Get The Dirt On In Pine And Strawberry


The Arizona Trail connects deserts, wilderness areas, historic sites, canyons, mountain ranges and forests to gateway communities like Pine and Strawberry along the 800-mile stretch from Mexico to Utah.

The Arizona Trail connects deserts, wilderness areas, historic sites, canyons, mountain ranges and forests to gateway communities like Pine and Strawberry along the 800-mile stretch from Mexico to Utah. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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On a recent trip to the Valley, I decided to throw caution to the wind. My Jeep wouldn’t really fall apart if I washed it and removed the dirt, would it? The diligent car wash employees scrubbed relentlessly, until one of them said, “What is this stuff? Tree sap?” I laughed and said proudly, “Oh, it probably is ... we live in the woods.”

Residents of Pine and Strawberry don’t mind a little dirt or yucky stuff on their clothes or vehicles and display it as a badge of honor. Dirt on our jeans means we’ve been working in the garden. Dust on our shoes comes from immersing ourselves in nature. Mud on our “wheels” represents all the fun we have exploring the backwoods of the Rim Country.

It’s been reported that the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “When you wander in the forest, camp near the river, or take a long hike, you not only explore the wonders of the world around you but expose yourself to healthy bacteria that keep your immune system busy to limit allergic response.”

Dirt is good for you and where better to play in it than in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest and gateway community to the 800-mile Arizona Trail?

Besides kicking up a cloud of dust with your quad or mountain bike or lazing on a muddy bank fishing, there’s a lot more to love in Pine and Strawberry. The picturesque mountain villages along the Hashknife Pony Express Route are reminiscent of the Old West with the historic Strawberry Schoolhouse, old barns and farm equipment, horse ranches, pioneer structures and a museum. You’ll love the quaint shops with handmade treasures and antiques, wonderfully unique restaurants and great bars with amazing food and atmosphere, live music and locally brewed beer. Overnight accommodations include campsites in the national forest, comfortable and fully stocked cabins, a historic hotel, a bed and breakfast, and even a yurt on a goat farm.

We welcome nature enthusiasts, hikers, mountain bikers, Harley riders, history buffs, antique shoppers, seniors, families, kids — and dogs! All local establishments are pet-friendly.

Rent an ATV, ride a horse or take a llama hike. Camp, hike, bike, see the sights. Take time from your busy life and get out in the woods and get the dirt on in Pine and Strawberry.

Buy American at Arts & Crafts Festival

Labor Day weekend is a good time to reflect on the value of the American worker and American-made products.

Here’s something to think about ... recently Diane Sawyer of ABC News reported that if every American spent just $64 more than normal on U.S. American-made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs.

Come enjoy American-made arts and crafts — and food — this weekend at a two-day holiday weekend event as the Pine/Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild kicks off the Labor Day Weekend Arts and Crafts Festival in Pine from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2. The festival at the ramada at the Pine Community Center on Highway 87 features the work of more than 80 talented artists and crafts people.

Bring your appetite for a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., hosted by the Pine/Strawberry Fire Department, and then later enjoy Navajo tacos by the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation. In addition, there will be food vendors with everything from chicken on a stick to deep fried Twinkies.

The Guild donates all festival proceeds over event expenses to support the non-profit groups serving the community.

Library Friends Book Sale and Raffle

Don’t miss the great prices and selection at the Library Friends Labor Day Book Sale and Raffle from Friday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 2 in the Library Activity Room at the Pine Community Center. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

While browsing books and movies, get your tickets for the Party Basket Raffle prior to the drawing, which will be at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2. The basket includes wine, wine and more wine and accessories for a great party.

Proceeds from the Book Sale and Raffle help the Friends of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library to expand the capabilities and outreach of our library.

Riff-Raff Club

Many years ago, some residents came together to help another with medical expenses. Since then, the Riff-Raff Club has grown into a valuable fund-raising group within the community, accomplishing its mission through annual benefits such as the “Naked” Yard Sale and Rifle Raffle. Their efforts have led to a successful School Assistance Program at the P/S School, a Memorial Scholarship Fund, Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for needy families and more.

This weekend, get tickets for the Riff-Raff Club’s Rifle Raffle for a chance to win firearms, a big screen TV and many other great items. The drawing takes place at 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2 at the Sportsman’s Chalet in Strawberry.

Ice Cream Social

The P/S Historical Society is planning an Ice Cream Social and Concert at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Community Center. The Randall Family Band will be entertaining. Enjoy all-you-can-eat and make your own sundaes. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For information, contact Margaret Parker at (928) 970-0658 or Shirley Whitehurst at (928) 970-0057.

Coming next week Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race, Mogollon Monster 100 Trail Race, Charity Quad Poker Run and more. E-mail events to haffordjoy1@gmail. com or call (602) 790-0248.

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