Celebrate The Arizona Trail Saturday In Pine


Joyce Bittner, owner of the Ranch at Fossil Creek along with her husband John, give lots of TLC to their 70 new “kids” born this spring at the ranch in Strawberry. You can bottle-feed these adorable baby goats daily at 7 a.m. or 4 p.m.

Joyce Bittner, owner of the Ranch at Fossil Creek along with her husband John, give lots of TLC to their 70 new “kids” born this spring at the ranch in Strawberry. You can bottle-feed these adorable baby goats daily at 7 a.m. or 4 p.m. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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Put the Arizona Trail on “Bucket List”

A few years ago the movie “The Bucket List” inspired some people to create a list of things they wanted to do before they “kicked the bucket.” Mostly these lists consisted of travel and adventure — see the Grand Canyon, skydive, ride in a hot air balloon or even ride an elephant. I didn’t jump on that bandwagon, but if I had, mine would definitely include hiking the Arizona Trail through the rugged and beautiful Arizona backcountry.

Come celebrate the Arizona Trail tomorrow, Saturday, April 21 and see what Pine and Strawberry have to offer mountain bikers, hikers and other visitors at the inaugural Arizona Trail Day at the Pine Ramada from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual Zane Grey 50-Mile Foot Race is also taking place at the Pine Trailhead at 5 a.m. Many Pine and Strawberry businesses are offering lodging and other discounts to the racers, hikers and other visitors.

You don’t have to miss out on the fun! There will be several guided hikes offered during tomorrow’s event.

Are you brave enough to join me for the Family Llama Hike on the Pine Trailhead at 10 a.m.? This two-hour, 2.5-mile easy to moderate hike will be led by Joyce Bittner, Sue Myers and Bev Malmberg.

For more hearty hikers, the three-hour, 4-mile moderate level Bradshaw Meadows Hike will begin at 11 a.m., guided by Rick Heffernon.

Other activities include a fire department demonstration at noon, Sheriff’s Posse Dog Team demonstration at 1 p.m., Mounted Posse demonstration at 1:30 p.m., medieval fighting at 2 p.m., Hashknife Pony Express at 2:30 p.m. and a petting zoo at 3 p.m. There will also be an antique tractor display, history walks, music, raffles and more. See a native flora display by the Payson Ranger Station and see a yoga demonstration or enjoy a massage.

I hope you will come out and support the community and celebrate life and the great Arizona Trail.

Pine Community Center Thrift Store

The Thrift Store, in the old brick schoolhouse at the Community Center in Pine, invites you to come in during Arizona Trail Day and purchase a bottle of water or soda. The proceeds for this and all Thrift Store sales are used to help the seniors of Pine and Strawberry.

Beginning April 25, the thrift store will focus on Mother’s Day with beautiful items that would make great gifts for Mom. They will also have a handbag display, including ones with designer names. All women’s tops, including plus sizes, will be 50 percent off and craft books will be buy-one-get-two-free.

National Day of Prayer breakfast

First Baptist Church of Pine invites you to a National Day of Prayer breakfast at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, May 3 at the church at 4039 N. Highway 87. Come join in prayer for our nation, citizens, schools, churches, organizations and all people. Please call for reservations at (928) 476-3552, but if not, come anyway as there will be plenty of food.

Join in prayer for our men and women in the military, and for the many challenges facing our country.

Ranch at Fossil Creek’s baby goats

I don’t think that feeding a baby goat would have been on my bucket list, but that was before I experienced this unusual and joyful experience. I recommend that everyone do it at least once in their lifetime. My trip to see the new baby goats at the Ranch at Fossil Creek last week turned out to be a most fun, rewarding and enriching adventure.

Feeding a baby goat is not hard and they are sure to make you laugh. Each baby goat has their own unique expressions and personality, and baby goats are really hungry! I learned that kids — the term for baby goats — begin searching for food within minutes of birth. We know that puppies will eat your shoes and homework, but a pet goat will devour your lawn furniture and eat the deck! They are also as cute, lovable and affectionate as our canine friends. In fact goats make great companions — they will hike with you, carry your backpack and follow you along the trail, even wagging their tail like a dog when they are excited and happy.

When you feed a little goat it may wiggle around in your lap to tell you it’s happy that you are there. It may snuggle up and fall asleep in your arms after finishing its bottle, but the other goats might have something to say about that as they gather around you as if to say, “my turn, my turn!” It’s fun to watch them after they have had their bottles — some dash around, jump up in the air and kick up their tiny hooves.

It’s important for the baby goats to have this contact so that they can learn to trust humans, and in turn, become friends with the children visiting the ranch.

Load the kids, grandkids, or your spouse into the car and head to the Ranch at Fossil Creek in Strawberry for the “Kids Feeding Kids” annual event, taking place until mid-May.

This spring, 70 babies were born at the ranch, so there are lots of hungry, cute baby goats to visit and feed. All proceeds go to help disadvantaged children.

The ranch is located at 10379 West Fossil Creek Road. Feeding time is daily at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The cost is just $3 a person or $10 a carload — and the experience is priceless.

There are numerous events coming up, so you don’t want to miss a column. Please send your Pine Strawberry happenings to haffordjoy1@gmail.com or call (602) 790-0248. Happy Trails!

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