A Travellerspoint blog

Oct 5, 6 - Payson AZ,

Waiting out a heat wave in Phoenix up in the highlands, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, THAT Brewery and Pub

sunny 29 °C

Our drive from Holbrook to Payson was a short 100 miles and we were into the Payson Campground and RV Resort by early afternoon.

That gave us time to find the local visitor center and get some maps of local attractions. We booked in here for 3 nights, in part waiting for cooler temperatures to the south. It is currently over 100 degrees in Phoenix and the manager of the local Chamber of Commerce told us she grew up there. She says, if they are saying 100 degrees F on TV, you can bet it is 110 F out on the street. Without air conditioning in TaJ, we are staying put until it gets a bit cooler down there. he Weather Channel says temperatures should return to seasonal by Sunday.

Besides, it is pretty nice here. Lots of hiking opportunities in the Tonto National Forest and places to explore.

Oct 6 - We headed off bright and early for Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, home of a pretty spectacular deep canyon. Right on our arrival we came upon our first Javelina.

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Back in 1877 a prospector named David Gowan was being chased by Apache Indians and in his escape he came upon this tiny canyon. He hid out in it for 2 nights. On the third day he explored the canyon and found this natural bridge. He later claimed squatter's rights to the property end eventually lived in the valley.

Access to the natural bridge is via steep trails that drop 250 feet to the floor of the little valley. Jenny and I did two trails over a 3 hour period, hiking 3 miles in total with 600 feet of elevation change, not to mention the rock scrambling in order to get into the area under the bridge.

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Arizona schools have a two week fall break, which just happens to be now, so there were plenty of families with children down there. Seeing young people able to scramble over rocks really brings home how much flexibility we have lost.

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Some really nice caves down there. The rock is travertine and water wore away all the lesser rock to create the bridge.

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On our way back up we came upon a really fine example of a holly tree, complete with berries:

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After our strenuous efforts we rewarded ourselves with a visit to a craft brewery for lunch. This brewery is located in Pine AZ and has good food and the beer was pretty nice as well. We picked up some coasters to add to our collection.

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We spent the afternoon relaxing around the R-pod. We have another full day here tomorrow and plan to do another hike tomorrow as well as check out the town of Payson.

We are now at 40 straight days of full sunshine, since we left Prince Rupert in British Columbia. We might have forgotten what a rain cloud looks like. Both TaJ and Sully (our Honda Pilot) are coated in road dust and dirt and badly in need of a wash.

We expect our time in Texas will provide some rain, but that is still 15 days out into the future. The 10 day forecast in both Arizona and New Mexico calls for sunny days.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 06:43 Archived in USA Tagged tonto_natural_bridge payson_az that_brewery

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Javelinas are nasty, aren't they!

by Karmen Reid

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