Friday, June 28, 2013

Hassayampa River Preserve, Wickenburg, Arizona

usbackroads destination--Hassayampa River Preserve and downtown Wickenburg, Arizona

This travel destination is brought to you courtesy of Ram Truck warranty service.  They called about 11:30 am and said that our battery for the key FOB was in Wickenburg and we needed to pick it up before 2:00pm.

So we ran down to the Dodge dealer to pick up the battery and then decided to drive through downtown Wickenburg.  What a pleasant surprise!  We stopped at the outskirts of Wickenburg for gas and groceries before and said..."yep, looks like new Arizona to us".

Well, downtown Wickenburg is old Arizona.  Susie wanted an ice cream cone so we went looking for an ice cream vendor.  We found one at Chapparal Ice Cream.  As we entered there was a sign reminding you to eat your ice cream before dinner.  They served their own homemade ice cream.  Well worth the stop.  The ice cream is good.

But to make it old Arizona you need more than ice cream.  As we entered there were four guys playing classical tunes with three guitars and a bass fiddle.   Nothing earlier than 1970.  Classics that Bob Wills, Eddie Arnold, and a host of others would be proud to sing.  They even played "Somebody Robbed the Glendale train" for those of us that remember the Greateful Dead and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.  I almost asked them to sing "Sugaree"

We wandered for a bit around town.  If you need western clothes, boots, or hats this is the town for you.  Anyway, don't miss downtown Wickenburg.  We almost did.

At the ice cream shop we picked up a brochure for the Hassaymmpa River Preserve.   Now this sounds like a down south area, but it is in Arizona.  The Nature Conservancy runs the place and since the Nature Conservancy was our neighbor up at Camas Meadows for a few years we decided to stop and look around.

Nice interesting short hikes along the Hassayampa River which is totally dry EXCEPT for this one spot.  The town of Wickenburg even put a NO FISHING FROM BRIDGE sign where the river runs through town.   Cowboy humor.

There is a $5 entrance fee person.  The best time to visit is early in the morning or at sunset.  So time your visits for those times.   There are binoculars you can borrow and the visitor center has a great display of plants and exhibits for its size.

The area at one time was a stage stop.  Stage stops in Arizona were places where people were killed and this one was no exception.   Remember our stop at the Butterfield Stage Coach Stop.

Here is the story and the grave.  Hassayampa River Preserve Grave Site.

Here is the trail that wanders through the preserve.

The trail goes past a nice pond that seems out of place in Arizona.

Though on our trip we tied the preserve and downtown Wickenburg together you do not have to do that.  Both the preserve and downtown Wickenburg are worth a longer time than the four hours we gave to both of them.  However, the next day was a travel day.

Downtown Wickenburg and the Preserve are worth the visit.  Don't be fooled by the new stuff on the edge of town!

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