Sunday morning we drove north to Prescott Valley. Prescott National Forest reaches from the cool peaks of the mineral-rich Bradshaw Mountains to the sun-baked Sonoran Desert. It crosses Chaparral flats to Pinon and Juniper woodlands over desert grasslands to Ponderosa pine forests. We were an hour outside of Phoenix and in a different world. I love Arizona’s diversity.
We spent the night at Powell Springs Campground in Prescott Valley, AZ. This 11 site campground is primitive and free to camp. It had a bathroom, but no water and no hookups. My husband is nice about my obsession with American history. He picked this campground because it was built by the CCC in the 1930’s.
The CCC was a New Deal program to provide work for men during the Depression.
It makes it easier to understand the Depression, when you spend the night in this campground. I asked the boys to imagine a time where the men went away to work planting trees and making campgrounds. Because of rampant homesickness among the men, men were sent hundreds of miles from home to prevent runaways. Thus, if you were from Arizona, you could end up in Maine living and working for 6 months to 2 years.
At Powell Valley, you can see the picnic tables, foundations for old outhouses and intact hitching posts at the campsites. They strung wire to protect the National forests from the range cattle and installed cattle guards. Their work is intact today.
We picked Campsite #2. Because it was a Sunday night, we had no neighbors. We made s’mores and the boys played Minecraft by pretending to find diamond pickaxes and boxes of infinity. They built a fort.
For now, we keep it simple. I think Max had three s’mores and an unknown number of chocolate bars. He was a fixture by the fireplace from dusk to dark.
The boys played in the woods until nearly noon and then we packed up the car and head out to nearby Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. I did not know what to expect, basically picking MCNM because my GPS recommended it as the closest touristy option. It is a visitor center, 1/3 mile paved loop, picnic area, to see the castle and viewing area of Beaver Creek interspersed with loads of gorgeous sycamores.
This is the prettiest grove of sycamores I’ve seen since moving from the East Coast.
Mistletoe in the Sycamore
Cliff Swallow Nests along the base of the Castle
Beaver Creek, this view point is an easy paved 5 minute walk from the Visitor’s center. We spent about a half hour at the park, mostly watching the boys walk along the stone walls. Then an easy 2 hour drive back to Phoenix and the real world.
Well, almost back to the real world. I still have a book to finish. 🙂