Don't get me wrong, the views were absolutely breathtaking and everyone should experience it. We have almost 200 pictures of the day and will share some here. The reason for soo many is that as the sun moves, it lights everything up a bit differently, so around every corner, over every mountain was another beautiful view.
This was also our first encounter up close with desert flora and it was all very unique and pretty. We cannot wait to see the desert in bloom, which locals say should be a good show this year because of the higher levels of rain they have received.
The drive took us just over 5 hours to complete the 120 miles round trip with the true Apache Trail, partly one lane, being 42 miles, and just over half being unpaved. The drive wound us around the Superstition Mountains, Goldfield Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park and past Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, Roosevelt Lake and Roosevelt Dam through the Tonto National Forest. Prior to modern civilization ending, I mean the paved road ending, you come across Tortilla Flats, which is an old 1904 stagecoach stop that has food, quirky gifts and just about everything prickly pear, including Prickly Pear Gelato. It was busy the day we drove through and really no place for us to park the dually, so we took a picture and kept driving.
From there it was pretty much you and nature, the occasional overlook and the oncoming thrill seeker. At those times, it was trying to figure out who was pulling over to let the other pass. Almost always, it was us because the oncoming vehicle was barreling toward us looking for a thrill around the next curve. Here's what those curves looked like.
There was also several one lane bridges over wash areas or creeks were a quick rain could lead to quick flash flooding.
But really, this was spectacular viewing the entire way. Probably our favourite part was Fish Creek. This is where you hit the plateau of the high Sonoran Desert. You can get out at the overlook and see down into the canyon where the cars look like little specs as they traverse the one lane dirt road with white-knuckling hairpin turns, lots of washboard areas that make you wonder if you will bounce right off the edge. The descent is a 1,500 ft drop in 3 miles and some folks seriously take this as a challenge and treat it like an all out, no holds barred hill climb! Even a newer Ferrari!!! The views are as beautiful as they are terrifying as you hug the side of the cliff.
We started right around 1pm, which is probably the latest I would have wanted to start, now knowing how long it took, because I would not want to be on the dirt, one lane roads after dark. The ever changing lighting really did lend to some amazing views and as always, pictures just cannot do it justice.
“The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have, to me, it is most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has ever created.” -Theodore Roosevelt
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