2020s, adventure, Arizona, camping, Five Shots of..., glamping, kayaking, nature, photography, travel

Apache County & The Rim

Apache County heading to Sierra Highlands Ranch

Jim and I were almost the owners of a 36-acre parcel in Apache County, Arizona located on the New Mexico border. The adventure began last week when I found land for sale at Sierra Highlands Ranch twenty miles northeast of the rural cowboy town of St. Johns. The area is close to a couple we know and love. We’ve been there before on their 40-acre property collecting rocks and gazing up at the stars at night with wine glasses in our hands.

The land sits on an aquifer. At 6000 feet, the temps are cool with mild winters. It is perfect for growing anything.

My reasons were clear. The ranch would be a springboard to the White Mountains, the Mogollon Rim, and our dear friends. We’d improve the land in increments (well, septic, solar power system, house) and by the time I retire in 2026, we’d either move out there full-time or keep it as our camping spot. 36 acres is nothing to sneeze at. I like the idea of owning land. When we kick the bucket, our six children would benefit. That was the rationale. Sigh.

36 acres goes a long way.

Our guide was most helpful and by the end of seven hours looking at various lots in Sierra Highland Ranch (all 36 to 40-acre parcels) we found the place that spoke to us. We turned a corner and found ourselves at the top of a meadow looking down the dead-end road. The property bordered Zuni land, so the views went on forever. The pasture gently sloped to a canyon. The surrounding hills were interesting with giant boulders and junipers. We saw a solitary Elk standing proud and as big as our car. The air was clean and blue–I felt like I walked into a Zane Grey novel. I can imagine how vivid the star constellations must be overhead at night. Ache!

Heading back home to Yavapai County, we crossed the Mogollon Rim and tried out a new lake, Lake Knoll.

As we left the ranch and headed back to our friend’s property for dinner and conversation, my heart sank. I knew we wouldn’t buy it. It was sixty minutes off the main road of route 191. Then another half hour before we were at our friend’s house. It was not an hour but two hours to the White Mountains. It would be 5 hours to Clarkdale and 6 hours to Phoenix. I knew my children would rarely visit. In short, the ranch was in BFE. I have come to understand fully how large the state of Arizona is. Space and topographical variety are outstanding. But still, I just couldn’t see us all the way out there in the middle of nowhere.

Rim Road 300 mile marker 15
Rim Road 300 Mile Marker 18
Mogollon Rim

This was one of those adventure trips where a lot went wrong. There was a short somewhere, and our little camper was without electricity and the SUV’s battery wouldn’t hold the juice. Luckily we have a portable solar panel. We drove home on Rim Road 300 and camped one night by Lake Knoll. That was nice, but the flies and bees feasted on me leaving welts all over my calves. Ruby got sick and soiled the SUV. I was glad to get back home. Adventures are adventures filled with great moments and disappointing ones. I look to the good–we found a new campsite for the future; kayaking on Lake Knoll filled my heart; we connected with our friends on a deep level.

2020s, adventure, Arizona, camping, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, nature, photography

5 Shots: Camping at the Rim

1. Ponderosa Pines

There are five of us in my immediate family who see a lot of each other during this time of sequester. We went away for 24 hours to the Mogollon Rim and revisited the spot we discovered back in November. There wasn’t a soul around. Here are five plus a few extra shots of our favorite way to social distance. Which one do you like best?

2. All Alone
3. The Face of the Canyon
4. Pine Cone and Mountain Flowers
5. Running Ruby
6. Ruby pauses after exploring mud puddles.
7. Ulani Greets the Morning Sun.
8. Golden Lichen
2010s, adventure, Arizona, camping, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, hiking, nature, photography, travel

5 Shots: Camping at the Rim

Blue Valley. Below are the small towns of Strawberry-Pine.

We wanted to get away for 24 hours. Off we went yesterday to our new favorite spot of the escarpment that is the 200 mile Mogollon Rim. For my blogging-buddy Fraggle, whose photographs I admire because she has people in them, I created this post. Normally, I focus on the landscape. Rarely do I humanize my outings. This time, Jim and I brought along our granddaughter Milly and our new puppy, Ruby. Which one do you like best?

Crags. Sandstone and limestone

Milly and Ruby
Purple Wild Flower
Red and White Roots
Milly on the Edge
Grandpa, Milly & Ruby
Strawberry and Pine Below
Steak, potatoes & beans
Steak, potatoes & beans for dinner.
Milly chooses to watch Mary Poppins
Camp Fire
Ruby.