Hello my dear followers. As I alluded to last week, we’ve once again lost a loved one. This time was our neighbor and friend who was more like family to us. He’d bring me steak bones and just adored my brother, Edmond. He was kind, funny and always available if you needed a helping hand or a listening ear. We are all grieving, and things won’t be the same without him. I’m providing the link to his obituary if you are interested. I know he would appreciate donations to help rescue cats. https://obituaries.bestfuneralservices.com/douglas-doug-mcbride-sr/?fbclid=IwAR1W7E2ADmWQ-sqB7b9VSHUxLSZuIIiWLhdgbKt1M9PBK0aMnXP6-KqpD58
Friday was the one-month anniversary of saying good-bye to Edmond, so with everything else going on, mom was a wreck. She cried her way through park day, and all I could do is try to make her smile with my silliness. Dad and I knew she’d need a nice getaway, so back up toward Payson we went on Saturday.
We took the route through Fountain Hills that hooks up to the 87 north but this time, we hung a left on the Rim Road. We’ve been up here before. It’s like being on top of the world and looking down. It’s called the Rim Road for a reason as we are on a one-sided canyon. All the rain has really greened everything up. The clouds were just lifting as we entered Rim Country.
You have several options once on the dirt Rim Road (easy access for any vehicle) such as Woods Canyon Lake, but we followed the sign to Bear Canyon Lake, approximately 12 miles off the Rim Road. Note: Any vehicle can drive on this road, but it is bumpy and slow going. All in all, it took us three hours from north Phoenix to get to the gravel parking lot.
Bear Canyon Lake has two parking lots: the boat ramp and the hiking trail head. We chose the trailhead since we planned to hike the 3.5 miles around the lake. If you are canoeing, kayaking or picnicking, you might want to park at the other lot. Both are free with ample spots. There is a camp ground nearby as well.
Because this lake is a bit further down the road, it wasn’t crazy busy like Woods Canyon. In fact, I think we were the only people who hiked around the entire lake. Everyone else was hanging out at the shoreline, fishing or on the water.
We read that the trail is difficult to find, and they weren’t kidding! We started by going to the right, and it was immediately rocky. You are basically hiking on a steep slope, and the lake is at the bottom of the basin. Be sure you have sturdy shoes, and you may want a hiking pole. We read that you could see Bear signs, but we didn’t.
The temperatures were in the low 70s, and I was bounding! I’d look back and smile at mom often. She says when I am happy, she is happy. So, I had a great time on the soft pine needles hiking in the shade. Woof!
That being said, the trail is not maintained. Although blue diamonds are posted on trees throughout, we lost the trail many times. And what trail that was there wasn’t developed. You can tell it isn’t used much. We just followed the lake around, but it was slow going.
The rain also filled up the lake and made the wildflowers bloom. We walked through some incredible meadows about half way through, and it is here we decided to have our lunch break. We found some cool rocks to sit on with lake views. We kept our eyes on the sky as another storm was supposed to hit Payson later in the day. We opted to keep our lunch break short and continued on.
As we started hiking the other side of the lake, we realized it was even more difficult to follow. Our pace was down to a crawl with some bouldering and scrambling through trees. Mom’s ankle and foot were not liking it, and I could tell she was hurting. She’s always a trooper and pressed on.
Just then, we heard a Red Tail Hawk screeching at us. We were just beneath her nest with babies. She was letting us know to keep moving on, which we did. I was still pretty happy because every chance I got, I jumped in the lake. There is nothing like a cool mountain lake!
We finally made our way to the other parking lot and decided to hike up to it and walk the remainder of the way on the dirt road to help save mom’s feet. She was hobbling at this point. I must admit I was starting to get tuckered out myself. We hiked for three hours!
As we got back to the car, we estimated that I’ve probably driven over 250,000 miles in my nearly 13 years of life. I am indeed the King of the Road! I don’t remember much about the drive home other than we went the same way back this time. Either route is about the same: 3 hours. I really loved Bear Canyon Lake! The hike is moderate to difficult depending upon your ability, but it is worth it for the scenery and quiet.
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, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness 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!