Dec. 26 – Jan. 7, 2018 Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Cottonwood, Arizona)

Left my Las Vegas family and headed for Arizona. My first stay was old familiar territory – Dead Horse Ranch State Park. When I lived in Prescott Valley, AZ, I would come up here often to hike with my dog, Takota. The trail along the Verde River was always cool under the trees – shading us from the hot Arizona sun. I always enjoyed seeing all the different birds, too. There are not so many at this time of the year, but I have seen a bald eagle ( I guess there are at least a pair that fish a lot in the 3 small lakes which are stocked with trout, bass, etc. ). I have also seen a mountain bluebird, white crowned sparrows, juncos, etc. And a friendly Belted Kingfisher noisily announces his presence every day by the lakes.

Meditation and reflection at one of the lakes … Note the mistletoe in the trees – one of the few plants that are green this time of the year in this area.

I went to Red Rock State Park (near Sedona) for the first day hike of the new year on Jan. 1st (these are offered nation wide at most, if not all, the state parks). Of course, this year’s first day hike was much warmer than the one I went on last year near Omaha,NE. I returned to the park on Wednesday, Jan. 3rd to go on a guided bird walk.

Petroglyphs at the park.

Oak Creek.

Pictures and views along one of the hiking trails.

This was Eagle’s Nest sandstone formation. Not because there was an eagle’s nest located up on the top, but because Disney filmed a movie – The Boy and His Eagle at this location. I remember reading this story. I hope to find the movie for my grandchildren.

Cathedral Rock – probably the most popular formation to take a picture of in Sedona.

Seven Warriors or Sentinels formation.

Napoleon’s Tomb formation.

House of Apache Fire – built by Helen and Jack Frye (president of TWA). Interesting, but long story, about their rich and famous activities. If you are interested, there is a lot of history about it here. Not only was Helen married to Jack Frye, previously she had been married to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. The park is in the process of restoring this structure to its previous beauty and using it for educational and other purposes.

We came across four mule deer, including this young one while on our bird walk. I took my binoculars but not my camera (used the camera on my phone) on our bird walk. We saw white crowned sparrows, chipping sparrows, juncos, scrub blue jays, western bluebirds, house finches , western goldfinch, Gila woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, female redwing blackbirds, a red tailed hawk and a grey squirrel.

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