Picacho Peak Then on to Apache Junction

Apache Junction, AZ

After spending a few days hiking in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeast Arizona, we headed north on I-10 past Tucson to Picacho Peak State Park.

Site C-24 in Picacho Peak State Park

Picacho Peak on the left

We came here intending to hike up a trail to the top of the peak.  But the nimble hiker awoke the first morning with a very sore leg caused by a pinched nerve in her lower back.  After two trips to urgent care in nearby Casa Grande for medication, we determined that a few days of rest were in order.  So a climb up the peak will just have to wait for a later visit.

But we did complete a hike walk through the desert enjoying the desert plants blooming all around us.

After a restful few days we moved north to Apache Junction, east of Phoenix.  There is some great hiking in the area and the nimble hiker is on the mend, so we are looking forward to getting out for some exploring.

One would think that with the many RV parks in the Mesa/Apache Junction area we would have no difficulty reserving a spot for a couple of weeks.  But we struggled finding a vacancy until we located Superstition Lookout RV Resort in Apache Junction.  This is your classic snowbird park with more permanent units than RV sites.  But we have a nice site with plenty of room on one side and a vacant permanent unit on the other.

Site 2 in Superstition RV Resort

Two couples who have blogs we follow are also in the area so we took the opportunity to meet at a nearby watering hole, The Handlebar Pub and Grill.  We have known the Weavers (Wheres Weaver) for a few years now and were really looking forward to seeing them again.  This is the first time we have had the opportunity to meet Ingrid and Al (Live Laugh RV).   As it always happens when we meet people who live full time in an RV, we spent a few hours sharing experiences while enjoying good craft beer and a tasty meal.

Front row: Ingrid, Al, and Pam   Back row: Marsha, Paul, and John

The next day Pam’s pinched nerve seemed to be a little better so we decided to test it with a moderate hike at McDowell Regional Park, about 30 miles to our northwest.  On the advice from blogger Suzanne (Take to the Highway), we explored the Scenic Trail, a loop trail that totaled under five miles with a small elevation gain.  The primary reason for choosing this hike was to check out a Crested Saguaro located near the trail.

Usually the crested section is at the very top of the Saguaro.  This guy is interesting as the crest is on an arm about half way up the main section.

We completed the hike with no further injury.  In fact, Pam reported no pain in the leg so maybe she is on the mend.  John reported some pain she had created for him, but he would not reveal its location!

After leaving McDowell Regional Park, we took a side trip through the community of Fountain Hills to check out another interesting Crested Saguaro described to us by Rick of Rick and Joanne’s RV Travels.

With only two weeks in the area we have a number of items on our agenda, so we need to get busy.  First up is (surprise) a hike in the nearby Superstition Mountains.

More on that later . . .

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42 Responses to Picacho Peak Then on to Apache Junction

  1. Mary says:

    Wow, those crested saguaros are great. I haven’t seen any like that. Some year we will have to include the Superstition mountains on our route.

    • placestheygo says:

      Mary, any crested cactus is unique. But the crested saguaro are beautiful. They are quite rare but we usually seem to find at least one in an area packed with saguaro.

  2. pmbweaver says:

    Lovely header photo!
    I am renaming you two…”King and Queen of the Crested Saguaro.” Doesn’t matter where they are, you two find them. Isn’t the desert just so gorgeous this time of year!

  3. Love all the flowers you are getting this year!

    Good to read that you are feeling better…take it easy as you get back in the swing of things!

    That second saguaro arm is amazing!

    • placestheygo says:

      This is our first visit to AZ when the wildflowers were blooming. The brilliant yellow desert floor has been just gorgeous. I end up taking a ton of pictures trying to show the real beauty.

      I have been resting more than I would like but I am feeling better each day. The hiking doesn’t bother me but I’m not sure it is letting my back improve as fast as it could so.

      Isn’t that second arm unusual! I guess it just crested right from the start.

  4. Joan and Steve says:

    The flowers are beautiful! Who knew the desert could look so blooming colorful.

    I hear you are going to Moab. We hope to spend a little time there before the summer job starts but it will be the first part of April. Now we have a jeep that can keep up with you!

    Hope Pam is over the pinched nerve. Not much that can keep her down for long!

  5. Ingrid says:

    Nice to hear Pam’s ready to tackle some of the great trails around here. We’ve been having a wonderful time and it was really nice to finally get to meet you two. Hopefully we’ll bump into you again in Moab and share a couple more beers 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Ingrid! It was so nice to meet you and Al, also. Although I do feel like I knew you already:) Today was my best day yet for leg pain. It was wise for me to take another whole day of rest. I am hoping I have turned the corner. Looking forward to meeting in Moab!

  6. Sheila says:

    Glad you are on the mend and out enjoying the beautiful area. I bet it is sure nice to meet up with blogging friends! Have fun!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sheila! I think I am finally starting to feel better. I guess rest was the answer even though it is very hard:) We always enjoy meeting fellow bloggers after following each other for so long.

  7. Nancy says:

    Great photos… and so cool you got to meet up with blogging friends! I need to see a crested saguaro. I never have!

  8. Becky says:

    Wow, great to see everything was bloom while you were at Picacho Peak. We were a little too early for the desert blooms. Enjoy your time in the Superstition Mountains. Hope you can do the Flatiron trail from Lost Dutchman; it is on our list.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Becky, we did hit Picacho Peak at the perfect time. The desert floor was covered with poppies. But I am so disappointed I couldn’t hike to the peak. Oh, well, now I have to go back:) The Flatiron is on our list. I just want to get my back settled down a little more before we tackle it.

