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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Verde Discovery - #22

The lake that isn't
Just east of Paulden, really within a stones
throw, are the headwaters of the Verde River. Technically, the Verde starts at Sullivan Lake. Trouble with Sullivan Lake, typical of the water in Arizona, it's not there very often. On a recent motorcycle ride, Frank and I discovered, by accident, the lake that isn't where the Verde River is purported to start. There are no markings or signs. When we got home we looked it up on the map. The Verde must go underground and pop up farther east. The headwaters aren't visible from the road and you can't easily get to them. The steep rugged cliffs would require cliff climbing which we don't do. But the Verde is alive and well a mile or so up the canyon.

If you go far enough east, it's quite large and deep. As a kid, we would head out of Phoenix and go tubing on the Verde. What I remember is a well used, green river with rocky muddy banks. It was beautiful but, well, peopled.

The trek down begins

View along the trek down

Our neck of the woods finds the Verde small with crystal clear waters and quiet beauty. Lance and Christie discovered a beautiful area just east of the headwaters. 

The first glimpse of water
What's great about this park area is that it's not marked either. You can find it on a map, but if you're driving by the road that goes into the park, you'd never know it's there. We're only a few miles from nearly pristine waters. Once you leave the paved road, the fairly rugged dirt road winds through flat land that is high prairie but dotted with small cactus. After about five miles, the road is blocked. The last mile and a half is done on foot. The first half mile is rather steep - great going down - not so great coming back! On our way out we met the couple that checks on the area every few days. They told us that the road used to be open all the way down but the park was abused so they closed it. I'm glad. The long trek keeps most people out. We were the only ones on this stretch of river all afternoon.

Heading upstream to fish
The Verde River
This isn't the prettiest time of year. The trees are only beginning to leaf, and there are very few wild flowers blooming. I know we'll utilize the Verde often and see it through each season. I'm really looking forward to full-blown springtime. But even now, the beauty is inspiring.


  1. I don't know Brenda, I like spring when the trees and bushes are starting to bud green. It's so refreshing. Life starting anew. ;^) In MN, I love driving over the MN river valley and seeing the greenery budding. Great pics and you'll have to make sure to post full bloom pictures.

  2. I love it too, Jody. And I will be sure to post more.