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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Fountain Hills, Arizona, United States

May 1, 2011 - Tonto National Monument

Today we took the Beeline Highway east into the Superstition Mountains. Our goal was to view the Indian ruins at the Tonto National Monument. Unlike Casa Grande (which was built on the desert floor), the dwellings at Tonto were built in caves high on the cliffs above the Salt River. Such location provided protection from enemies and the elements of nature. Construction started about 1250 A.D. and culminated in what now exists as the Upper and Lower Ruins. The Upper Ruins (which were already Closed for the Season) housed as many as 300...

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Apr 25, 2011 - AZ in Bloom

Although flowers have been blooming here all winter (I was amazed to see people buying and planting primroses and pansies OUTDOORS last December!!!), things have really blossomed out in the last several weeks. To give you some idea, I took a short walk around the condo complex and half-way around Fountain Park today, photographing all the way. It's an amazing mixture of cacti and other native perennials. The really outstanding thing in bloom right now are the Palo Verde Trees (bright yellow with green bark). They are in bloom everywhere and...

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Apr 22, 2011 - The High Country

It was hot today (low-nineties), so we decided to head for the high country near Heber and Show Low. The difference in temperature that an hour's drive brings is striking. When we got to our picnic destination at Christopher Creek, the temperature had dropped to 62 degrees. Naturally, I forgot to put a jacket in the car, so we definitely needed a picnic table in the sun. The change in vegetation from the desert floor to an elevation of 6500 feet is major. And it was nice to see conifer forests again, mostly comprised of Ponderosa Pine and...

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Apr 14, 2011 - Just So You Know....

Floating around Mesa, Tempe, and Fountain Hills for the past several weeks have been three fancy RVs, filled with eager young people distributing doomsday pamphlets. Thought I'd let you know that you better spend that tax refund ASAP!! No further comment here.....

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Apr 13, 2011 - Casa Grande

Today we drove about an hour south of Phoenix to visit Casa Grande National Monument, which preserves the remains of an ancient village populated by the Hohokam peoples. The Hohokams lived and farmed in this area from 700 A.D. to about 1450 A.D., when they mysteriously disappeared, leaving their village and possessions intact. While here, they built an impressive community that was 2 miles square and appears to have housed about 5000 people. Initially, they lived in pit houses, which were constructed with wood frames (provided by limbs from...

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Apr 8, 2011 - Taliesin West: Frank Lloyd Wright

Yesterday we visited Taliesin West, which became Frank Lloyd Wright's winter "camp" and eventually his architectural school. After Wright completed (and was paid for) his most famous house, Falling Waters, outside of Pittsburgh, he used his commission money to purchase 500 acres of Arizona desert near Scottsdale. Starting in the early 1930ies, with the aid of his wife and students, he built Taliesin West over the next 30 years. Today, it exists as a beautiful series of structures (all on the National Register of Historic Buildings), based...

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Apr 3, 2011 - Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Although the temperature reached 99 degrees today, Anne and I decided to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Globe, AZ. This is a 35-acre preserve devoted to the display and study of plants, cacti, and trees that are native to Arizona. It was established in 1920 by Boyce Thompson, who was a wealthy mine owner. It's a wonderful place, filled with shrubs and plants in various stages of bloom. I especially liked the cacti garden, which contains hundreds of different types of cactus. I decided that learning all their names is akin to...

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Mar 28, 2011 - Friends/Family Warming Up

During the last week in March and the first week in April, friends and family from Seattle came to Arizona to "dry out" and "warm up." I am happy to say that the AZ weather was basically great for meeting those ends. Jan and Pete Colburn-Barrett were the first to visit. Anne and I have known Jan since we were in the 5th grade. We all attended high school together, and then college. In short, we go back a long ways.....Pete is the newcomer, having met us at the U of Washington in the late 1960ies. They are good friends of longstanding. The...

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Mar 26, 2011 - Tempe: Dragon Boat Racing

Given that a motorcycle rally was being held in normally quiet Fountain Hills today, we decided it might be a good to seek amusement elsewhere. So we ended up at the Dragon Boat Races in nearby Tempe. What's Dragon Boat Racing, you ask??? Here's some background. A Dragon Boat is a 20-person craft, sort of like a very long canoe. A few differences, however, include a colorful dragon head attached to the bow; an equally colorful dragon tail hanging off the stern; 20 robust people all equipped with weird looking square paddles, paddling like...

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Mar 19, 2011 - Dixie Mine Petroglyphs

Today we did a 6-mile hike into the McDowell Mountains, which ring the southwestern side of Fountain Hills. This was a Ranger led hike, offered by the McDowell Regional Park. Our destination was the Dixie Mine and its surrounding petroglyphs. Ranger Amy was our leader and about 20 hikers comprised the group. It was a sunny morning and the walk out to the mine was up-and-down, but beautiful. Fortunately, a light breeze was blowing, keeping us cool. Amy provided interesting information about plant life, the mine's history, and the Hohokam...

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Mar 17, 2011 - St. Patrick's Day

Fountain Hills has a long tradition of celebrating St. Patrick's Day. This year was no exception, although, due to budgetary problems at the City level (what's new?), things were scaled back some. Sure enough, we still had the fountain shooting kelly-green water every hour; a craft fair on the plaza; live Irish music in the park; bag pipers strolling the streets, etc., etc. But in past years, a replica of the Loch Ness Monster use to surface and then paddle around Fountain Lake. Apparently, "Locky" went south due to budget cuts.....and this...

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Mar 14, 2011 - The Verde River

Part of the reason that Fountain Hills can have a "celebration of water in the desert," and partially why Scottsdale can be so green, is the Verde River. I am not certain where it begins, but the Verde runs through the Chino Valley in northwestern Arizona; then diagonally down and across the state south of Sedona and Cottonwood; and finally merges with the Salt River south and east of Fountain Hills. Given its importance to central AZ, we thought we should take an up-close and personal look at the Verde. So we packed a picnic lunch and...

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Driving Miss Daisy

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