Friday, we went out with Bill and Sarah on a search for the fire lookout at a place called Turkey Butte. According to our topo maps, this location would give a good overlook of one of the many canyons in the area. To get there, one had to go north to Flagstaff and then come south on backroads. So, we headed to Flag, took route 66 west for a few miles and then went down Woody Mountain road in search of the lookout towers. The first part of the way was on a maintained dirt road. The secondary roads were described as "unmaintained, upaved roads". None of the roads posed a problem for the Jeep or even any SUV. The only problem was when the road turned into a washboard and the Jeep would bounce sideways.
We found the access road to the fire lookout tower at Turkey Butte. It was gated, so we had a quarter mile hike up a steep grade to the tower. At 7500 feet, the air was a bit rare and we were sucking wind. On the way up, we came across an intersting discovery. More on that below. Once at the tower, we were treated to a great view across Sycamore Canyon as well as a view of the Sedona area all the way to Jerome. It was very clear and we could see for miles.
As the travelling was easier than expected, we set out in search of more vistas. Along the trail, we spotted an opening to the right and pulled over and walked to a cliff. What a great surprise. A panaramic view over a rocky ledge toward Sedona. See the photo on the left. We then continued to East Buzzard Point for another terrific view across the canyon to (for those who know the area) Hardings Point and Oak Creek Canyon in the distance. See photo on the right.
Speaking of critters, we saw a lot of mule deer, elk and wild turkeys. Some of the mule deer were quite large and one male only had one antler. It really was a place where the "deer and the antelope play". Except for one deer. Above, I mentioned something interesting on the climb to the Turkey Butte lookout tower. On the path up, I noticed in the distance what looked like very white branches sticking up. As we got closer they looked more and more like ribs. Seeing the fur spread all over and the skull and verterbra, we quickly deduced that, sure enough, it was bones. Probably a deer, but it was hard to tell. Most of the body parts were missing. A CSI agent would probably say they were carried away by coyotes. Not sure what attacked the deer, but it was pretty good size as the deer seemed pretty large. The bones were picked clean but the fur looked relatively fresh, so we don't know how long ago the attack took place. Double click on the photo to see the skull and the ribs at the top right.
We kept our eye out for more animals on the drive back. We saw lots of tracks on the road we were on, so we were searching the forest for that one-antlered deer. Judy had spotted most of the animals, so when she told me to stop the Jeep and back up, I figured she saw some more deer. When I didn't see any, I thought she was looking for rocks. But, look below to see what she found along the trail. Not sure what we will do with it, but it makes an interesting souvenir.