My First Visit To The Tonto Natural Bridge

CHRISTOPHER CREEK

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A few weeks ago my daughter wanted to go to the Tonto Natural Bridge for the day. I have lived in Christopher Creek for 15 years and have never seen it. I am so glad I went.

This is the most awesome scenery you could imagine. Tucked away in a tiny valley surrounded by a forest of pine trees, the Tonto Natural Bridge has been thousands of years in the making. They say it is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.

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The high cliffs surrounding the Tonto Natural Bridge have a natural waterfall coming off of them.

Can you believe it? And it sits right here in Arizona between Payson and Pine. The bridge is 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.

Now would be the perfect time for you to come up and enjoy the nice weather and take a wonderful hike. They have picnic areas where you could bring your lunch, along with charcoal grills where you can cook.

I must tell you, that all the trails are steep and strenuous. We took the Gowan Trail, which is about 2,200 feet long, leading to an observation deck in the creek bottom. No pets are allowed on this trail. You should allow yourself at least an hour for this trail.

When we got to the bottom, I was in awe of the beauty. The high cliffs had a natural waterfall coming off of them and the caves at the bottom were gorgeous. As we walked inside the cave, the rocks were smooth and there were several pools of water within the cave. As we sat looking around in amazement, I tried to take a picture and my camera would not work.

A young man named Kevin Tyers and his friend, Stephanie Baum, from Tempe, sat down beside us and introduced themselves. He said he worked in technology and tried to get my camera to work. Unfortunately, it would not work, but Kevin was kind enough to e-mail me his pictures.

Thanks, Kevin and Stephanie.

He is a pretty good photographer, because this is a great picture. As you sit inside the cave an look up a couple hundred feet you see this opening in the cave that looks outside to the beautiful scenery. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. There is a small fee to get into the park, but it is worth it.

Sam Seay from the Christopher/Kohl's fire department called me to tell me that they are nearing the end of the fuel reduction grant time limit. They still have funds left for fuel reduction/removal. If you need trees removed, or trimmed away from your house, maybe they can offset some of the cost.

All you need is a firewise assessment completed on your property, fill out the required paperwork and maybe you can get some help in reducing the forest fuels from our communities.

Call Sam or Caren Seay at (928) 478-4403. They must use the funds by Dec. 31, or they pay them back to the state. They know it's nice right now, but we are still overgrown with forest fuels and it's better to get them cleaned up now than wait until we are again pressed for time and resources.

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