Friday, January 31, 2014

McDowell Mountain Regional Park near Phoenix

We moved from Lost Dutchman State Park in the far eastern side of the valley of the sun, to the NE quadrant just east of Scottsdale in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, part of the Maricopa County park system.  Last winter we had stayed in Cave Creek Regional park north of Scottsdale when we spent Christmas with family and we liked it so thought to try this one.  We were not disappointed.  

Whereas Lost Dutchman had striking views of the Superstition mountains close enough for easy day hikes, McDowell was on a flat plain with McDowell Mountain about 8 miles to the west.  Wouldn't ya know it that I didn't really take many photos.  Only one really.  Never got out the big camera.  just one iphone photo.  The days were clear and warm in the 70's all 10 days.  the nights were cool in the 40's but nothing icy or frigid (for southern Arizona that is since it is all relative).  

McDowell Mountain park is known for its trail biking.  in fact 65 miles of trails with all different skills and degree of difficulty just like ski slopes.  We stayed mainly on the beginner trails or "bunny" trails to use the ski analogy.  Not too steep, good trails without many rocks.  We went out every day for 9-11 mile rides around the area.  We got good cardio workouts and stay upright with no falls or injuries.  

Sraddha getting a water break at one of the outposts on the outer trails.
Here is a rant which I rarely do in this blog. The park is near Fountain Hills, AZ, known for its obscenely 562 foot tall water fountain.  IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT!  Grr.  Talk about an "in your face" type gesture.  I copied this photo from wikipedia to give you an idea.  We could see it from the park about 7 miles distant.  Gross.

Ever time we ventured out of the park to go somewhere we had to drive through Fountain Hills near this beast.

Oh well, enough of my ranting.

The park had water and electric hookups and 360 view of the mountains in the distance.  Yes, I know, where are the photos?  Hmm. Beautiful place to visit tho and very quiet.   Internet was not great. Verizon worked slowly most of the time and AT&T cell was sporadic. which is why I haven't posted for a while.

We visited Taliesin West, built by Frank Lloyd Wright,  back in 30's and 40's.  A remarkable design.  I had seen photos of his homes, etc but this was amazing.  Not my type of architecture, but the sense of comfortable living space was definitely present when we toured inside his actual living room and home. Again, no photos really.

We also visited Phoenix Botanical Gardens where a special exhibit of Chihuly  glass sculptures was scattered throughout the gardens.
one of the Chihuly sculptures in Desert Botanical Garden
We had visited briefly the gardens with family last winter but was a quick walkthrough. This time we had lunch, walked slowly all around taking photos (link here to my picasa album) then, after nightfall, walked again around to see the sculptures. I enjoyed every exhibit during the daytime and a few of them at night.  Then had dessert.  OMG, talk about pig out.  Well the dessert was our dinner.

Most of the time we stayed close to home (our RV of course) and biked and walked.  Sraddha now on a kick to lose some weight and get in shape so that was fun and tiring in a good sort of way.

All in all, I would recommend this park (4 out of 5).  While on the expensive side ($30 per night), it offers wonderful place to be quiet yet still access all the fun places in Phoenix area.

I have a couple more blog posts to do to catch up here.  then will fill in some more posts with some special activities we did which will be out of order of our travels.
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