A Beautiful Recon Day

The last couple of months have been very busy for us.  We missed being "out there" and yesterday we could wait no longer.   We loaded  up and took off to explore beyond the Camp Wood area we enjoyed in May.  Since we knew we would not be out in prime light we left the "big cameras" at home and relied on our iPhones for the photos you'll see below.  

As usual we took notes and GPS coordinates of interesting dispersed camping sites.  

 In the pines at Camp Wood.

In the pines at Camp Wood.

 Rocks and pines.

Rocks and pines.

Joni loves trees.  I enjoy beautiful trees too and we are both drawn to the "dead soldiers", the old snags that still stand proudly (they are also called widow makers and we are careful not to camp beneath them).  It was an honor to shoot a couple of photos of this old guy:

 Not much left but still much beauty.

Not much left but still much beauty.

 On the lower right of the trunk there's still a chunk of thick bark hanging on.

On the lower right of the trunk there's still a chunk of thick bark hanging on.

To say the wildflowers were abundant is an understatement.

 These fringed daisies were quite common along with several varieties of yellow wildflowers and occasional patches of Indian Paintbrush.

These fringed daisies were quite common along with several varieties of yellow wildflowers and occasional patches of Indian Paintbrush.

 More fringed daisies

More fringed daisies

Our plan was to follow CR 68 all the way to Bagdad, AZ.  However, we discovered the maps don't account well for The Yolo Ranch which straddles CR 68.  The Yolo Ranch is beautiful and impressive with a long history beginning from its establishment in 1875.  The gate to the ranch was open but we're strict about not entering private land without permission.  We backtracked and turned on FR 702 which turned out to be a great decision.  FR 702 took us around the edge of Yolo Ranch through pines and meadows.  We bore left onto FR 665 and began dropping down into juniper forest on the top of a broad ridge where we enjoyed great views.  

 A view across the rocks.

A view across the rocks.

 Wildflowers and a long view.

Wildflowers and a long view.

Imagine our surprise coming across a rather large muddy section of road on a ridge top.  Joni wasn't too sure about driving through it but I said "No problem just let me scout it out".  I walked a ridge between two ruts and found it quite firm.  Testing with a stick I also found both water and mud in the ruts to be shallow.  With left wheels on the road edge and right wheels between the ruts we made it most the way through before slipping off into the mud which we drove right through.  

 It looked worse than it was.

It looked worse than it was.

Soon we turned left on FR 705 and started down.  

 Down, down, down.

Down, down, down.

After several miles we reached the bottom at a creek crossing.  

From the creek it was another 8 miles through the canyon and up to CR 68  where we turned right to head home. Of course when we reached town we had to stop at our favorite post adventure restaurant.  Steve, his family and the rest of the crew at Aroma Pizza always make us feel at home.

 Parked at Aroma Pizza, dirty and happy/

Parked at Aroma Pizza, dirty and happy/