I don’t like storms much, but mom and dad were sure glad when the monsoons finally arrived the other day. We got an inch of rain! The next day, we loaded up the camper and headed toward Greer, Arizona. We traveled once to Big Lake, and I remember it taking forever to get there, so I hunkered down for the long journey. Dad said we weren’t going to go via the Salt River canyon this time because that was insane pulling a camper. Rather, we would head through Scottsdale and Fountain Hills to connect to the 87 north and the 260 east.
Greer is in Eastern Arizona and sits at 8,356 feet in elevation. It’s a really small mountain town that has tons of lakes, camping, 4 wheeling, hunting, fishing, and hiking around. This time we opted to boondock, which means we went on Forest Road 112 until we spot the perfect spot to camp. Should you want an official camp ground, we would recommend Rolfe C. Hoyer as it has large sites and lots of tree. It costs $24 a night whereas boondocking is free. Several hotels are available in nearby towns by Eagar and Springville. It took us 6 hours, so this is not a day trip from Phoenix.
I immediately appreciated the cooler temperatures. Ah! We could breathe without feeling like we were in an oven. Oh, how I love the smell of pine, too. We set up camp and enjoyed our dinner. Soon after, the rains came again. I’ve been leery of the camper, but I was happy to be safe and dry when the lightening and thunder arrived. I even slept for about four hours before I woke mom and dad up. It was progress!
The next morning, we ate breakfast and took off to the Government Springs trail head. To get there, you go to the town of Greer and stay on Main Street until you reach the end of town. The road ends at a parking area, and the trail head is here. The town consists of only a couple of restaurants, one shop, and several private cabins and homes. Parking is ample and free, and it has human restrooms.
The Government Springs trail follows the Lower Little Colorado River – water! I jumped right in, not because I was hot but because I could. This trail is easy and follows the river for 5 ½ miles. It’s an out and back, so you can hike as long and as far as you want. Several folks had their fishing poles and tried to catch fish along the way. No humans we met had any fish, but that didn’t stop them from trying.
We went about 45 minutes and then turned around. This trail is shaded and offers wild flowers throughout. You have access to the river the entire time, unless you take a spin-off trail that goes up the hill. You won’t get lost as long as you follow the river.
Once back to the car, we drove over to the Pole Knoll trail. Mom had read about this one in Arizona Highways Magazine, and she wanted to at least check it out while we were in the area. Another hike! This one is 6.2-mile loop around a hill called Pole Knoll. The area reminded us of Wyoming with wide-open spaces and meadows. The trail head is off Forest Road 112 with plenty of free parking. We sat at one of the two picnic tables and had our lunch before embarking on the trail.
The trail begins behind the human restrooms. If you head left, you will have options to hike up the hill a bit then return back on a 2.5-mile loop. We went to the right for about 45 minutes and connected to another trial that looped us back. It had shade to begin with then opened up to grassy fields. The trail circumvents the hill, but we didn’t go completely around; We just enjoyed hiking. We all felt the elevation when we had inclines. The trail is moderate but does have some climbs. In the winter, this area is used for snow shoeing and cross-country skiing. The trails are well marked.
By far, I enjoyed Government Springs more because of the water access. I think mom and dad liked it better, too, as they said it reminded them of Colorado. We were glad we checked both out while we were in the area. We headed back to the camper and took naps! More rain came, and this time, I slept through the entire night in the camper! Mom was so happy. Dad fixed the refrigerator gas leak, so I wasn’t smelling that anymore. I tried to tell them something was wrong, but they don’t speak Shiba. Woof! Anyway, we packed everything up and headed toward home on Sunday.
Traffic was horrendous, and we sat for 1 ½ hours just outside of Payson due to an accident. I snoozed the entire time, so I didn’t care. I was happy to see my house, though, when we finally got home some 6 hours later. There just isn’t an easy way to get to Eastern Arizona, but it sure is pretty. We saw the results of the Bush fire – for miles and miles. So very sad, and it won’t look the same in our lifetime.
If you have the time, four days would be better to break up the driving. You’ll love the cooler temperatures and change of scenery. Before long, they will have snow! I’m counting down the days myself.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith 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 nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!