My mom and I made plans to drive up into the Tonto National Forest on Saturday. We all got up early and met in Superior for breakfast. Will's having a difficult time driving and so I was driving. I knew that the place we had chosen to go had a very narrow road that goes right by a cliff, a very steep cliff with a waterfall. Its lovely, but I had spent days worrying about driving that stretch of road, and giving myself pep talks about it. But I knew I could do it, at least on the way up. (Driving down is scarier than driving up.)
As we left Superior, and drove towards Globe, I was feeling pretty good about the drive. I knew it was paved a good portion of the way. We had exchanged children, and we now had a nephew, Gwennie and Madders in our truck. Rhayn was in my parents truck.
We passed Roosevelt Lake and started up. There is a side road we like to take, that leads past what used to be a YMCA camp that is covered in blackberries, past the treacherous cliffs of doom to the top of that mountain where someone has arranged rocks into chairs and tables. We call them the Flintstones' Chairs, which was totally lost on the kids. (They have most likely never seen the Flintstones.)
Looking for ripe blackberries, the bushes grow on both sides of the road there.We stopped first at the old YMCA camp, which is now some other camp. It is still covered in blackberries, which were, unfortunately, not quite ripe. We were able to climb around and find a few semi ripe ones.
We all made it, three grown men, me and four kids (Rhayn, included.) The ruins were fascinating. However, I felt like I was going to die, and nearly passed out, so I spent the time we were up there staring out across the valley trying to catch my breath. We hadn't brought water (stupid, rookie mistake) or food, because it was a short hike. Water would have been a very good idea.
Will drove the scary part for me. I was thankful, because after the hike, I wasn't sure if I could do it. Well, I know I could have, had I had to. We stopped at the bottom of that road to check out the bathtubs. This was another short hike, albeit a flat one at least. I sipped at my Camelback on the way. These are where the creek has made big pools in the rock. Usually we would swim, too. But no one had extra clothes (besides Gwennie, who needed them after she peed in hers before falling into the creek.)
We sat by the creek for a time, resting. While Grandpa took the kids down to the creek (where Gwennie fell in) and picked some ripe blackberries. Those ones were very tasty.
The day was spent, it was five when we left the forest. On the way out of there my dad was in front, he stopped and we all saw a whitetail jump across the road in front of him and head to our left up the hill. After that he stopped again, with his arm out of the window pointed at a large rattlesnake crossing the road. We all stopped to get a good look at that, too. (We got some nice pictures of him, as well.)
We drove into Globe to have a bit of Taco Bell on the way home. We parted ways in Superior. It was a long day, the kids all had fun. It was a bit much for Will, and I was totally exhausted by the time we got home around 9pm.