May 26, 2014

Apache Trail Day

One of the few bright spots I took away from my AZT #19 outing was recalling the Tonto National Monument perched high above Roosevelt Lake. Both cliff dwellings were visible from the road as I drove in last Saturday. I thought it would be a good time to make a return visit with K, spend a lazy day exploring the ruins, hanging by Apache Lake then stopping for ice cream in Tortilla Flat.
Lower & Upper cliff dwellings from AZ188.
We took the longer, albeit the same time-wise, paved route to Tonto Nat'l Monument. We were inside the visitor center when we were informed that guided tours to the upper dwelling were no longer being offered as the heat had now driven most tourists away. It was also when we learned that the lower dwelling was inaccessible due to bees!! Drat. I guess I should have taken a gander at the park website before making the trek, but it was still a nice drive and a beautiful desert day. So, we forked over our park fee and walked up the trail to the closest viewing area of the dwelling. Still quite impressive.
Roosevelt Lake just over the wall.
Saguaros are one of the last blooms before the intense summer heat.
Approaching the lower dwelling.
As close as we could get, when bees aren't present you can walk inside the dwelling.
K and I were treated to sprawling views of Roosevelt Lake.
 We left the monument with our sights set on a picnic lunch in the sand by Apache Lake. I spotted a small pullout a week earlier when I rode by on my bike. The spot was clear and we made our way down to the cool waters edge.
Roosevelt Dam.
Roosevelt Bridge is quite a sight.
Downstream side of Roosevelt Dam.
View from our lunch spot.
Felt good to soak the tootsies.
There was even a bit of shade.
Apache Lake overlook from the Apache Trail.
The drive on the Apache Trail dirt road is one of the more scenic, yet accessible routes from the big city. It also doesn't hurt that the small 'town' of Tortilla Flat is nestled among the rugged mountains offering tourists a sampling of the wild west. I think the population is listed at 6 full-time residents, but there's a nice saloon to grab some burgers and next door some much anticipated ice cream!!
Tortilla Flat main street.
It was a great little getaway for the day. It was concluded on this outing that we need to make more of an effort to leave Phoenix for day trips or weekenders throughout the summer. It helps to pass the time a bit quicker as the dogs days of summer approach.

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