April 2013, Apache Junction, AZ

Nancy’s job in the park office and our job as Camp Hosts ended on April 1st.   Nancy is enjoying the free time and being able to go to water aerobics class in the mornings.  Rex is glad that he no longer has to stay up late to lock up the buildings.

We took a great Jeep trip to the Four Peaks Wilderness Area with our friends, Rhonda & Elroy and Russ & Betty.  It snowed on Four Peaks the night before.  Our drive took us around the left side the peaks.

We stopped at this interesting rock formation and we couldn’t resist climbing around on the rocks.

The closer we got to the peaks the more snow we could see – the temperature also dropped considerably.

The back side of Four Peaks had more snow than the front side.

We came out above Roosevelt Lake – we were surprised at how low the lake is, last year at this time it was 110% full.

Just before we reached Highway 87 we saw three deer run up a hill beside the road.  We drove to the other side of the hill and found them standing at the top looking down at us.

We really enjoyed this beautiful ride and wished we had taken more 4-wheel drive trips in the desert this year.

The Salt River has been too low to kayak all spring but finally in April we were able to kayak part of the river.  We started where the Verde River runs into the Salt River – this cut our trip by about half the distance we usually go but we still had a great time.  We kayaked on the Salt River three times with our friends Rhonda, Elroy and Betty.  Nancy and Rhonda drifting along with the current.

We were disappointed we couldn’t kayak the Salt River above the Verde River as that is where we usually see the most wildlife and, especially, the wild horses.  We did not get to see any wild horses on the three trips we took but did get to see a few Snowy Egrets, some Blue Herons and one Bald Eagle.  Red Mountain is really red today with the sun shining on it.

Nancy went to the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum with friends, Peggy, Betty, Joyce, and Bev.  We took a guided tour of the grounds and enjoyed seeing the wildflowers and cactus in bloom.

There were a lot of different kinds of cactus blooming.  This cactus was beautiful with its purplish marbled body and the yellow flowers on top. The ice plants around this cactus were also blooming. 

Nancy is standing among the cactus and yellow Brittlebush flowers.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine that such beautiful wildflowers can survive in the desert.

The rose garden was beautiful with all colors of roses blooming.

This Bottle Brush bush was beautiful and the blooms looked just like pink bottle brushes.

We see yellow Mexican Poppies in the desert every spring but very seldom have we seen orange poppies – not sure what kind they are. 

The hummingbirds and butterflies were enjoying all the blooms. It took our friend, Betty, many tries to get a picture of this hummingbird as it kept flitting from one flower to the next.

Spring is a beautiful time in the desert and the arboretum is a great place to see a large variety of desert plants in bloom.

The cacti around our park are also in full bloom – this beautiful Easter Lilly Cactus has 7 blossoms.  The blooms are so big you can’t see the cactus.

Those blooms died within two days and the next week it had three more blooms – it was absolutely beautiful.

Another beautiful cactus found in our park. 

Most of our neighbors have left for the summer and the park is certainly looking empty.  There are a few of us still hanging around, along with the 12 to 15 people who live here year round. 

The temperature has really heated up here the last week of April.  Sunday, April 29th was our first day of triple digit heat – it reached 104.  Monday it was 102 and Tuesday it reached 100.  The forecast is for a cool down – all the way to the mid 90’s for a few days.  We are staying in Apache Junction for one more week so Rex can work on the Desert Dwellers Express the first weekend in May.  Then we are heading to Silver City, New Mexico for a week of relaxing and enjoying some cooler temperatures.


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