A Great Time To Get Out And Explore

The Isador Christopher cabin is still standing in Christopher Creek, the community that grew up around his homestead.

The Isador Christopher cabin is still standing in Christopher Creek, the community that grew up around his homestead.


Christopher Creek campground opened last Friday and the season has begun.

This is the time of year to get out in the early morning, breathe in the crisp, clean air (deep breaths) and then go for a little walk.

Have you ever been to the “secret place”? Many are those who have been taken to the “secret place” and been given the admonishment not to tell anyone else about it or no longer will it be a secret. Well, of course, they are going to tell the next person the same thing. This may be the perfect tune-up hike and it’s high time to blow the lid off this secret!

Drive in on the Tonto Hatchery road, cross the first bridge at Horton-Tonto confluence, and then turn left immediately into the parking lot. Make your way from the rear of the parking area through the picnic tables, bearing to the right. You will find a trail through the fence and the next thing you realize there is water on your left. If you stop along the path, look down on the stream and you may well see trout.

About 300 yards up the trail, you will suddenly find yourself overlooking the idyllic Twin Falls on Big Canyon.

Above the falls, another 100 yards, the underground stream surfaces. There is a dry creek bed above the spring all the way up Big Canyon, around Roberts Mesa to the Rim.

The high flow rate this time of year will have scoured out the ponds beneath the falls and the water will be crystal clear.

What a place to go skinny-dippin’, but only if you are of appropriate age.

Bear in mind, however, the water temperature of the subterranean stream is a constant 54 degrees. It’s a great little hike and bring the camera, but don’t look for it on any maps because it’s a “secret place.”  


Rod Britain photo

The ridge behind the site may be where he watched who came around, uninvited.

Among the many here over the Easter weekend were Pam and Dave Voita. Pam fixes the best Sunday breakfasts you could imagine. For a number of years, Dave, an avid outdoorsman, has worked diligently on the trout habitat in the creek along their property. He reports seeing his favorite “brown” in one of the holes. Don’t think he has gotten around to naming them yet, however.

By the way, Game and Fish began stocking the creeks last Monday.

If you are out in the forest, starting right now, keep your eyes open for sheds. It’s the time of year for antlered wildlife to lose their racks. It is amazing how quickly they regrow their headdress and that they grow back exactly the same each year. Should you be lucky enough to find an elk antler, just bring it by my place and we’ll add it to my chandelier!

The lyrics tell us it is spring when the swallows return to Capistrano. Around the Creek, you know spring is here by the return of the turkey buzzards. They are back and somebody really needs to write that song.

Anika and Tae Anderson’s names were omitted from the photo caption last week. Sorry, kids.

There are those in the Creek who are of the opinion Easter Sunday is not quite the same without Anthony Acuna’s exquisite broiled lamb chops.

We wish the best of luck to the Arizona Diamondbacks in their regular season, which opened last Monday.

A number of years back, a busload of D-back fans from the Creek traveled to the Valley for Opening Day. It seems, however, that there was more room on the bus for the return trip!

Back in the day, let’s say about 1880, ol’ Isador Christopher built his homestead here in the Creek. He sure picked a beautiful spot. But, all the beautiful surroundings notwithstanding, ol’ Isador had some misgivings about who might come visiting. Stories say Christopher made himself a “hidey-hole” by a spring, from where he could watch the goings-on at the homestead. There is a small spring that crosses the meadow behind the cabin. It originates from the ridge overlooking the ranch. Now, while there are no leaves on the oaks that line the ridge, one can speculate as to where ol’ Isador was hiding while watching as the renegade Apaches tried to burn his home. Although they managed to set the roof afire, his cabin did not burn down ... and that’s another week in the Creek.


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