On a Sunday afternoon in May, I sat at my favorite spot on the East Verde River, looking for inspiration to write this introduction.
What should we tell you about Arizona Rim Country that you don't already know? The endless stream of traffic on the Beeline Highway on any given weekend seems to suggest that Payson is no longer a carefully guarded secret.
Payson is a destination for those looking to escape the searing Valley heat.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this area, we offer this guide, packed full of information on the sights and sounds of the heart of Arizona.
Hopefully, we've given you enough information to fully enjoy all that is wonderful about this area.
Then again, if we tell you too much, you may never leave. How do you think we got here?
So with the sound of the wind whispering through the pine trees, and the splashing of my two Labradors playing in the water, I write you this welcome.
Located in the geographic center of Arizona and encircled by almost 3 million acres of forest, Payson is one of only three pure air ozone belts in the world.
Known for its beauty and year-round recreational opportunities, Payson is at an elevation of 5,000 feet -- precisely the right altitude for people who want to enjoy the beauty of the forest.
There are innumerable recreational activities in the Rim country, including a visit to the Tonto Natural Bridge, the Tonto National Monument, the Rim Country Museum, the Shoofly Indian Ruins, the Tonto Fish Hatchery. Take a stroll down Main Street and look at the redevelopment taking place there. Then stop at the Museum of Rim Country Archaeology and see where it all began.
Visitors come here seeking the breathtaking views found along the Rim Road -- the 42-mile trek that takes them from one side to the other along the edge of the Mogollon Rim.
The Tonto National Forest hugs the crest of the Mogollon Rim and stretches 90 miles south over a spectacular 2.9 million acres of pine and cactus. And just over the top of the Rim, an enchanting chain of woodland lakes --noll, Bear Canyon and Woods Canyon --eckon thousands when Valley temperatures begin to climb.
In Payson, itself, you'll find fine dining, unique gift shops and antique stores, world-class accommodations, and plenty of other activities to fill a weekend.
So, thumb through these pages to plan a memorable stay in Arizona's heartland.
And, welcome to Rim country.