Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cacti by the Lake

We had been following the wildflower reports on a web page for the Phoenix area, and Bartlett Lake was mentioned as a destination for wildflower viewing.

Bartlett Lake is located 50 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix or about 30 miles east of our RV Park.

After passing countless cacti, bushes and boulders around the town of Carefree, we reached grassy plains as the road climbed to a plateau at 3,300 feet. Here a side road forked off to the north, leading to the more remote Horseshoe Lake, which we hope to visit on a later trip. From this junction, it is nine more miles downhill to the Lake, where the grasslands are replaced once more by cacti.

It was interesting to see saguaro cacti so close to this Lake.

The Lake is a reservoir that was formed by the damming of the Verde River in 1936 - 1939. The dam produced the first reservoir built on the Verde River.

Our Golden Age Passport, which now goes by a new name, was good for a 50% reduction in the entrance fee. The Lake is in the Tonto National Forest and is operated by the Forest Service. Our Passport is good for free admission to the National Parks, but only half price for national forests.

We headed for Rattlesnake Cove--a "journey" of several minutes due to having to make a number of photo stops.

The majority of the photo opportunities were along the roadside, so we were able to avoid the possibility of trampling these delicate flowers on the walk for that closer shot.

Once we reached the parking area at Rattlesnake Cove, we had lunch at one of the several ramadas with picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Bartlett Lake is 12 miles long with a boatable surface area of 2,815 acres, offering several opportunities for boating, water skiing and fishing.

A short drive took us to the section of the resevoir called Yellow Cliffs.

On the day we walked around Bartlett Lake, there were only a few other visitors with whom we could share the beauty of the season.

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