and drink plenty of it

Traveling Them Thar Hills

Back to the Past one more time


We left Payson early so Michelle could fly out of Phoenix SkyHarbor to Salt Lake. She will use any and all excuses to see and take care of Grandbaby Charlotte. So we landed at Usery MTN Pass regional park. It was the last available spot for Huey in all of Maricopa County Regional parks on a Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a very nice park but not really dog friendly for a dog who isn’t cactus smart. You see Usery Mtn has to be the jumping cholla capital of the world. There are very large cholla forest everywhere. So back to flying to Salt Lake Michelle couldn’t get a seat on standby to SLC because of the holiday weekend. So we had 5 days at Usery. It actually was enjoyable.


We did a bunch of hiking around Usery Mtn, and while walking Calle there was a large cholla on her right and my right. About the time I gave her a corrective jerk to stay away from the cholla she moved my way and my hand went to the left and hit a cholla on the left side of the trail.

These little puppies must inject some kind of chemical because my hand welded up at 8 different spots the thorns had stuck into. Lesson learned?

While eating breakfast one day we had some beautiful visitors land on the tree just outside our table window. We have never seen these birds before and they stuck around for pictures. We sent the pictures to our birding expert Marcia in Eugene and found out they were Peach Faced Lovebirds.


Then just down the road at a host site we found a list of birds seen here at Usery Mtn Park. Pretty amazing! Especially if you love birds.


Our stay ended at Usery and we left for Lake Pleasant Regional park the place we hosted for 4 months last winter. This time we stayed in space 20 the best spot in all of this park. A total 180 degree view of the lake, home for 2 weeks. Two days there and Michelle made a FLT to Salt Lake. So it was just me, calle and the cat. Calle and I must of hiked 100 miles at my speed and not the speed of “speed demon Michelle”. Plus calle and I paddled the lake and did the geocaches on the islands.






4 thoughts on “Back to the Past one more time

  1. We stayed at Usery Mtn Regional park last year and thoroughly enjoyed the clean wide oen space (minus the Cholla). How does the quantity of Cholla at Usery compare to McDowell Mtn?

    While at Usery did you get a chance to hike the Wind Cave trail? That is a vigorous hike, and the view of the Valley is the reward amongst other things.

    • Oh, and we chickened out of hiking up to the wind cave because Calle did get stuck with the cholla. She picked up one round on her belly and while screaming like a stuck pig while I was trying to get it out of her, she moved it to her tail. I think some of the other campers were thinking that we were beating our dog! Finally we got the stickers out of her tail and rear end. I ended up with the worst damage again. Scratch marks from her claws or teeth yelping while I was pulling stickers. Next time I will take a regular comb with us.

  2. Thanks for asking Jackie. I don’t know if you two had or now have bikes? But if you do McDowell is by far the best park we have been to next to Oregon State parks in all ways imagine able! The park is clean, no litter, park hosts keep this place top notch. The people who come here are either hikers or for the most part Mtn bikers. They are friendly, smiling, respectful, and it has been one of the most enjoyable places we have been to. As for jumping cholla, it’s not even remotely close to Usery Mtn. Calle has had a very great time hiking with us. The views here are great with the biggest separation between camp spots. Out spot 56 is great but next time we will reserve Number 62!!!!

    • We learned a Valuable tip frim the interpretive guide that has saved Ginger from the cholla many times. Carry a straight fined-tooth hair comb with or better, pack it on Calle’s leash. We just picked up a pack of 12 for $1 at Dollar Tree. We would be happy share some once you get to Karchner Caverns.

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