montezuma-castle-arizona-camp-verde-clear-water-creek-arizona-travel-blogger006Tank: Michael Stars / Hooded Knit Dress: Forever 21 / Cutoff shorts: old (similar) / Sunglasses: Tiffany & Co. / Moccasins: Minnetonka / Backpack: Forever 21 (love this one) / Bracelet: BaubleBar

My best friend since college came into town for the weekend, it’s been so long since I last saw her, maybe last fall which is too long in my book. Jackie lives back in the bay area, works for the 49ers, you’ve seen her face around here – Dixieland road trip, 49ers Cardinals game, wedding pics, she’s constantly in my life.

Jackie’s a road tripper by heart. Me, I’d rather fly, sit on a boat, or, sit passenger if I absolutely must go along in a vehicle. So to compromise her desire to get in a car and head out of town, I said, fine, only if she drove. She said OK.

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But first, coffee and a maple bar. If you haven’t fallen in love with Dunkin’ Donuts yet, I dare you to try it. For $1.83 you can get a large iced vanilla chai (bigger than the one pictured).

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First stop, almost two hours north of Phoenix through Camp Verde…

Clear Water Creek

For some reason Jackie thought there was a lake. I kept reading the word creek and not quite understanding why we were in search of a lake, but she had seen someone else who tagged this location and thought it looked more lake-like. I’m wearing shorts under my dress, don’t worry, I’m aware of the transparency of my hooded maxi dress.

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Clear Water Creek looks like a cute camping location – it was 80 degrees. Easy walk. I wore mocassins, Jackie wore flip flops – that kinda hike.

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We walked the trail a little, looked at Google maps and realized, yeah, it’s going to stay a creek so let’s take some pictures around this gorgeous large tree and keep going.

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On our way to the next stop, we saw signs for Deer, Buffalo, and Salmon Jerky. Intrigued, we bought some. It was horrifically priced at $40 for 3 packs.

“Maybe if you didn’t whip out your Louis Vuitton wallet and asked him how much you owed him it would have been less,” said Jackie.

Yeah, maybe.

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Montezuma Castle

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Estimated to have been lived in around 1100 AD, Montezuma Castle consisted of 45 rooms, made from mortar and plaster. The way to get to your room – by ladder! Oh heck no dude. They built up there so they could be away from the wildlife of dangerous animals.

Admission is $5. Thanks Jacks for paying for me.

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The walk is pretty short, it’s a short loop and you unfortunately can’t get to the rooms though I would have loved to have checked them out – the ladder liability thing you know.

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This national monument is pretty spectacular, you can walk a little closer to the wall and see other holes in the wall – which apparently were additional housing. If you want to learn more about Montezuma, click here.

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If you’re interested in seeing more historic sites, ask for a map, they are happy to give you more places to visit like the Montezuma Well, and Petroglyphs. We had a late start to our day so by the time we left, most locations were closing.

We decided to take an alternative route back and go through Strawberry and Payson down the 87.

Driving down the 87

As we drove down south through Payson, we went crazy over the sunset. Tons of mountains, we were in awe and looked for a safe, makeshift pull off.

I made a comment that I was sure we were walking through an unmarked bathroom stop area and to not trip and fall, or touch anything.

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We climbed some boulders. It was a bit steep on the other side so we had to be very careful.

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Jackie didn’t like her shadow, so we are siamese twins.

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A few more fun portraits – it’s great to be with a girlfriend who is patient enough to get a good shot for you. This was one of the highlights of the trip – I think random pullovers and taking some fun photos is the best part of a trip.

Just go, be open to wherever you stop, and pull over and watch the sun go down on another day and be grateful.

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As much as I miss a lot of the California scenery and get homesick for it’s sights, I do love the scenery of Arizona.

I have always truly loved how I can see the horizons so clearly – the wide open spaces to see the east and the west, to feel like I can breathe, to not feel congested, it’s heavenly. I love the sunsets here and the typography in Arizona can differ all across the state! Jackie who went to college with me down in Tucson (and a Cali native like myself) reminded me of how beautiful Arizona is, and having such a positive friend like that, who helps point out all the good in your life, it really does wonders for your soul.

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Grateful for this gal by my side through the years and for her heart for exploring!

Pics taken with SONY-NEX.