April 2019 – The travel stories on this blog often present the fantastic new discoveries we’ve made in our travels, but sometimes our life on the road progresses uneventfully. And so it has these past weeks.
Revisiting and staying in a place we know know and love, we’ve found that each day has slipped into the next without fanfare or breathtaking thrills. Life has been moving at a sweet and gentle pace!
After exploring a little bit of eastern Arizona, we made our way to Roosevelt Lake where Spring was in full bloom.
The water level in the lake had been at 49% when we’d visited in January, and was shockingly low. Many former coves and bays had been filled with trees.
Now the lake had swollen to 84% of full volume and showed few signs of slowing down. Lots of hiking trails and dirt roads we’d explored in January were now under 20′ of water!
Roosevelt Lake is the first lake in the chain of dammed lakes in the Salt River as it flows downstream, so this fast rise in the lake’s water level was due to rain and snow-melt upstream rather than the simple opening of floodgates in a dam. How wonderful to see the desert get such a nice big drink from Mother Nature!
Yellow, pink and purple wildflowers were in bloom in every nook and cranny of the desert. They craned their faces towards the sun. Some of the cactus varieties had begun to bloom too. Their flowers were big and vibrant, bursting out of the nasty thorny cactus arms in a gorgeous display. It was as if Nature were saying through these blossoms, “Never judge a book by its cover!”
We took our new little RZR out on the roads through the desert to see if we could find more flowers. It wasn’t hard!
Every now and then we’d get a whiff of a flowery fragrance wafting through the air. Buddy rode with his nose twitching eagerly.
For some reason some of the best wildflower displays seem to be along the edges of big paved roads and surrounding parking lots. We found some glorious bunches of flowers in and around Tonto National Monument.
A few years ago we’d visited the Boyce Thompson Arboretum which specializes in Sonoran Desert plants, but the flowers blooming in the parking lot had soaked up all our energy and after two hours of roaming around the parking lot and filling our cameras with photos we’d had almost no energy left to see whatever was on display inside the Arboretum!
So it was here. Tonto National Monument has a delightful picnic area that is rarely used, but the wildflowers around the artfully situated picnic ramadas are lovely!
We couldn’t get over the rise in the lake’s water level, and we wandered down to the water’s edge many times to monitor its progress as it rose each day. Sunny hot days soon gave way to blustery cold days. The waves took on a menacing look and the patterns in the sky were beautiful as the dark clouds raced across the heavens.
Every single boat ramp around the lake was open, something we haven’t seen in years, and along with that, many campground loops near the boat ramps that had been closed for a long time were now open as well.
The flip side of that, though, was that one of the lowest lying boat ramps — the one that never has to close, even when the lake level drops super low — was almost completely submerged.
Mark drove the RZR through the water at the top of the boat ramp and had fun making waves.
As Easter Weekend approached, more and more people came out to enjoy the lake. Hundreds of boats filled the parking lots and fishermen were eagerly casting.
Buddy’s favorite part of these peaceful days was lizard hunting. His preferred method of going after these lightning fast creatures is to leap in the air and pounce. We spent many happy hours watching him and trying to catch him in the act on our cameras. But it’s not so easy!
While he chased the lizards and occasional jack rabbits we savored the brilliant colors of spring.
One evening the sky gave us an especially dramatic sunset. Above the horizon a huge cloud swirled and rolled over and around itself like a ball of pink cotton candy in the sky.
Sunset across the lake brought some lovely reflections.
And a full moon rose over the desert.
Sometimes the best times in our travels are the quiet languid days when we slow down and bask in a beloved place once again!
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Other blog posts from this area:
- Where to See WILDFLOWERS (especially POPPIES) in Arizona 2023!
- Catalina State Park & Roosevelt Lake: RV Camping in AZ
- Rainbows and Wild Horses in the Arizona Desert!
