McDowell Mountain Park

We had a great couple of weeks at McDowell Mountain park.  We did SOOOO much from microbrews, visiting friends, hiking, biking, sand buggies and of course lots of shopping and stocking up the vehicle with everything we didn’t realize we needed!

We traveled to McDowell with our friends Iain and Kate.  We continued our Arizona Ale Trail and managed to hit up 4 different breweries – OHSO, Fate, Scottsdale and Four Peaks.  The atmosphere at OHSO was great and so was the food – we went twice.  The Scottsdale location on the canal has great patio dining and the salmon sandwich was excellent.

OHSO Brewery Scottsdale - Amazing Patio!

OHSO Brewery Scottsdale – Amazing Patio!

A visit to the area is not complete without a tour of Frank Lloyd Wrights home Taliesen West.  Kate, Iain, Dave and I did a 90 minute tour and learned all sorts of new trivia.  Did you know that Lincoln Log Toys were created by Franks son — who knew?  A great tour and well worth the visit.

Frank Lloyd Wright - Taliesen West

Frank Lloyd Wright – Taliesen West

We also squeezed in a trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens for sunset.  A gorgeous place and well worth the visit.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

A little Dr. Suess Joshua Tree in bloom

A little Dr. Suess Joshua Tree in bloom

Finding a Little Chihuly at the Botanical Gardens

Finding a Little Chihuly at the Botanical Gardens

Dave and I went way outside our comfort zone and joined my good friends from college for a day of sand buggy in the desert.  We strapped in a 4 seat Razor and zipped around up, down over and through.  I have not laughed that hard in years.  It was a blast to catch up with Susan and Jeff.  I am so glad they moved back to Phoenix so we can catch up more often.  Dave took a great movie of just a few minutes of our ‘Disney Ride’ fun.

Razor Riding

We had visitors in town for a few nights from Boulder.  Mark and Kim hung out in Scottsdale and caught up with us for beers and dinner for a couple of days while on their way to California.  Another great bonus of travel is to meet up with friends as  we all travel around.  The world really isn’t that big.

We spent part of our time mountain biking the great trails in McDowell.  The trails are great and you can go for as little or as long as you want.  We love the scenery as it is so different from home. Much of the vegetation was consumed in the 1995 fire that raged through the park and everything is in recovery mode.  Still pretty and very different from other parks in Maricopa County. I was on the alert for snakes as the weather was warming up – thankfully I did not have any sightings of snakes or run-ins with cactus.

Another day we hit Pinnacle Peak for a short hike.  The description was ‘around the peak’ so I was thinking a 3 mile stroll.  Nope – it was up down around and lots of switch backs.  A great little hike with views of the oversized mansions in Scottsdale.  The heat had us thinking about installing a zip line from the trail into the pools that we could see down below.  Of course it had to be followed up with a trip to the famous Pinnacle Peak Steak House for food and brews.  A little piece of Americana complete with an entire ceiling full of cut off ties.  The food wasn’t anything to write home about, but the beer was not bad.

Pinnacle Peak

Pinnacle Peak

Pinnacle Peak Trail

Pinnacle Peak Trail

Between all of our outings we had some great dinners and fires at the home stead.  Had a chance to put the pie iron to use and cook up some yummy apple pie.  We were also introduced to the British version of s’mores made with chocolate covered biscuits.  Yummy!

Our time at McDowell came to an end and we had to say goodbye to Kate and Iain as we parted ways.  They are headed out to White Tank and we are off to Cottonwood.  We had so much fun meeting up with them, we hate to say goodbye.  The weather is heating up and I start melting when it gets over 90.  So North we go — unless the weather changes. Until our paths cross again.

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