Thursday, September 19, 2013

WHITE MOUNTAINS ARIZONA - where are the cactus?

September 18, 2013

Alright friends,  how many of you thought all of Arizona is desert and hot?  I know, I did too for a long time, but we found a little piece of heaven this week.  Almost feels like home.   Get out your maps, we are in Northeast Arizona in the White Mountains.  The area is mostly White Mountain Apache or US Forest Service land.  There are a few towns mixed through the area that burst at the seams with people in the summer.

We are in the Slow Low/Pinetop/Lakeside area which is a long ribbon of small towns that have grown over the years and their boundaries now touch.  Mixed in with the lodges, restaurants, and antique shops are the box stores ready to assist summer home owners with all their needs.   It reminds me of Bend/Redmond.


Everyone says go to Greer! So off we go on a road trip.  The scenery is beautiful.  The landscape is full of pine trees with yellow wild flowers blooming and the sky!

We get distracted easily and have to explore every road.  I did get Ray to agree to no roads with pot holes (Monsoon season is just ending and nonpaved roads can be rather bumpy and washboard.)

 Our first stop was Hawley Lake.  It is on White Mountain Apache Reservation.  This lake has trout and there were a couple of brave fishermen in small boats and float tubes on the lake.  Looks interesting.   There are six other trout fishing lakes in the area!

Pine trees are everywhere and mixed in are patches of aspen.  In a couple of weeks these trees will be golden and beautiful.

ANIMALS - there are signs all over warning about bears, elk, deer... but the only animals we saw were cows and horses grazing on open range near Hawley Lake.  I had never seen horses on open range before but it seemed to work.


The railway ran in the 1920's the White Mountains to Holbrook AZ (on Route 66).  It transported cattle and lumber.  In later years it had a scenic railway tour operated until rails deteriorated beyond repair.  The final leg of the railway closed when the paper mill closed in SnowFlake AZ in 2012.   Along our road trip we saw the start of a hiking trails along the abandon railway and this old cattle corral.

GREER AZ Greer is a summer destination for many folks seeking cooler temperatures.  The town is small and has at least three restaurants,  lodges/cabins, and shops.  We enjoyed driving through without all the influx of families enjoying a summer vacation.

 We stopped at Greer Cafe for lunch and Quacker Barrel Antique/Gift Shop.  Greer Cafe was a wise choice.  Another customer was having a Magic Mushroom Pizza that was getting rave reviews from the customer and everyone passed by their table.  We loved chatting with the owner of the Quacker Barrel Shop.

 After five hours of poking around, we headed back to our campsite.  Look at the sky, it was as much fun to watch as it was to look at the trees, animals, villages, and, of course, eat.

The White Mountains are definitely a place we will return to next year.  Maybe I will catch a fish - ha

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