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Sierra Anchas 2012, AZ
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Sierra Anchas 2012, AZ 
Sierra Anchas 2012, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Sep 25 2012
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The Sierra Anchas are a special place for me, especially up along Workman Creek to the falls, the old Dewey Peterson homestead along the Abbey Way Trail, and Aztec Peak. My first introduction to the area took place in September 1970, shortly after the devastating Labor Day storm and flood that occurred then, resulting in the loss of more than 20 lives below the Mogollon Rim east of Payson. I was working as a part time seasonal employee with the National Weather Service that summer. Following major flooding events such as this, a "bucket survey" is customarily done to gather as much information as possible on the event for future study, etc. Usually several agencies are involved, such as the Forest Service, Weather Service, and USGS...whoever is involved in weather and stream observations. A station called Workman Creek #1 up in the Peterson Meadow above the falls had a chart recording rain gauge that yielded a reading that would go on to become the new state record rainfall for a 24 hour period from this event.. 11.40 inches! :o Once this information was in the hands of the state climatologist, it became necessary to head on up there and verify the accuracy of the data by testing the functioning status of the gauge using calibration weights. I got to tag along with the network specialist to do this task, and thus had my introduction to this wonderful place! I will have more on this in a future triplog. Trust me when I tell you this was a huge weather event affecting much of the state!

I made two more trips up there with friends in late September and early October 1970, before going into the Navy on October 22nd. That's how impressed I was with the area, as well as being in awe of the magnitude of the event that had taken place.

I didn't return to the area again until 1987, as life and jobs took me elsewhere. After that not again until 2000 (post Coon Creek Fire). But it has been almost an annual trek since then. When my mom passed in 1999, I pondered where to spread her ashes. I remembered a wild drive I took her on one late October day in 1987 up to Aztec Peak to look for a vintage can opener that I had lost on a camping trip the week before. :lol: Never did find it, but I figured that since she talked about that crazy adventure years afterward, a great final resting place would be in that beautiful meadow up by the apple trees! And so I took her on one last ride in October 2001 and mixed her in the soil close to where Peterson's old garage had stood. I told her she was free to run with the elk and eventually maybe make it all the way back to Phoenix. Truthfully, it is a magical spot and this gives me an excuse to go up there each year with a bottle of wine and some snacks to hang out for awhile pondering life.

This trip was not to be so introspective since I had David and Letlet along. It's always exciting to share a place you really like with folks that haven't been there before! So, I gave them my standard introductory tour. First stop was the cliffs towering above Parker Creek, then on to the old buildings at the research station. Then on up to the old sawmill site. Here is where the fire from last year had burned from Armer Mountain over across the highway toward Granthum Peak. Rose Creek CG was closed. Then up the road along Workman Creek, stopping for the waterfall hike. From there up to the Abbey Way trailhead and over to the Peterson Place. With all the recent posts about the bumper crop of apples at Reavis, I thought there would be some here, but none found. While we were hanging out there enjoying wine and cheese, a young deer literally walked right up to us and sat down nearby the whole time we were there. When we got up to leave it kind of shadowed us down across the boggy meadow to the trail. Meanwhile an elk was calling in the woods just to the north. Before heading back to the car, I cut away from the trail at a corner of the meadow and took them down along the north fork of the creek a short distance, where the old road to the ranch used to come in off FR487. There is a group of old rose bushes there that I wanted to check out. That's when we got the closest to the elk, and eagle eye David briefly saw it, before it took off into the woods. When we came back to the trail to leave that deer was still hanging around. It was getting to be late in the afternoon, so we drove up and I showed them the Murphy Ranch site, then up to the tower at Aztec Peak. There was a steady 20-25 mph wind, so climbing that tower got us chilled real fast! After a few quick pictures it was over to check out the Flintstone furniture, then to the spot with the good views down into Cherry Creek drainage and beyond. I brought my binoculars so they could spot the cliff dwellings down in Pueblo Canyon.

Thus ended another fine visit to the Sierra Anchas! :D Back at Globe we stopped at Chalos for some Mexican food before heading home.
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