Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona

After changing travel plans for part of November and December, 2019, we caught up with our original schedule on December 30 at Cattail Cove State Park south of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Last June we spent a day looking at January-April 2020 and made reservations at Arizona State Parks. Reservations can be made 12 months in advance. As it turned out, because we were behind on reserving, there were a few state parks into which we couldn’t book and a couple in which our stay isn’t as long as we hoped. Arizona continues to be a popular Winter Haven!

Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona.
The state park’s amphitheater area was decorated in a desert theme for Christmas.

Our 10-day stay at Cattail Cove State Park was lovely. The campground is tucked along a cove on Lake Havasu. Mature trees provided shade, which was especially welcomed during the afternoons. The first three days we were in a campground loop where many of the sites were close together. Our last week was scheduled for a site in another loop with more space to each site. The park staff were some of the most attentive who we’ve met over our various state and national park stays. The comfort stations a.k.a restroom and shower buildings were spotless. The grounds were immaculately kept. And, we were greeted by friendly smiles, hellos, and wonderful conversations.

Our 2nd campsite at Cattail Cove State Park with some welcomed shade for the warmer afternoons.

We arrived in the area a day after rainy weather. Beginning with our first day, each morning we were welcomed by prevailing sunshine and bluebird blue skies. Occasionally we would have clouds. Jet contrails criss-crossed the sky by the dozens each day. Often their lingering patterns created a more intense sunset. Overall the stunning colors of the sunset were mutually noteworthy to many fellow campers during evening strolls or hikes. The sunsets treated us to some of the most brilliant that we’ve witnessed since beginning our full-time RVing.

Cattail Coves white-sand beach complete with ramadas for shade and a few palm trees!
The colorful evening sky on our last night at Cattail Cove State Park.

One of the most appealing parts of our Cattail Cove stay were the numerous hiking trails. Getting back into our hiking groove was at the top of our list after an intense six weeks prior to arriving in Arizona. During our stay, we hiked 35 miles over the hilly terrain. Within a 2-5 minute walk we could access two trailheads. The trail nearest the lake had several stretches of sand, reminiscent of hikes along Lake Michigan dunes. The wind off of Lake Havasu could be stiff enough to create white caps.

The winds caused some small waves and white caps on Lake Havasu.

As for memorable hikes, we joined 43 other people for the state parks First Day Hike on January 1, 2020, led by rangers and park staff. We occasionally paused along the trails where they shared tidbits about the terrain, the habitats, and the history of the area. 

On January 1, 2020, First Day Hike at Cattail Cove State Park.

The trail that we hiked most often was Whytes Way, which ran closest to Lake Havasu with commanding views of the lake, mountains, and hilly landscape. Occasionally little whiptail lizards would zip across our path and scurry beneath vegetation or into a small hole leading to their homes. There were stretches of the trail that had us trekking through sand, so a good workout for our legs. The outer terminus of this trail was Whytes Retreat on BLM land, complete with a vault toilet and picnic table beneath a ramada for shade. The picnic table was near lake level, serving as a pleasant pause to hear the lapping water and watching waterfowl busily diving for lunch.

Whytes Retreat with its ramada, picnic table, and even a vault toilet along Lake Havasu.

Other hikes took us over and around some of the hills. Barrel cacti, saguaro, palo verde, mesquite trees, brittlebush, and buffalo grass were the most popular vegetation. 

The typical desert terrain and vegetation throughout the Cattail Cove area.

For a more interesting and lengthier hike, we took Ripley’s Run. We walked through some washes, up some stretches of jagged volcanic rock giving us views over the desert, and rock scrambling through skinnier spaces between walls of the washes. In the sunlight we quickly warmed up, yet once in the shadows of the rock faces we cooled easily.

On Ripley’s Run we encountered tighter areas or places to climb down some rocks.

Several days we also hiked McKinney Loop and Whytes Trail to add more mileage. It was fantastic to get into the fresh air, the stiff breezes off of the lake, and clear our minds of a busy stretch in November and December.

