Living in Arizona : questions

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unicutie

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Hey all :) so i'm in flagstaff az right now and after like a day and a half i knew i wanted to stay here. 

So i have some questions for people who know about az living. 

First of all, I've been bouncing around between various dispersed camping areas, walnut Canyon and off of elden overlook rd. I met someone else who has been doing the same thing in a camper for months who gave me the scoop on some things. 

So, about the MONSOONS... Are there any strategies for this? If i do stay I'll probably get at least a pair of all terrain tires for the back... I'm worried about getting stuck in mud. Do they close down camping areas? Are there places that are sheltered more than others? Bad places to be when storms hit? Besides the obvious washes and flood Plains... 

Anything i might want to know? Not even sure the right questions to ask, lol!
 

highdesertranger

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the best strategy I have found is to be well informed about the weather. NOAA Weather Radio is a great resource. now if you happened to get caught in a storm the best thing to do if the rain is heavy is to stay put. this is when it pays to have a good food and water supply. the roads will dry out in a day or two. highdesertranger
 

cyndi

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Solid advice, HDR.

That and stay out of washes.
 

mnpaul

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I'm a Minnesotan, how do you spot a wash?  How do you tell a "safe" spot.
Thanks.
 

MrNoodly

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I'm a wanderer and never understood why people with mobile living quarters intentionally stay in places with crappy weather. My strategy for monsoon season is to go somewhere else. It's a huge continent. :D
 

CautionToTheWind

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Should it rain be on the road or close to with solid ground. Or carry flat wood to put under your tires for sinking. Often monsoon storms can't be predicted as they're different than other storms; not based on a jet stream (not my words). Many meteorologists compare it to popping popcorn and predicting which kernel will pop. Washes are very rocky with various sized rocks. Just be aware, you should be fine.
 

highdesertranger

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exactly a wash, was a river, stream, creek at one time, or it is a intermittent stream, or it's a ephemeral channel(only flows in time of rain). all 3 of these are present in the desert, most are quite obvious some aren't. most desert washes are sanding and devoid of plant life, but not all. some are rocky and have plants. the one thing all washes have in common is they are the lowest point in the surrounding terrain and are channels. one thing you must remember is it could be sunny and no rain where you are at but miles away in the mountains they could be having thunder storms and that wash you are standing in could soon be a rushing torrent. stay safe and don't camp in a wash. highdesertranger
 

MrNoodly

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However, the Flagstaff area, where the OP wants to be, is coniferous forest. Dry washes aren't really an issue. But during monsoon season, standing water and mud are the problem. Unpaved roads and especially the parallel ruts into National Forest campsites become slick and covered with puddles. Campsites get spongy. You won't get swept away in a flash flood, you'll just bog down. Everything on the forest floor will stick to your shoes and it will be hard to keep the inside of your rig clean. Everything outside gets wet and everything inside gets damp.
 

MrNoodly

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Since flash floods are caused by water running form high places to low places (as water always does) the higher your elevation the less likely you are to experience flash flooding, because you're where the water is originating, not where it has collected from all the surrounding high places.
 

Richard

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MrNoodly

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mnpaul said:
I'm a Minnesotan, how do you spot a wash?  How do you tell a "safe" spot.

A wash will be the lowest spot around you. The safe spot will be the highest.
 

MrNoodly

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unicutie said:
If i do stay I'll probably get at least a pair of all terrain tires for the back... I'm worried about getting stuck in mud.

You'll probably want a tow strap. And if you're really concerned and want to camp with no one around to assist pulling you out of the mud, get a come-along to winch yourself out of the mud.
 

highdesertranger

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interesting story,
in the very remote area of northern Death Valley National Park there is a wash out in the middle of the desert. if you hike up it you come to an area were the wash really opens up, it's very wide there maybe 1/2 mile wide. the whole wash is littered with pine cones, tens of thousands of pine cones. if you look around as far as you can see there is not a tree in sight, let alone a pine tree. if you walk a little further up the wash to where it first opens up there are huge pine logs scattered about. when I say huge I mean huge some are like 3 feet across and 60+ feet long. these logs were stripped of all their branches if you look close you could tell the branches were just ripped off. as I stood there amazed at this sight I was humbled by thinking of the immense forces of nature and how if anybody would have been in that wash at the time of the flash flood there would be zero chance of survival. highdesertranger
 

rvpopeye

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So to sum it up .......The only real way to be sure you will not get stuck in a storm is go to town for supplies and sleep in the parking lot !

The high end of the lot !
 

unicutie

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Haha thanks all! My spidey senses must have been tingling because wouldn't you know it, the first storm came through today! And so yea i went to town and am under the awning at wall mart right now! There was rain and tiny Hail stones. Not sure what I'll do tonight, maybe stay in town.
 

mizjewels

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One thing I've noticed about rain in the area, is that it tends to be very localized. I'm in the Verde Valley about an hour south of you and quite often its' downpouring in one town, but not the others. Even so close as to be 15 minutes away and there's no rain. So you might want to scout out locations on the various sides of Flag and the outlying areas like Mund's Park and around Lake Mary. Maybe even Stoneman Lake a little farther south. You may find it "dry over there".
 
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