Oak Crek Canyon -Exploring My World 

There are trails everywhere here outside of Payson, AZ.  This is a stab in the dark hike.  I left with no more than a distance and direction.  The trail offers solitude. 

 The forest like most in the area have Ponderosa Pines, Alligator  Cypress, and Sycamore through out the hike.   The forest is open with tons of natural light.

While there were plenty of hoof prints from elk, wildlife around 11 AM was missing.  But I did have a butterfly pose for me (actually sipping minerals out of wet soil).  I’m not used to seeing them in November.  Or as below, a wildflower.

The trail crosses a highway and continues as multiple trails to a small creek and a pasture, or across the state if you keep following the White diamonds.  But I stopped at the meadow.  Very relaxing but not for nature watching during the middle of the day


Tonto Natural Bridge State Park – Exploring My World 

This gorgeous piece of travertine has a 183 feet high bridge carved by this passive looking stream.  Its located about ten miles North of Payson, AZ  off  AZ87.  The State Park is a nice ride off the highway that ends in some hairpin turns.  The park is fairly small none  of the four hikes being longer than half a mile.  

The bridge is tall enough that you need to drop 200 feet in a fairly quickly manner.  Railroad ties make stairs in places to make it easier.  The view above is from Gowan trail, it is the easiest way down. You can make it to the bottom where a misty waterfall will get you wet if you stand there long enough. Above you are plenty of swallows that make nests inside holes in the travertine above you.  Benches are there for the return trip.

If you wish to rock hop a little you can get about 100 feet into the tunnel safely.  The rocks are highly polished and can be wet bring really good shoes.  The views are spectacular.  

Now every tunnel had two sides!  Above and below are the other views.   The second trail is Anna Mae trail.  It has the same drop of 200 feet but is much shorter like 500 feet!  At the bottom you aren’t able to see the Bridge.  So you rock hop.  It’s not a difficult “path” but good shoes, knees, and ankles are required.  There is mostly uneven smooth rocks that are in the creek.  It’s worth the challenge.  Below you can see the misty waterfall back light from the morning sun.

The Pine Creek Trail  is a half mile of Creek that means very little trail and lots of these cataracts.  It’s a nice view and super quiet for most part.  It starts with Anna Mae Trail, and is a collection of arrows on rocks and trees that meander side to side.  This is a half hour of looking for the best foothold.  Below was my prize picture.  Kind of Dragon like thing made from a tree trunk still in the ground.   I don’t know what happened to the tree but it wasn’t pretty.

Finally, they advertise a Waterfall trail.  Uh, not much to see here.  You do get a fern choked “waterfall”, meaning water drips a lot from above.  There is no cascading.  There is no sound of a traditional waterfall.  So either do this first or last when splashing with water will cool you off.

I Saw the Light – Six Sentence Stories 

The horizon stretches across a green valley neatly kept in place by rugged mountains.  The sun light streams into the bowl of evergreens leaving a haziness in the dustance.  Rough granite tears up the ground to show rough edges that sparkle.  

A solitary figure watches nature’s enlightenment.  A quick step and a log gives way careening to the valley.  

Star light dances within the head of the hiker as boulders break his fall.

Mogollon Ridge -Exploring My World 

There is a scar across Arizona.  It runs North West to South East, north of Pheonix.  Surprisingly, the altitude reaches almost 8000.  Not the Valley of the Sun most people think of. The mountains break for a wide green valley.  This green world colored by Ponderosa pines over 80 feet tall.  From up here, they are like berber carpet.

The Rim Road, or Forest Service Road 300, follows the edge fairly closely.  it’s single lane gravel.  Probably best when dry.  No guardrails if you are into those kind of things.  The views are measured in tens of miles here.  I started just north of AZ 87 and west AZ 260

Below on upper left you can see the road. The logs and dead trees are from a forest fires in 1990.  The small pines are about ten feet tall! 

There are Peregrine Falcons and Eagles here.  I had a Peregrine come up from below and fly about 30 feet away.  Close enough to see its colors.  The Eagles were much further away.   There are Elk, Bears, and Cougars through here.   But you’ll probably never see anything but Elk.

Shoo-fly Ruins – Exploring My World 

A first blush these aren’t the ruins you go to visit.   Actually this is what find look like before they are cleaned up and repaired and signed.  The rock outlines and fences spread out across 4 acres here.   There are changes in styles of rooms and positioning with other rooms.  Over four hundred years people lived here.   They used rocks as foundations and covered them with branches or skins and wooden frames.  

