Back to Civilization: A Week at Lost Dutchman State Park
After spending the last 5 weeks mostly boondocking, we found ourselves in a proper campground again when we visited Lost Dutchman State Park just outside Phoenix, Arizona. The park is quite wonderful, with Superstition Mountain looming overhead, to remind us of our humility and how we are just a very tiny part of the world. One of the great things about staying in campgrounds versus dispersed camping is the availability of a trail network right at you door. We took a couple of wonderful hikes that started in the park, heading into the Superstition Mountain wilderness. We didn't attempt the advanced Flatiron trail, partly because we knew we weren't fit enough, but we also heard it was quite treacherous. We watched a helicopter rescue a stranded hiker the first night we were at the campground. We'll stick to moderate hikes.
The Desert Botanical Garden had been recommended to us, and I found out they have a free admission day on the second Tuesday of each month. We took advantage and were pleasantly surprised when it wasn't too crowded. What a magical place, I was in cacti heaven. The grounds are beautifully laid out and landscaped and it was succulent bliss. We may come back next month when more plants may be flowering and the butterfly exhibit opens up.
We also had quite a social time at Lost Dutchman too. We reunited with Brian and Leigh, and made some new friends, a couple of Airstreamers Brad and Karen, who were also staying at the campground. Karen had scoped out a canal side brewery over the weekend, so one evening we enjoyed a cycle ride with them along the Arizona Canal Trail and ended it with dinner at the OHSO Nanobrewery. The place had a great atmosphere and Iain and Brad had Mac 'n' cheese with brisket. How can that not be good !?!
We really like camping in beautiful spots that are not too remote from facilities such as decent grocery stores, and this fit the bill perfectly. We also took the opportunity to catch up on a movie. Our "watch list" has been growing and growing. We plan to catch some more over the next few weeks while we are staying in major metropolitan areas.
We stayed only one week at Lost Dutchman, but could easily have stayed longer. We didn't get the chance to explore the Apache Trail at all. We'll be back in the Phoenix area in a couple of weeks and have plenty of time to take in all the area has to offer. For now we head to Tucson for 2 weeks, more movies, hiking, good food and friends. It's a good life.