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Tonto Natural Bridge
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mini location map2014-10-20
17 by photographer avatarBarrett
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Tonto Natural BridgePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 20 2014
Barrett
Hiking2.10 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking2.10 Miles   1 Hour      2.10 mph
500 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The plan was to hit Tonto Natural Bridge on Sunday, and then a loop of the Buck Spring and Bear Canyon area along the rim for some Big Tooth Maple action on Monday. The downpour that started before we even hit Strawberry forced us to an early check in at The Windmill Inn (on the plus side - friendly owners, microwave, fridge, no bugs. Minus side - maybe the worst mattress ever).
From there it was THAT Brewery in Pine, where we enjoyed burgers and a 6 beer sampler. Karen absolutely loved the Schofferhofer (wheat beer with grapefruit juice) and I agreed - an awesome summer beer.
After a good ten hour toss-and-turn, we started the day at The Early Bird in Pine, where we enjoyed Frisbee sized pancakes and great hospitality before heading to Tonto. The weather was perfect, cool and clear as we arrived 2 minutes before opening and soon strolled down the Gowan Trail to the south mouth of the bridge, being the first to arrive. :D
From there we plodded up the short and steep trail over to the Waterfall Trail, which I had not been on before. Only 300 feet long, it leads down to an amazing fern and moss covered travertine cliff side covered with rivulets of cool water. :D :D
Next came Pine Creek Trail, which soon became a serious boulder-navigating creek bottom route I wouldn't exactly call a trail. An adventure, but without the payoff of the others.
Last came the Anna Mae Trail, leading down to the north mouth. Karen chilled in the shade while I cruised down and checked out the other end for the first time. Short, steep, and transitioning into another creek-bottom boulder fest, it payed off big time. :D :D :D
Just as the tour buses arrived, we piloted the taco up the 14% grade and back into Pine, where we stopped by The Honey Stand, picking up some honey butters, etc., and chatting with Ruth, who is quickly becoming one of our favorite people in the world.
The drive home flew by, Karen making Christmas bows as she did on the way up. We may have only seen one red maple, but the rest more than made up for it.
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foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
_____________________
The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.
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Barrett's
175 Photosets

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