Overall, we will recall the contrasts between the desert and lake along Whytes Trail. The entire hiking system was pretty solitary and one can see why mountain lions might enjoy this area. Despite the solitude, we occasionally met fellow hikers, all of us commenting on the beauty. On one late afternoon hike with sunset quickly approaching, we came upon two hikers, who we sensed appreciated us buddying up with them to lend our assistance with one of our trekking poles and taking the remainder of the trail at their pace until all were back to the trailhead.

Yes, we had our share of “town days” in Lake Havasu City for laundry, truck/trailer wash, refilling L.P., taking our recycling to the Republic Services community recycling station, making new acquaintances at a local Starbucks, grocery shopping, and taking in London Bridge, to name a few.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City.
We dropped off the recycling that we’d collected over a few weeks. Thank you Republic Services for providing a community recycling center in Lake Havasu City, Arizona! Many campgrounds have no recycling our very limited recycling.
We spent 45 minutes washing the truck and trailer in a large carwash bay that could accomodate the height and width of our trailer.

Thank you Cattail Cove State Park and Lake Havasu City for making such an enjoyable stay!

 

February 29, 2020 = 19 Months as Full-Time RVers!

Say it isn’t so? And, especially on this Leap Day! Now where have those 19 months of full-time RVing gone? Certainly they are full of countless stories, of traveling highways and byways,  of spending nearly 24/7 time together, of experiencing sunny days and cloudy days, of soaking up time with family and friends along our Speed of Sanity travels, of visiting a different laundromat every 10-14 days, of relying on coffee shops, public libraries, or our Verizon Hot-Spot for Wi-Fi, of frustrating times with little to no cellphone service, of sharing silly moments, and of hugging away tearful grief when we’ve lost dear ones.

One of the dozens of laundromats! Wash N’ Fluff in Globe, Arizona has been one of the cleanest!

More than anything, we continue feeling deeply grateful for this time of our life when we can travel as we do. No, we don’t have the many comforts of a stick and brick home, yet we take extraordinary comfort in coming home to our little mobile abode after a day of adventuring or tending to the many tasks that full-time RVing requires of us. This IS home.

A priceless morning, million-dollar view just 60 feet from our campsite of Roosevelt Lake in Tonto National Forest, Arizona, on February 29, 2020. (FYI: the campsite fee is $12.50/night thanks to our Lifetime Senior National Park Pass & 50% discount).

Part of our full-time RV lifestyle permits flexibility that we appreciate having. Yesterday we arrived at Tonto National Monument to hike up to the cliff dwelling only to find that two chartered busloads of enthusiastic 4th graders pulled into the parking lot behind us, were also taking the hike. Sensing that space in the cliff dwelling was limited, we opted to head back to our abode and then head back to Tonto NM a few hours later. When we returned to the park, we had the cliff dwelling to ourselves and one ranger! (Admittedly, we sure miss seeing kiddos after years of teaching and working with children. It would have been fun to join their field trip!)

Hiking to the Lower Cliff Dwelling at Tonto National Monument near Roosevelt, Arizona on February 28, 2020

Thank you to our family, friends, and many acquaintances made along our journey for your love and encouragement!

Here’s to many more “Happy Trails” to everyone!

 

Tucson Mountain Park via Tandem

Yeehaw! We drove to the Tucson Mountain Park today to nab a ride on our Santana tandem.

Steve retrieves the tandem from the bike rack.

We only went 8 miles as we are in the process of getting back in bicycling shape. Originally we wanted to ride in Saguaro National Park, but their staff at the Visitor Center advised against it with the narrow road and heavy amount of vehicular traffic.

We had the road virtually to ourselves.

We are thankful that they suggested Tucson Mountain Park. There was one SUV and several bikes. Otherwise we had the road to ourselves.

A saguaro forest and a plethora of other cacti and desert vegetation filled the landscape!

The landscape was thick with stately saguaro cacti. Is it possible to call this a saguaro forest?

Until next time…

Happy Trails!