Posts Tagged With: White Mountains

Downhill-Rim Road: Part III

September 2020



We awaken in a pine forest, at the end of a rugged road. We are about eight miles into this forest from the Mongollon Rim.

Continuing in our casual unhurried pace, we break camp. I want to explore the rest of the side road that brought us to this piece of The Arizona Trail. There is a Battle ground Monument near, just a couple of miles further into the forest on the easy road. It is the site of a battle between something like 54 San Carlos Apache and a couple of troops of soldiers with their native accomplices.

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Downhill- Rim Road: Part II


September 2020

We are exploring a riverbed leading to a lake in the great forest above the Mongollon Rim. Part I is here:

Spirits in the Rocks

Heading Back:

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Downhill-Rim Road


Sept. 2020


Out to Rim Road


We have a casual start Saturday morning. There is no hurry.  It takes about two hours of interstate and freeways to get to Highway 87 and wide-open spaces.  On the other side of Phoenix, we pass along the highway sadly. Because of unprecedented drought, a fire has devastated mile upon mile of lush Sonoran desert. Two hundred year old saguaros are burnt and slowly dying among scorched dark hues of black and brown.  The coating is like earth under a leaky car on the completely barren landscape.

Tall cottonwood trees, formally a riparian habitat, are black sticks on one side of the highway bridge, while it is still abundantly green on the other, accenting the contrast.

Having escaped the somber tone of the once great, the highway brings us into the dominion of the bushy pinion pine forest.  

Soon, the town of Payson marks the beginning of the tall pines. We stop in a parking lot behind a real-estate office and cover our bodies for drive-through ice cream. After pumping  gas, we head into the wilds, the great pine forest of the White Mountains. We are heading to a section of the Arizona Trail to camp.  Tomorrow, we will leave that trail to explore a dry river to a lake reservoir.

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Exploring the Mystery of the Aspen Grove

Early July 2020


It’s a first day of our retreat in The White Mountains of Arizona…”Let’s go for a walk, not too far. This thin air is 10000, feet above sea level. First day pushes can make a person quite ill.”

Curiosity beckons. Across the vast field bordering our chosen campsite, is a dark band across the bottom of the white bark trunks of a grove of white aspen. It is a dark line and we want to investigate its origin. What is causing such a consistent line?

We are in an alpine wilderness. We’re away from most anybody. We journeyed the rough little route that crosses another similar open space, then through a gate. Eventually, the Forest Service road turned into a 4×4 pile of chunky volcanic rock, where few will venture. Perhaps a fellow hiker, but more likely we’d be found by an errant quad or ATV and just a couple of times in a day. This is slightly further away from that shabby trail. We have camped in place with a vast sense of freedom.

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A Week in the White Mountains: Part 1


DF had a sudden very disappointing schedule change. Her four day retreat in Slow Low with a friend turned into one day. This caused our four days together, to be after their retreat, to become a week. I had to shuffle to leave four days earlier and decide where to go and what to do. Nude vacations, hiking and camping, especially during monsoon season need planning and contingencies.

I spent hours researching to figure out what the actual conditions were at various locations. I used topo, internet information and Google satellite. I had previously put together a list of nearly all of the perineal water creeks in the White Mountains.  I went through 25. All but one was devastated by the Bear Wallow fire to some extent. It was very discouraging. If the percentage of Arizona Forests that have been consumed by fire and rancher alterations were to be applied to the Amazon forest, we would all be in trouble.  So much is gone, except for patches here and there.

There was one untouched area with a creek. The site of the 1998 Rainbow Gathering. That would be our first destination. Later, we might head out on a backpacking trip. Two creeks had potential. But first we had to get DF to her retreat in a nice mountain home on Saturday night. She would have a full day Sunday….

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