When mom and dad grab food from the frig and stock the camper, I know we are heading on another adventure. With the temperatures in the triple digits here in Phoenix, heading north to cool off is always a good plan. This trip we were headed to White Horse Lake near Williams, Arizona.
Dad drove by the lake over Memorial Day weekend when he was overlanding with Gary. Mom and I stayed behind because neither of us wanted to 4-wheel drive for 10 hours a day on bumpy, dusty roads in the heat. Anyway, he saw the campground and make reservations for us to visit this weekend.
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to exit 262 or AZ 69N toward Prescott and continue until it merges into 89A toward Chino Valley. Stay on it until I-40 East and take exit 167, looking for Forest Service Road 141. Turn right on Fire Road 109 until you see signs for White Horse Lake (to the left, and Dogtown Lake is to the right). You’ll be a bumpy, dusty road for a good 17 miles. Our camper did okay, but everything was shaken up pretty good…and everything was covered in red dirt.
No concern of mine! When we arrived, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to get out and sniff everything. Our site had pine trees and lots of tall grass. As mom and dad set up the camper, I made sure everyone knew “Kuma is here!” Woof.
We ran into some rain driving up, and the clouds were still lingering. We opted to head to the lake now just in case it rained later. White Horse Lake is part of the Kaibab National Forest nestled on the Colorado Plateau. It is part of three lakes that sit roughly 6,600 feet high: Kaibab Lake, White Horse Lake, and Downtown Lake. Dad read that the lake has good fishing and deer and elk hung out by the shoreline. With great anticipation, we walked from the campground over to the lake.
The campground has a variety of sites from tents to campers to large RV’s and group sites. Reservations are recommended and include restrooms, water, kayak rentals, and the Black Bear Snack Shack (yummy Kettle Corn and ice cream!). Some sites have a lake view, but all have easy access.
When I approached the shoreline, I smelled something new. It wasn’t a snake but something clammy. As I entered the lake for a quick dip, hundreds and hundreds of these things jumped out of the water. Mom said they were frogs, and we had frogworks…like fireworks but with frogs! It was crazy! I was stunned at first and then tried to capture one. Man, they are wicked fast. They also hide in the mud where you can’t see them. I was entertained by these creatures for quite some time. Dad wasn’t too happy about it because the fish were gone due to the frogs. I don’t understand how that works, but if you plan to fish at White Horse Lake, good luck catching anything but frogs.
We didn’t do the entire loop, but the lake has a trail around it. The sun was getting low, so we had to head back and get dinner going. That’s when we heard the noise…tons of screaming kids and barking dogs. Even the adults were talking loudly they echoed for miles. I’m a dog but I don’t bark unless I need to. I think the other dogs weren’t happy camping and were tied up too tight. Their humans ignored them, so they barked. Not cool. As for why the kids cried for hours on end without any comfort, I can’t explain in. I just know it was disruptive to everyone and spoiled the point of being in nature. This continued throughout the entire night. We got up super early and decided to find some wilderness that wasn’t ruined by rude people! Several trail heads are located nearby. We chose the Sycamore Falls hike off Forest Road #56. If you look at a map, you’ll see several Rim Trail options that lead to the falls. Chose the one that suits your needs and fitness level. This one is relatively flat and skirts the canyon most of the way. It’s an out and back, so you can hike was far as you like (11 miles).
The falls are less than one mile from the parking lot, but due to the lack of monsoons, it was dry. Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in the Arizona red rock country, after Oak Creek Canyon. The 21-mile long scenic canyon reaches a maximum width of about 7 miles. The area is a combination of Sedona and Chiricahua with a creek at the bottom. The trail is a bit difficult to follow, but you ultimately follow the canyon.
As the day heated up, we decided to head back. Since it was near lunch time, we drove into Williams, the gateway to the Grand Canyon. Williams is a neat town but full of tourists, so we selected Kicks on Route 66 just outside of town. They are dog friendly and gave me a ceramic bowl of water. First class all the way! Mom ordered a burger that was the size of her head, so she shared it with me. Yum! Five-star on service and food. Their outdoor patio looks at the pine trees, offers shade, and was nice and quiet. Should you stop in for a bite, tell them Kuma sent you.
After lunch, we found a spot in the forest to sit and relax. I don’t know what mom and dad were doing (reading?) but I snoozed. The soft breeze was so gentle and friendly, and the shade of the trees inviting. The sounds of nature require us to be quiet and listen. Humans – take the time to soak it in. Don’t try to bring your chaotic world with you; rather, leave it behind and let nature fill you up.
Back to the campground, we endured the evening and saw some amazing stars. Early the next morning, we packed it up and headed home. As much as I love adventures, I am always happy to be home. Life is good.
Hi! I am Kumaito (Kuma for short), a multi-tan Shiba Inu. My breed is one of the oldest and purest from Japan. I personally was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, and now call Phoenix, Arizona home. I enjoy running or hiking almost every day with my mom, chasing rabbits out of my neighborhood, playing with toys, pestering my brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, I love just about everything and everyone!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith (Founder of the FIT Leader Formula™) is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
Enjoy my blog at https://www.lorrainebosse-smith.com/category/kuma/ and be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!