Parsons Trail Adventure!

AURORA THE EXPLORER DOES PARSONS TRAIL TO SYCAMORE CANYON

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Length: 8 miles round-trip approx: 3.5-5 hrs
Difficulty:  Easy  2.5/5
Elevation: Approx: 3,700 feet
Directions: Head to Cottonwood, Arizona. Follow the signs to Tuzigoot National Monument and Clarkdale, Arizona. At Clarkdale, turn right (east) at the Tuzigoot turnoff and cross the bridge over the Verde River. Then immediately turn left on Sycamore Canyon Road (FR 131). Follow the road about 11 miles to Parsons Trail Trailhead. The road is passable by sedan when dry but the last two miles can be rough. It is best suited for high-clearance vehicles.
Dogs Allowed: Yes (on a leash)
Best Times. Apri-May and September-November
Horses Allowed: Yes. Only to the 3-mile mark at the third crossing of Sycamore Creek.
Camping. Prohibited during first 4 miles. Only permitted 200 feet north of Parsons Springs. There are no developed campgrounds.

My lil Ryo and I had an amazing time exploring together! 

My lil Ryo and I had an amazing time exploring together! 

Parsons Trail is the perfect day trip for those who aren't looking for an extreme hike, more of just a relaxing adventure with friends and family.
It starts with an absolutely gorgeous view, as pictured above, before you make your descent down a fairly steep drop of about 200 feet from the rim to the canyon floor. If you brought your furry friend with you, please be sure to check the sand because there isn't much shade to start with and let me tell you, that sand gets HOT. Don't worry though, once you reach the bottom, the terrain is mostly level and well worth the hike.
After just over a mile, you will find yourself completely surrounded by lush nature thanks to the natural springs that feed into the creek. The first spring you will come upon is "Summers Spring". Be sure to do some exploring in this area as there is a lovely little waterfall nearby. There is also a variety of wildlife to see so always keep an eye out.  I saw a few wild turkey, millipede, fox, elk, fish, and crawdads, but there are apparently golden eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, great blue herons and even black bears. How awesome is that?!

The Datura Flower, also known as devils trumpets.  Keep away from pets. 

The Datura Flower, also known as devils trumpets.  Keep away from pets. 

As you continue on your journey, you will feel less and less like you are standing in the middle of a desert, and more like a fairy tale forrest! It's flippin magical! There are butterflies, a beautiful array of flowers running along the path, woodland creatures...Oh! Quick reality check, there is also Poison Ivy and the strikingly beautiful yet poisonous datura flowers growing all over, as well as a few species of rattle snake so keep that in mind while you are wandering about. We are out in the wild after all! 
While I am on the subject, you will come upon a HUGE black rock while strolling, DO NOT TOUCH THE BIG BLACK ROCK! This is home to a plethora of spiders who just wish to be left alone. So let's do them a favor and just ignore the big black rock all together. There is plenty more to be seen after all!

You will need to cross over the crystal clear waters of the creek several times, but you won't get too wet if you are pretty good at rock hopping. The water is shallow so simply walking across is always an option, no swimming necessary. That is until you get to the canyon. That is where you will want to shimey off your hiking clothes and get ready for some play time! 

Before you even reach the canyon, you will likely hear fellow hikers splashing about and having a grand time. Once you see it for yourself though, I hope you are just as awe inspired as I was! Several small caves line the rich red canyon walls and at the base, the perfect swimming hole. The ledges are great for climbing and jumping off from!

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I spent all day here, swimming, jumping, exploring and just feeling completely rejuvenated. All my senses were heightened, I took the time to appreciate the small things, and my troubles felt small and oh so far away. It was so refreshing and inspiring. I feel as though all of my fellow creatives would benefit the most from such an experience. Of course everyone needs to get out from time to time to get back in touch with nature and what really matters.
This trail is an excellent one to start off with! Not too long, not to short, and quite a site to see!  Bring your art supplies, camera, writing book, swimsuit, and most importantly, an open mind! 
Now get out there and experience it for yourself! 

Art created to commemorate the experience. Please support my work on Patreon! www.patreon.com/aurorart  

Art created to commemorate the experience. Please support my work on Patreon! www.patreon.com/aurorart  

HAPPY ADVENTURING!! 
PM ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS!! 

Jetset Magazine Covergirl Contest!!

I am excited to announce I was asked to compete in the pestigious Miss Jetset covergirl Contest!! At first, I hesitated. I am working my tail off on my sketchbook for Phoenix Comic Con, and have a mountain of projects up in the air already, but once I learned Jetset teamed up with B+ Foundation which helps kids fight cancer through family assistance, research and advocacy. How could I say no! Not to mention the grand prize includes $100,000 in cash and prizes!!
HOLY WOW BATMAN!!

