tape and it looked and felt like it was, indeed, a permanent fix.  Fingers crossed!

It was nice to get that taken care of.

It started heating up again, so Katie and I moved to another camping area at Willard Springs, where we were the very first time we camped here.  It has more trees, and I wanted shade - a big shade tree to park under to keep us cooler.  Even though there was only one other camper down a ways from us, and it's beautiful, I didn't like this area any more either.  We stayed only one or two nights.  Late one afternoon I walked the whole area, down the road to where I was parked early in 2016, and all around.  I couldn't find were I was parked before.  The whole area looked totally different to me.

There were roads criss-crossing the entire area made by ATVers - all dusty and dirty. There wasn't a large enough area to park an RV that would get you away from the noise and dust if they were racing back and forth on the roads.  Which - when the ATVers are there - is what they do.  And the weekend was coming.

I don't know if things are really changing or if I'm just being a complainer.  But I've been here before and loved it.  😟 

I did see this neat tree on my walk, though.  I wondered what was inside the hole, but didn't get close enough to look.

There's probably something living in there.

When I took Katie out for her potty walks, she came back into The Palms with her paws coated in dust, and I had to wash her feet.

So...  back to the weather apps to see what was going on at Bluewater Lake.  Had the temps come down there at all yet?  Yes! Thank goodness for wheels under our house! I packed up and the next morning, we headed back to Bluewater.  That's where we're parked now - for two weeks.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon, not hoping for a non-reservation electric site to be available, just hoping for cooler temps.  And guess what?  We were able to get an electric site.  The last one...  I immediately snagged it, not even looking for anything else.  Paid for two weeks - at $4 per night with the annual pass, how could I not?  And we're golden.  Yup.  And happy as clams.

The weather has been GREAT!  Warm, some rain on and off, then sun comes out again.  I guess we're in the beginning of Monsoon Season?  Yesterday I bleached some white tee-shirts I wore at Willard springs that were so filthy with dust they needed bleaching.  Between the dust in the air, and Katie sitting up close to me and rubbing dust off her and onto my shirts...  And I also soaked and hand-washed two pair of running shoes.  They were filthy inside and out, as were all the socks I wore with them.  They also got bleached with the shirts.  And Katie got a good wipe-down, too.  She was filthy!

I'm still cleaning up all the fine dust that came in through the screen door and window screens at Willard Springs.  It was so warm, you had to have the windows open when there was a breeze, and the breeze was, of course, full of ... right.  Dust. 

I don't know if I'll ever go back there again.  It's a gorgeous forest, a beautiful camping spot, and huge, so you always find a good campsite.  But the ATVers have changed it.  It's legal to ride motorbikes and ATVs there, so I can't fault the people who are doing it.  They are having a blast - this is their kind of fun.  But unfortunately you always know when they've been there. 

So, we are back at Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico.  Funny how the temps keep changing this year, but I think we're good for a while.  Between the warm days and cool mornings and evenings, and the rain that comes through almost every day, it's been so nice. 

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😊 😎 🙃


  1. I'm sorry to hear that Willard Springs has been spoiled for you. :/ It was always popular, but there was also green space.

    I love Arizona, and yet I find New Mexico so much more appealing these days. Room to stretch out and relax.

  2. Are you sure those were Antelope's look like Elk to me.

    1. Me too!

  3. You finding some nice camping areas around there, looks good.
    Nice repair job on the mirror.

  4. Know what you mean about the dust. Jim is about done with boondocking as it's either too much dust if it's dry, or too much mud when it rains. I think you are like us, we've been doing this so long we're seeing every place become more crowded with campers and ATVs.

  5. Great looking animals, but I think they are Elk also. Just saw some today in Wyoming.

  6. I agree. Those are definitely Elk but they certainly are beautiful ones too!

  7. I know there are also Elk in that area, but didn't realize that's what I was seeing. Cool! I did see an antelope the last time I was there, and it had a very white patch on his rear, and an RVer said it was an antelope who comes by every day. Humm. So now I've seen both. Thanks everyone! I'll make a NOTE on the post. :)

  8. I'm finding the same problem with ATVers. Dust dust dust. Love your pictures. I've never been to Bluewater Lake yet, maybe in the fall.

  9. I have become a curmudgeon about the ATVers as well. Like you, I understand they are just having their fun, but the impact on us older RVers who just want a quiet, dust-free spot in the woods is something they just don't take into consideration at all.
    My folks used to spend summers at Navajo Lake. Have you tried there lately? I wonder if it's any cooler up there.

  10. What camera did you use for shooting a moon?

  11. It's a Canon PowerShot SX720 HS with a 40x Optical Zoom. It's doing a pretty good job for me. But I've shot good full and partial moons with all my cameras. I just take a bunch of shots and try to hold the camera as steady as I can, and usually I'll get at least one good shot in the bunch. It also helps when the moon is clear and a nice orange. :) Thanks for asking.


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