In the picture above, the sapling pine sits where a door was.  There is an oval ring where a house stood about 1150 AD toward the end of their stay here. 

It’s on the Houston Mesa Rd off of North Arizona 87.  There’s a weird feeling to the place.  You could spend more time here than you realize. 

Water Wheel –  Exploring My World 

If you are in the Payson area and have some time to kill.   Here are little gem.  Its about 20 minutes from Home Depot off a road called Houston Mesa.  The road has a gorgeous view of the Mogollan Rim.  There’s even a sign for Water Wheel parking after your cross a large concrete bridge.

The hike was about 1 1/4miles that I did.   You stay along a tributary of the Verde River.  Our experience of the first features is a Box Canyon which terminates with a sixty foot ribbon waterfall.   The sides of the canyon are polished granite.  The same water below has ride high up these walls and across to smooth the granite. 

As you get closer to the end you’ll notice a second ribbon waterfall on the right.  Those liking to rock hop you can get to the falls fairly easily. 

At the top of the Box Canyon,we have a much more open landscape.  Plenty of water flows from multiple sides.  Willow trees mix in with Sycamore and pines.  There are several cascades that wind around close to the waters edge.  They call out to you.   I took advantage of dry conditions to explore at least 15 different cascades and third waterfall about 20 minutes from the end of the box canyon.  The hike is probably closer to moderate with notrouble a lot of shade.  Bring water or drink well before and after.

There are critters calling this home.  The tarantula here is about three inches long and blends in really well.  Several small lizards run rock to rock.  I even saw a butterfly in November.  There were few  birds.

Diamond Point- Exploring My World

Today, I stepped out into the Arizona Sun.  My restless shoes have been dirt free for a week.  New life in a new place.  Simply put, this  will not do.

I go to the License Bureau to become a real Arizonan (sand cutter).  I hear of a place involving diamonds!  Ok called Diamond Point.  I break out the Google Apps on the phone…. it’s 15 miles from me!  Restless shoes are about  to find dirt. 

Anyone in the area?  Well, East of Payson on AZ 260 by 15 miles, you’ll find a little road to Tonto Village.  The lovely people pave the first 2 miles for you too!  The rest is called dirt but really sand and gravel.  You can do it in a car.  Lower riders maybe not after bad weather.  

There are several campsite spread out along the six mile drive.  The views are strictly forest going up.  There exist trails from people like me looking for quartz crystals.  The forest service maintains the area and may have trails on theirs maps.  Ponderosa pines cover most of the area which makes it a nice hiking place. But there’s thing to find here.

That is a quartz crystal!  One side has a point and the other part of one.  The actual size is about that of a large fingernail.  There are two ways to find them.  Using a shovel or hand trowel ( perfectly  legal here !) Or look on the ground near water run offs, stream beds, drainage pipes along the road.  I found this in leaf liter near a dry stream sitting out in the open.

Oh yeah!  There’s one hell of a view from the top.  The elevation is about 1000 feet above the Valley below.  You can see several rows of mountains.   They were doing a prescribed burn yesterday and today and some logging too.  Don’t go near either operation.

Wordle #118 – Methuselah 

1 Antlers 

2. Evil

3. Evasive

4. Residual

5. Barkeep

6. Struggle

7. Dahlia (a type of flower, can also be a name)

8. Transfuse

9. Methuselah (a patriarch who lived 969 years.Gen. 5:27. an extremely old man. a very largewine bottle holding  quarts (6 liters).  A bristlecone pine that is estimated to be over 4400 years old.

10. Pluck

11. Presentiment (a feeling or impression thatsomething is about to happen,especially something evil; foreboding.)

12. Fourth Rule (There’s an exception to every rule.)

Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem

The words can appear in an alternate form

Use the words in any order that you like.

Tag: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Wordle


I stare out across a high desert.  The shadows of antlers cast at my feet.  My evil barkeep was evasive about the struggle for air.  Residual oxygen at two miles up is leaving me needing a transfusion.  I pluck myself with a presentiment. The collapse of a dahlia in summer heart had nothing on me.  But my feet continue to move breaking some cosmic Fourth Rule. 

I look upon Methuselah.  The oldest living thing. 



        photo by Rosan Harmens

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
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Happy three-lining!
Three Line Tales, Week Twenty-Two

Bonnie perched on the topo map cabinet stretches out her view.  Her narrow finger follows the black dotted line past switchbacks, creek beds, and ridges, her mind draws images of forest breaking open to canyon.  Now if she could just get a ride there, but this is the dreaming stage.