4 years ago, you all shocked and amazed me by helping me win the Betbombs calendar contest and flew me out to St. Barthelemy for the bikini beach shoot! Everyone told me there was no way to win, and that is must be a scam. However, you showed me ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE if you just work hard and believe! For that, I will forever be thankful! You really opened my eyes my friends! <3

Now I would like to be so bold as to ask for your once help again, to make this seemingly impossible task, into a reality! I started the contest late, and have been caught up in projects, but I know we can burst ahead with hard work, determination, and a positive spirit! #Underdog for the win!! Time to blow minds!!

I also just added exclusive rewards to show my appreciation for your vote & support to the B positive foundation. The 1st 25 people to purchase 10 votes will receive a personalized selfie after purchase! Your votes truly makes me smile and I would like to share that with you.

You can vote once a day free or buy votes with a portion of your donation going to the B+ foundation. #goodkarma

What do you say?! It's just 2 clicks away! Help me reach #1!?
https://www.jetsetmag.com/model-search/vote/aurora-obrien

Be Positive Foundation
http://bepositive.org

Jetset Magazine
http://www.jetsetmag.com

Jean Philippe Piter
http://jeanphilippepiter.com

Betbombs
http://betbomb.com

Desert Romping

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon when I was invited to head out to the desert to test out the body kit Sam just built. I was hesitant at first since I had a full plate already, but quickly decided to live and little and enjoy the lovely weather! Besides, all work and no play right? Oh! Plus, Sunday Fun-day. ;-) 
With that decision out of the way, we simply had to have the breakfast debate…we all know how fun that can be, lol. Moving on to the gas station;  we filled the tank for crazy cheap (AZ has the cheapest gas right now- Woot! Woot!) up and pick up a few bottles of water, because we are going out into the desert after all. Then we were off…
Making our way out of suburban hell & out into open, untouched land.

This was just past the Hassayampa River bed overlooking the many paths that are available. It's such a great feeling being free to choose and wander. Oh yea,&nbsp;I was actually balancing on top of the Suzuki to get this shot!&nbsp;

This was just past the Hassayampa River bed overlooking the many paths that are available. It's such a great feeling being free to choose and wander. Oh yea, I was actually balancing on top of the Suzuki to get this shot! 

After cruising around for a couple hours searching for a cave we had explored the last time we in the area, we decided to take a break on the side of a random mountain we came across. It wasn't too steep a climb, but we did have to be cautious of rattle snakes and cactuses. I was not appropriately dressed on this outing, sporting shorts with my kicks & ankle socks, but I made the hike fairly easily. I've grown accustomed to these hikes. It was worth the rock climbing towards the top as it was the perfect place to take in the scenery, weather, & vastness of it all.
I actually had just enough reception to periscope the experience & share it with people from all over the world! It was such an incredible feeling/experience! There I was on top of a random mountain, out in the middle of the desert, broadcasting to people in Europe, Russia, and Canada! 
Watch below! 

30 minutes or so passed & we made our way down the mountain back to the Suzuki. We thought that the best part of our trip was over,  but we had no idea what was in store for us. 
As we were following the trail we thought led back, we got a bit turned around and found ourselves taking a different path. We turned a random corner and saw it… DANGER!! 
Hey Lana…Danger Zone! XD -If you get it, you're awesome. 

We ran right into an abandoned mine! It was all collapsed in on itself. Still quite intimidating being surrounded by barbed wire and 'STAY OUT! STAY ALIVE!' signs.&nbsp;

We ran right into an abandoned mine! It was all collapsed in on itself. Still quite intimidating being surrounded by barbed wire and 'STAY OUT! STAY ALIVE!' signs. 

That wasn't all we saw though…For just as we were making our first turn away from the abandoned mine, we ran into this. VEEERRRY suspicious right?!

There be zombies in them there mines!!&nbsp;All kidding aside, the driver was super cool &amp; was happy to let me snap a few pics of his pimped out zombie response jeep! I think it is so awesome that he took the time to create such an amazing off-road machine. My hat is off to you bud!&nbsp;

There be zombies in them there mines!! All kidding aside, the driver was super cool & was happy to let me snap a few pics of his pimped out zombie response jeep! I think it is so awesome that he took the time to create such an amazing off-road machine. My hat is off to you bud! 

Sam and I went back & fourth discussing conspiracy theories linking the Zombie jeep to the abandoned mines & laughed at how crazy fun our spur of the moment adventure ended up being. It wasn't long till we found the right trail out and followed it back to the river bed. Once there, we gave the Zuk a break & checked everything to make sure it was in order. I took that time to enjoy the sand between my toes and cool spring air. Since we Arizona people know that…
SUMMER IS COMING. 

I'm so insanly thankful to get the opportunity to go on these simple adventures. It allows me to admire so much beauty and helps to re-inpsire me. The desert is such a harsh environment, yet when you see a beautiful desert flower blooming despite the incredible dire circumstances, it truly is something special to behold. Beauty rising against all odds….I like it.