Leaving Silver City to drive northwest on scenic 180, we cross the continental divide and go north roughly along the AZ and NM border. On the map there is a small red square marking a point of interest. It is The Catwalk, a former silver mine that paid well enough to merit a series of suspended walkways to maintain water pipes and to carry out silver. The mine closed in 1913, but the state (NM) wisely recognized the beauty value of the area and converted the catwalk into a canyon hike.
What do you do when you see a sign by the road that says “Cosmic Campground”? Must stop. I expect 1950’s outer space kitch and Alex says it will be psychedelic tie-dye sort of theme; but actually it is a dark sky Carl Sagan kind of place with an area reserved for setting up your telescope. We honor the dark sky and bright stars by unplugging any light emitters (e.g., cell phone chargers). Alex sees a meteorite streak across the sky when he is up in the middle of the night. And he captures the spectacular sunset.
From the Cosmic we drive across the top of the Mogollon (Mo-go-yon) Rim in AZ. At one pull out we see a dad and kids playing in a few inches of snow. They are joyous. If only we could magically transport them to Michigan they would find much more than a foot of snow in which to play.
We camp in chilly temps and awaken to snowfall.
If the headline is “Retired Michigan van dwellers spend February in Arizona” you would not expect to see this photo:
The drive along the Rim Road is one for a 4 wheel drive vehicle and Q does very well. It is just the best sort of twisty road that delivers beautiful scenery around every bend. If we weren’t driving in the snowy clouds, it’s likely we’d see that the view from the rim is gorgeous.
We stop in Camp Verde’s downtown area to see where the locals have breakfast. We find a cafe whose food is reminiscent of our favorite Northside Grill in Ann Arbor. We have a short drive on pavement to the Agua Fria National Monument where we will explore ruins and camp.
While Alex re-inflates Q's tires, i capture a rainbow.