We woke up to clouds and intermittent drizzle yesterday.
The plan was to take a ride on the Ridgeline Loop Trail. I checked the weather forecast on NOAA and it called for a slight chance of showers so I figured that there wouldn’t be a problem. Around 9:20 Jo Ann, Dave, Patti and I headed for the 76 station in Florence to meet up with Suzanne and Roy. We thought that maybe Denis and Sue would join us but they just returned from a trip to the grand canyon and decided to take the day off.
The clouds looked threatening and the drizzle continued until we got to Florence and found that it was dry there.
After topping off the tank in the jeep we headed north toward Florence Junction.
This is the first trip that we have used the maps and directions from the “Experience Arizona” web site.
At Florence Junction we turned east on 60 toward Superior. At Hewitt Station Road we turned north and stopped at the ATV staging area there to air down.
From there we headed out a wide dirt road for a while until we discovered that we were on the wrong road. The directions weren’t real clear here but eventually we got on the right trail (Trail # 8). We headed east on this trail for a few miles until we came to Forest Road FR 650 (The Montana Mountain Road). Here we turned north and followed this for about 3 miles.
We passed this windmill and coral on FR 650
and continued for a couple more miles when we came to FR 2359. We turned left here and started up a steep climb for a couple miles on a rough trail with lots of loose rock.
Along the trail we noticed these fairy flowers, that is what we call them.
As we climbed higher we got some nice views of other trails in the valley's below us.
Here you can see the Montana Mountain trail.
We stopped at a flat spot for a short break and while we were there Suzann noticed a bird nest in some Prickly Pears.
At the top we could see this coral and pond in a small valley to the west.
We worked our way down to the valley and stopped here for lunch under a large tree.
After lunch we continued along the ridge for a while; the highest point was a little over 3600 ft.
We had some nice views from up here.
This one is looking west.
This is looking southeast.
Here is a typical view of what the trail looks like up here.
After driving along the ridge we started down the south side of the mountain.
We came to several places where the trail forked. The directions from the web site and some good signage helped a lot here.
The directions also pointed out some interesting sights along the way.
Here is a place called the ‘mini canyon’. It is a crack in the limestone bedrock that had been eroded.
The next place that was pointed out was at a spot called Barnett Camp where there is a structure called “The Jail”.
From here we drove up a narrow wash trail and passed a spot called the Indian Cave . The directions weren’t real clear here but fortunately Suzanne and Roy happened to see the cave up a side wash.
It is not likely that this is an actual Indian cave. More likely it was excavated by some prospector in the past but it is interesting none the less.
It was a short drive from here to the intersection with FR 650 where we turned south and after a few miles returned to our starting point.
Patti got some interesting “art” shots during the day.
This one is a Cholla skeleton.
Here is a shot of the rock at the mini canyon.
We got back on the highway and headed for Florence. The plan was to stop at a Greek restaurant for dinner but they were closed so we went to a place called the Old Pueblo for some Mexican food (oh darn). The food was very good but the service not so much.
On the way back to Coolidge Patti got some nice pictures of the sunset.
Here is my favorite.
It was a great day and a good ride.
The directions we got from the Experience Arizona web site over all were pretty good although the maps were pretty small and not easy to read.
I especially thought the GPS information was very helpful in finding the points of interest and turnoff’s.