Cave Creek Regional Park just north of the city is a beautiful park with large sites. I joined up with fellow Baja-bound friend Tina here.
Of course the first thing I did was check out a hiking trail that led into the hills.
Can you see the mine?
Smart woman...good to know if you ever get dysentery out in the wilderness.
I could see light at the other end of the tunnel.
Investigating, I located another mine entrance.
The view from there.
But the trail goes on...
Our campground is down there on the left.
I smell horses...
Now that sounds like fun!
Thistle thought the horse poop was interesting too. No Thistle, leave it!
The trail links up to others that wind around in the mountains. We turned back.
Back in the campground was a covey of quail...and one rabbit...see his ears?
I believe this camper has been feeding them.
Other adventures people have around here...hot air balloons.
And Ultralite flying.
I liked the cactus balloon.
Cactus wren facing the sun.
And another gorgeous sunset outside my door.
The next day was for meeting forum friend Alice who lives near here. She and I visited the Pueblo Grande Museum, while Tina entered her English Cocker pup in a dog show.
The museum had a lot of hands on activities...
...for kids of all ages. Alice and I decided we're glad we don't have to do this to survive.
There was a display of ancient rock art.
But the main display is the ancient Hohokam Village on and around this platform mound.
There happened to be a special event this weekend, including Indian vendors selling their art, demonstrations, and music.
We toured the mound first.
The mound was discovered when they were excavating for a new highway, and the area has been preserved since then.
One room atop the mound had two doors that aligned with the solstices.
The room with a corner door that aligns with the other door at the time of the summer and winter solstices.
Alice checks out another room.
Artifacts found here suggest its purpose.
A doorway had been blocked off.
These children are practicing using a drilling too.
The Hohokam became successful farmers in this environment by digging irrigation canals.
There were replicas of the Hohokam houses.
That's Alice in front of some Pit Houses.
The roof and sides of the Pit House is made from Saguaro Cactus.
Song and dance.
This Indian performs the "Eagle Dance."
Some beautiful paintings.
Hohokam ball field.
Prize-winning pottery. I was tempted by a tiny Nativity scene, until I looked at the price.
Mesquite posts provide a windbreak for the kitchen.
A lot of work went into harvesting buds from the thorny Cholla cactus.
This lady demonstrated the art of basketmaking.
Mesquite pods waiting to be ground into flour.
Lotta grinding going on.
Our noses brought us here....fry bread!
We watched them being made.
Alice put cinnamon sugar on hers.
Last we toured inside the museum. This diagram shows how vast the system of canals was. That was quite a feat for those ancient people with primitive tools.
Used in the basket making.
As we were leaving, we saw these costumed performers arriving.
That evening, Tina, Alice, and I visited the little town of Cave Creek.
Popular with bikers and cowboys.
We had dinner at the Horny Toad.
But first a look around town.
I had to chase after Alice and Tina as they ran to check out the bikers.
We saw some fancy rides.
Some decorated for Christmas.
Yes, that's a real live bison on top of the pink truck. There's a Wild West show tonight, but we didn't stay for it.
Tina and alice outside the Horny Toad.
Horny Toad in metal art.
We were early and thought they were closed until we saw this sign over the door.
Inside the Horny Toad. The hamburgers were big and good.
Back home, Thistle is looking for that jackrabbit.
On Sunday afternoon it was time for Tina and I to saddle up for a sunset ride through the hills.
Cowgirl up! (I'm glad Tina went first and no one took a picture of me doing that)
Giddy-up, let's go.
I have a lot of butt shots of Tina. Sorry, Tina...couldn't help it.
Finally she turned around for a face shot.
The trail zigzags up that hill.
Our guide points out an old gold mine over there.
The distant mountain is called Sugarloaf.
Why we wore chaps....we pass close to many cacti.
Into the sunset...
This is beautiful and peaceful.
About here the coyotes began to yip and howl.
Practicing for my mule trip into the Grand Canyon.
Me and my horse, July. July is hungry.
Tina was having a little trouble holding Joe. He just wanted to get her off and go eat. A beautiful moon is rising in the background.
What a fun weekend we had in Phoenix. Many thanks to Alice for showing us around. On to Quartzite next and another meet-up with forum friend, Sheila.