Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Very Scary Road

Yesterday Lloyd and I went on a little road trip here in sunny Arizona.  We wanted to check out something new so we drove to the small cities of Superior and Globe and on through the Tonto National Forest and from there, rather than backtracking and covering the same terrain on our return trip, we decided to take the Apache Trail (highway 88) past the Roosevelt Dam and through the canyons to Tortilla Flat and on to Apache Junction.

Here's what President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) had to say about the Apache Trail. I don't think it has changed much since his day.

"The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the Glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have.  To me, it is the most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has ever created." 

Sure it's beautiful and grand and magnificent and all that Pres. Roosevelt said, but I'll tell you what the 'indefinable something' is...the scariest, narrowest, twisting and turning road you'll ever find!!!

The 38 mile segment traversing through the Tonto National Forest is designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway. The entire route has also received recognition as a State Historic Road by the Arizona Department of Transportation.  It took us over two hours to travel that 38 mile segment of unpaved, narrow, twisting road, up one canyon and down another, repeatedly. There were switchbacks and blind curves with no guardrails and barely room for one car to drive easily.  Occasionally there were little outcroppings that you could pull onto if you happened to meet a vehicle coming the other way.  Luckily we didn't.

In spite of the edge-of-the-seat nervousness, the scenery really was spectacular.  Lloyd wanted to stop at every bend in the road to take pictures, and we did stop wherever there was room for us to get out of the middle of the road.

Here's some shots of our adventure.

The Roosevelt Dam, where the road begins

Our first clue that this was not going to be an easy drive...the
dirt road with little piles of sand at the oter edge.  It followed the beautiful
river for quite a while.  The Salt River I think.  (Correct me if I'm
wrong Roe.)

No way to tell if something's coming around that curve

And uuupppp we go...Some of these shots are, of necessity,
taken out our spotty windshield.

Halfway up the first canyon.  You can just see the river in the middle
of the picture.  Our road can be seen cutting across the near hill.

A tight squeeze if we were to meet an oncoming vehicle.

The sun played a major role in the photo shoots.  I was
afraid we wouldn't make it off the trail before dark.  We
almost didn't.

Civilization in the form of a bridge.

A single lane bridge going down the canyon.

The sun creates interesting shadows in the background and
turns the side hills gold.  You can see the road we just
traversed in the center.
Almost to the top

A curve with a layout for stopping

Sun setting behind a saguaro

Golden sunshine on the cliffs

Don't know what lived in that cave

Pretty sunshine

Stopped on the road to get out and take pictures

The top of the steepest climb...I can't see those guardrails
being much help if we started to go over the side.

Sunlight and cactus

Another road we climbed...all uphill

Love those blind curves

Our road far below

A layout where we stopped to take pictures

Scary turn

At last...pavement...civilization...Tortilla Flat...thats the
whole town there...closed up for the day at 6pm.

And that's our great adventure.  The scenery really was beautiful.  I know the road doesn't look scary in the pictures but it really was!  Trust me.  Go see it if you're able, just don't invite me.  Been there, done that!


Mickey said...

Wow that really we an adventure on that narrow winding road! Your pictures are gorgeous! and really show how rugged and undeveloped that trail is! Did you ever meet anyone? Scarier than ending up in a deserted Native reservation😉. Sure you don't want to go back sometime?

doodles n daydreams said...

Wow Pat, that was some trip. At least you can say, been there, done that! The scenery is really magnificent though, isn't it?


Granny Annie said...

It doesn't look like you had a traffic problem. If you needed help for any reason would someone be coming along? I would have been too busy watching the road to enjoy the scenery. Kudos for your bravery.


looks scary to me despite the obvious beauty all around. glad you survived the adventure.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Your pictures took my breath away a time or two. The pictures were beautiful but having seen it once, I don't think I'd go again. Those blind curves would scare me away.

RoeH said...

I LOVE the Apache Trail. Haven't been up on it in many years. It is so beautiful. Wish I'd gone with you.

Anupama K. Mazumder said...

Your narration matches so well with the snaps. Almost felt like as if I am there.

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

That is Daryl's favorite kind of road. And while driving he would not of missed one single bit of the scenery.
Your pictures are beautiful!!