The weekend after I moved in with John, we took a day-trip to the Mogollon Rim just to go exploring along the forest roads. That was the day I learned about John's fascination for unpaved - and often unnumbered - roads. Roads that were marked as "four-wheel drive only" didn't stand in his way, even though he was driving a 2WD Oldsmobile. He would later tell me, "My Daddy taught me how to drive like this." Great...
We stopped first in Strawberry to have lunch. John wanted to show me the Sportsman Chalet - the only place in town with an elevator - but they no longer served food there; so we settled for greasy food at the Strawberry Lodge. Then we continued up Highway 87 towards the Mogollon Rim.
The first leg of our expedition took us down Forest Road 147 to Potato Lake, one of John's favorite camping sites. About one mile from the lake, right next to the road, is a very pretty meadow with a creek running through it. He loved to camp there, next to a small grove of five or six pine trees, where he could hang up his hammock.
Another mile up the road was Potato Lake, a small pool of clear water surrounded an amphitheater of pine trees. The lake had recently been closed off to all vehicles, motorized or not, and camping was no longer permitted in the vicinity. (Some angry campers had shot up the posted sign, as if that would change everything.) John and I went through the gate and took pictures of the lake and of each other.
We didn't stay very long, though, because there was still so much to do and see; so we continued on down FR 147. This road was an all-weather road, meaning that it was possible to do 30 to 40 miles an hour; John was doing at least that when he hit a badly constructed cattle guard, sending us airborne! Though the incident was scary at first (considering the damage that cattle guard could have done to the car), we both had a good laugh about it for one reason: Calvin. A week before, John and I had been cuddling, naked, in our bed when Calvin the cat, our "voyeur", queer for attention as usual, jumped into bed with us. Calvin made the mistake of straddling John's foot. Seeing the opportunity, John looked at me and said, "Heather, watch Calvin's expression." And he kicked the cat four feet into the air. With a confused expression on his face - as if to say, "I'm flying, and I don't know why!" - Calvin flailed like an idiot, landed on his feet, then dashed out of the bedroom. Was this cattle guard someone's idea of revenge?
Not in the least discouraged by the cattle guard, John continued onwards until he found a side road. Though it looked a little primitive, he turned onto it anyway, just to see where it went. Off of that side road, he found yet another side road -- an old logging road that made the first one look like super-slab! In some places, this road was so overgrown with foliage that the pine branches left little scratches on the Oldsmobile.
The logging road eventually led us back to the main road (FR 147, in case you're lost). After a while, we reached the junction with FR 300 -- the Rim Road, which one can take from Highway 87 to Highway 260 and beyond. FR 300 is a well-maintained light-duty road from which one can see some of the most breathtaking views of the valley below the Mogollon Rim. We stopped at Milk Ranch Point to take pictures of each other and to admire the beauty that nature had to offer us.
Our road trip would not have been complete without a hike, even if it would be a short one. John wanted to show me the "ideal camping spot" that he had once found by accident while hiking in Pivot Rock Canyon, but he couldn't remember how to get there. (And at this point in our relationship, we still had not acquired all of the National Forest maps.) It took us about an hour, but we eventually found the road leading into the canyon (FR 616). We parked at the dead-end and began to hike down a deer trail, which crossed the creek several times.
After a mile or so, we arrived at a beautiful meadow with the ruined remains of two log cabins. There wasn't another person around for at least a mile; we were completely alone. John explained that that was why it was the ideal campsite: because it was secluded, quiet, and beautiful. I had to agree with him, but how would we get all of the camping equipment there? Another road? Backpacks? (It will eventually be done...)
It was getting dark by that time, so we headed back to the car and drove back to Phoenix. Our adventure for the day was over.
Return to Naked in the Woods.
|This site maintained by John and Heather Verley, © 2001-2010.|