  9. Laurel says:

    Oh no!! I’m so sorry to hear that you had a pinched nerve, Pam. Sounds painful, indeed. So glad to know that you’re feeling better and getting back out on the trails. Those crested saguaro are so unique and beautiful. Looks like you’re having fun meeting up with fellow bloggers!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laurel! I think I am finally on the mend. My back is fine but the pressure on the nerve is felt in my leg with numbness and spasms. It is always exciting to find new crested saguaro. We love meeting fellow bloggers:)

  10. Suzanne says:

    So glad you found the crested saguaro on the Scenic Trail! Your photos are much better than mine, as it was late in the day, and I was trying to capture the detail while shooting into the sun. Now, you have given me one more to seek out as well! Also Picacho Peak…yet another one for the ever-growing list!

    So cool you got to meet up with the other bloggers! That is just so fun!

  11. Sherry says:

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. Sorry you didn’t get up to Picacho Peak. Looks like a wonderful campsite there and your desert in bloom pictures sure do make me wish I could be there. Sorry you had to move on but look where you went. I’ve never seen a crested saguaro and your close ups are just amazing. What great pictures! How much fun to meet up with people you’ve met via blogs. Lots of people in the SW this winter. Wish I were one of them. I’m getting a bit tired of Florida but am pretty stuck here.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sherry! Yes, it was disappointing to not get to climb the peak but that gives us a reason to return:) Crested saguaro are my favorite and I am searching constantly when we are in this area. We have been luck this winter to meet up with several bloggers which has been great fun. Next winter we will be back east once again.

  12. Janna says:

    I’ve never seen an arm crested before–cool!! Glad you are on the mend! Are you guys still planning to be in this area at some point?

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Janna, I am slowly improving:) This was my first crested arm, as well. It was so large. No, I’m sorry we won’t be getting your way. It seems there are mountains and no good road to get us from Wickenburg to Prescott. So we have to miss visiting your area.

  13. Gay says:

    So glad to read you are on the mend Pam…

    What magnificent crested safuaro you found. Last year the saguaro were in bloom late March. Now that is a beautiful sight!

    Enjoy your time and happy hiking!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay! I am slowly improving. Someday I want to stay in this area long enough to see the saguaro bloom. The other cacti are full of buds and so ready to burst open. I hope happens this coming week!

  14. Jodee Gravel says:

    I have passed the peak many times and even stopped to see the silly ostriches, but didn’t realize the park had such great campsites – will definitely have to remember that! Having sciatica I can sympathize with your leg pain – Bill can sympathize with John’s pain as well 🙂 Nothing more beautiful than the desert in bloom, so glad you’re getting to enjoy it – and a couple more great crested cacti (I’ve yet to see my first).

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Jodee! Good to know John has some support out there:) Luckily, I can hike without a problem but we are taking it easy. The nights are where I am struggling. But things are improving:) Yes, you must stop and stay at the park. It is so nice. We never did get down to see the ostriches.

  15. Too bad about yor leg. It is always so hard to rest and recover when you’re in such great places to hike. Curious as to what the Urgent Care did for you as I am having a problem with a pinched nerve in my neck. Arm pain and pins and needles but I’m trying exercises and hope it improves on its own. Like you, it really doesn’t bother me during the day but it makes it hard to sleep comfortably.
    Wish you could have done the Picacho Peak hike. I didn’t make it all the way but Jim did. Chains and dropoffs worse than Angels Landing, and I remembered you guys did not attempt that one.
    Look forward to your photos from the Phoenix area hikes!

  16. jimandbarb says:

    The pinched nerve sounds horrible! At least it did not linger too long. It is always nice to meet fellow FT’er/bloggers, they both seem live very nice couples.

  17. RJRVtravels says:

    So glad you got to see one of my favorite Crested Saguaros.

  18. LuAnn says:

    Your photos are amazing! Love the desert wildflowers and the crested saguaro. Most important, glad to hear you are on the mend Pam. Too bad John is now feeling some pain (lol). 😉

  19. Holly Ritger says:

    I love your post, and I have yet to see the blooming desert. That is on my list as a “must do.” Dang, there are so many places to visit in an RV, and you really need to see the same location in 3 different seasons. I will never run out of places to visit in our RV travel! I first saw crested cacti a few years back but didn’t realize how neat it would be to go looking for them on my hikes. That second crest you found is just gorgeous!! I was surprised to hear you guys just met Al and Ingrid for the first time. I think of many of you RV bloggers as a big group, who all know each other. I know I feel like I know you all from your blogs. : )

    • placestheygo says:

      Holly, I totally agree about needing to see the same location in various seasons. Yes, we will never run out of places to visit. This country is just too spread out:) Searching for crested saguaro makes ever hike an extra adventure.

      I know what you mean about knowing bloggers. When we do meet someone we’ve been following for awhile, it is like getting together with an old friend. We do get to know each other rather well through our blogs.

  20. Steve says, he can just imagine the pain John is getting from Pam’s pinched nerve. But we are happy that the nimble hiker is on the mend. At least Pam knows what is ailing her.
    I so wanted to be in the desert at spring time and see the colored desert floor. I hope you will be there long enough to see the saguaro blooming too.
    Missing Picacho Peak hike is really a good reason to come back to AZ next winter :). You have to climb it!
    Pam, you are the Queen of Crested Saguaros! those are beautiful.

    • placestheygo says:

      John loves getting sympathy!! I’m afraid we won’t see the saguaro bloom. It is just too hot to stay around and wait. Maybe one year we can drive from the north for a day to see them blooming:) We are heading for Prescott, then Sedona next Monday. It is almost 20 degrees cooler there. I can’t wait.

  21. I really like the photos of the crested saguaros you posted. And am glad you are feeling better. It is starting to get warm up in Phoenix, we are still fairly cool down here in southern Cochise County.

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