Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hualapai Mountain Park

Current location: Kingman, AZ

Best laid know the saying. Well, we've had to slightly adjust our plans, again. We had planned for Kingman to be a one night stop, but when we pulled into the Blake Ranch RV Park, the attendant told us we were lucky to get a site without a reservation. Really? Hmmm, we've had no problem thus far. According to her, it's the northern migration of the snowbirds and this park is booked. I would have thought that most snowbirds would have already headed north by now, but I guess not. And that got us thinking about our next stops.

Our next planned stop was to spend a couple of nights at Terrible's Casino in Pahrump, NV. Howard and Linda Payne had stayed there and gave it high marks. We were planning to spend a few days there to replenish groceries, do some laundry, etc before our last push to California. So after the news, I thought I better call to make a reservation. Uh oh. They are sold out! They have three different rallies going on plus are full of migrating snowbirds. OK, plan B.

After some research and some additional calls, we decided to skip Pahrump altogether and extend our stay here in Kingman. The RV park has a very large and modern laundry and the town of Kingman appeared to be sizable enough to have some decent grocery stores and such. Luckily they were able to fit us in, although we had to move sites. So here we are.

One of the other reasons we decided to stay in Kingman was that it's not terribly hot, although getting warmer everyday, and there were some nearby hiking opportunities. So yesterday was our "chore day" and today was play day. Hunter loves to hike and he started getting excited as soon as the pack and the water bottles were set on the counter. He knew it was his day.

We drove to the Hualapai Mountain Park, which is about 15 miles outside of town. I had found what sounded like a nice hike on (for those who like to hike, bike, etc, this is an awesome site. It requires a nominal annual membership fee, but it saves having to buy hiking guides everywhere you go). The hike was stated to be 4.3 miles round-trip and about 800 ft elevation gain. That's pretty typical of what we used to do in Colorado, so we headed out about 9am this morning.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. Our campground is typical Arizona - shrubs but no trees - so we were prepared for more of the same. We wanted to get an early start to beat the heat in case it wasn't real shaded. Wow, were we surprised. It is called a mountain park and it actually felt like the mountains. There were lots of big pine trees and lots of shade. It is a beautiful area.
The trail...that's Hunter dodging trees:
When we entered the park, there was a trailhead almost immediately for the Aspen Springs trail. This was the trail that would take us to the one we wanted. So we parked and started hiking. Up and up and up. About a mile later we entered a campground and what did we find? The trailhead that we were supposed to park at! Oops. Oh well, it was a nice hike up to that point so we continued on. Now the guide said that the 800 foot elevation gain would be reached in about 1.5 miles and then it would level off. But keep in mind that we had already hiked a mile and climbed about 500 feet. But we kept going and kept climbing. It was very peaceful, the fresh pine smelled devine (hey, a rhyme!), and the temperature was just about perfect.

An old mine ("Silver Bell Mine"), we found along the trail. I don't know what was mined here, maybe silver? gold?
Rest stop for the weary...
Overlooking the town of Kingman (I think) in the far distance. Notice, a bit to the left of center an image of a dragonfly cut into the trees:

Here's a close up. The dragonfly is "our symbol". Read my post about it's symbolism here. How cool!
We made it to the point where the trail started to level off and we needed to make a decision. We were now on a section that was a 2.5 mile loop. Should we continue around the loop or turn around? If we continued around, the hike would end up being about 6.5 miles, which would really be pushing it for Hunter. And we were feeling a bit weary ourselves. I think we've had too many days sitting behind the wheel or just lounging around the house and we were feeling it. So we stopped for some lunch while we pondered.
While we sat atop a rock enjoying the view and our lunch, Hunter found a nice bed of pine needles under a tree that was perfect for a quick nap.
After sitting for awhile and filling our bellies, we turned around and headed back. And a good decision it was. Hunter started lagging further and further behind and by the time we got to the car, he was just about pooped. We were right there with him.

But it was a great hike. In total, we hiked a little over 5 miles and climbed about 1400 feet. Our legs are tired tonight, but it's a good kind of pain. What a nice little surprise Kingman turned out to be. I guess there was a reason we were meant to linger for a few days.

Tomorrow we'll head on to NV, taking it slow. We plan to arrive in California on Monday and I have to say that we're all looking forward to settling down for awhile. We've learned a lot on our first journey as full-timers. We've become more confident with hitching and towing and we've learned how to relax quite a bit. We are able to sleep well the night before our travel days now and have found it to be quite an easy routine. I'm sure after being stationary for 4 months we'll have to relearn all over again, but that's ok. We have our whole lives.


  1. About the snowbird migration... it's not a specific time per-se, it's more of a weather thing. The migration starts at the beginning of a warm-up that comes close to/or reaches 100 degrees in the deserts.

    This year, it's in May. Some years it can be as early as the middle to end of March.

    This year it was a fairly brisk winter here in the deserts and this week looks to be our first solidly in the mid-upper 90's approaching 100. We've had some warm days up till now, but none of them sustained for more than a day or two, that's why the late migration this year.

  2. What an awesome day gals, thanks for sharing.

    The dragonfly in the landscape? Whether intentionally put there or not, its very ironic that it came into your line of sight, since its your chosen symbol.

    "The main symbolisms of the dragonfly are renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. Dragonflies can also be a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity. Also, as a creature of the wind, the dragonfly frequently represents change. And as a dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest with the short time it has - which is a lesson for all of us."

    I'm sure your mouths dropped when you saw it. Now how cool is that.

    Be well and enjoy!


  3. I guess the snowbirds were late this year since winter wanted to linger. I would have thought they would have already headed north.
    Isn't it nice to be able to change plans and then make great memories from it?? Great hike!

    Safe travels and enjoy the journey!!
    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. Came upon your blog via HitchItch. I'm not an rv'er. I find full timing very interesting and hope to some day follow through and have a chance to do it. Oh.. and Happy Anniversary.. 8 years.. that's great.

  5. This was such an interesting read. You've inspired me to travel more and experience life. Thanks for sharing this!