- Lost Dutchman State Park Campground – Arizona Gold in the Superstitions
- Dolly Steamboat – Gliding Through the Arizona Desert on Canyon Lake
- Fall Colors and Wildlife on the Sonoran Desert Rivers in Arizona
- Peach Faced Lovebirds in Phoenix, AZ – Parrots in Cactus!
- ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort – RVer’s and Golfer’s Delight!
- Snow in the Arizona Desert – A Beautiful Fairy Dusting!
- Tonto National Monument AZ – Workamping with the Ancients!
- Monte Vista RV Resort in AZ – Arts, Crafts and Sports Fun!
- Tonto National Monument AZ – Lower Cliff Dwellings
- Copper Mines, NOT CAMPING, in Tonto National Forest – Why?
- Fall Color in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert near Roosevelt Lake
- Arizona’s Stunning Apache Trail Scenic Drive
- A Majestic Scenic Drive in Arizona – The Bush Highway
- Burrowing owls in Gilbert, Arizona – They’re a Hoot!
- Hunting Spring Wildflowers in Arizona
- Roosevelt Lake – Lakeside Camping in AZ
- Wild Horses of the Salt River in Phoenix
- Phoenix on the Wing – Waterbirds of Arizona!
- The Wind Cave Hike in Phoenix AZ – The Hills are Alive!
- Saguaro Lake – On the Waterfront in Phoenix
- Rivers of Phoenix – Oases in the Desert!
- Phoenix Sonoran Preserve – A City Escape
- Roosevelt Lake, AZ – Desert Oasis
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Beautiful fotos. Especially liked “cotton candy”. I am so glad to see Roosevelt filling up. As we look down on it on our way to our cabin near Young it has looked so thirsty. Buddy looks so happy chasing those lizards! Happy Easter.
Thanks, Liz! It is really something to see Roosevelt Lake so full. Maybe it will reach 100% this year…!
Loved those sunset and full moon photos!
We’ve had some beautiful skies here, that’s for sure!
Such a wonderful time! I love setting my tires down for a week or more and just enjoying life! Buddy looks like a fox pouncing on the lizards! Maybe he’s channeling his native instincts!!!!
It’s so great to have some quiet time to savor the beauty of a familiar place! Buddy is definitely channeling his wild relatives when he’s out hunting. And it’s so amazing to see that in an animal that has been domesticated for so many millennia!
Happy Easter❗️Love the photos❗️Happy to see the lake full and you are all doing well❗️🐣Hugs
Thank you, Mary. Big hugs and happy Easter to you and Rich! There are still some campsites left — come on out and play at the lake!!
Love all the flowers. Glad to see you put Buddy in charge of driving Mark around in the Razr. Will probably result in far fewer accidents 😉 My favorite was the Cotton Candy sunset. Gorgeous!
Funny thing about that sunset, Bob, is we were both in other places (with a poor view of it) because we were expecting other parts of the sky to light up. When that cloud turned pink we scrambled to get to a spot where we could see it unobstructed!!
Emily, you and Mark are blessed to be able to put yourselves in gorgeous places where nature provides some absolutely incredible shows. It’s wonderful to see you take advantage of that AND share your gorgeous photos – your “camping under the stars” pic belongs in a GoRVing advertisement!
We are very blessed, Mary, and we give thanks every day that we can follow our whims and the whims of Nature in our travels. Like most people, we had many decades where living a life like that was a pipe dream. Thank you for the kind words about the “Camping under the stars” pic — wouldn’t it be fun if it appeared in a GoRVing ad!!
Slow down to savor the local sights….nothing better ! But Buddy never slows down…he’s always “on alert”. Love the profiles – “at the wheel” !!!! And that cotton candy sky is definitely a “cover” prize….
Buddy is on high alert most of the time. Even when he’s fast asleep he’ll jump up in an instant if he hears a noise he’s not sure of! That cotton candy sky was very special and is one of the many reasons we love this life which keeps us so close to nature.