Monday, April 2, 2012

You can't beat a Dead Horse

We’re still at Dead Horse Ranch State Park about 17 miles south of Sedona, AZ and in a town named Cottonwood.  We’ve stayed two extra days because it’s windy, which makes it a little harder to drive the rig.  We expect to move on tomorrow.
But in the meantime we’ve been hiking, doing chores (laundry, groceries), watched the Buckeyes stay ahead of Kansas until the very end (bummer, but they did get to the final four -- so Yay, Buckeyes) and took a trip to Sedona.

We can really hear the coyotes here at night.  Jim says coyotes sometimes make a lot of noise to fool predators into thinking the pack is larger than it is.  They are either doing just that, or there really are a heck of a lot of them nearby.
Jim and Coop on a trail just above our campground.  Our rig is third from the right.  There are two RV campgrounds here, a campground for tent campers, plus cabins.  
Dead Horse Ranch State Park includes part of what’s called the Verde River Greenway State Natural System.  It’s a riparian “gallery” forest, which means it has a forest in an area that otherwise has no trees.  There are fewer than 20 such riparian zones in the world.
The park includes three large lagoons.  In one place the birds were so thick it sounded like a red-winged black bird convention.

A heron (look at the top right of the branches) perched near the Verde River.
How the park got its name:  A family from Minnesota named Irey came to Arizona looking for a ranch in the 1940s.  One property had a big dead horse on the road.  Later when the dad asked his kids which ranch they liked, they said “The one with the dead horse”  and their ranch got it’s name. The Ireys sold the ranch to the state of Arizona in 1973; keeping the name “Dead Horse Ranch" in the park's name was a condition of the sale. 
Sign with similar messages ("Votex tours!  Free vortex maps!) are all over Sedona.   A vortex is a place where energy is concentrated; Sedona is famous for them and even devotes a page of it's city website to it  It says that one of the vortexes (vorti?) is at Airport Mesa, which I first thought meant the Mesa, AZ Airport -- Jim said maybe near the candy machine.  (Airport Mesa is actually an area near uptown Sedona with panoramic views.)
A view from downtown Sedona.

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