Weekend Filled With Maroon And Gold And Coconuts

Christopher Creek

Christopher Creek


Christopher Creek had the look and feel of a major holiday weekend. Friday and Saturday’s influx of Sun Devil Nation was evident at both restaurants and the general store. But, the six or eight families booked into the Grey Hackle Lodge seemed to be the most exuberant of the lot. The common area blossomed with colors of maroon and gold from the numerous pop-up canopies. The campfire blazed and the evening was filled with laughter, shrieks and cheers of joy in the young voices playing whatever games they were enjoying. It made me want to go across and join in. These families make an annual trek on Tontozona weekend and they do have fun.

The estimated crowd of 5,300 at the scrimmage was, again, well handled by a company hired to direct parking on the new portion of SR 260, as yet unopened. But, what happens next year? Tim Ehrhardt thinks part of the answer is parking at Indian Gardens for the day. The other part of the solution could be the Ames construction yard which used to be the old crusher pit where they made materials for the first leg of divided highway back in the late ’80s. Both would require shuttle buses. By the way, how does one get a job as a crowd estimator?

One little gal, named Kira, who will be 3 next month, stopped to visit our campfire Saturday night. She showed us her collection of about six pine cones in a plastic grocery bag. When asked if she would like some out of our boxful, used as fire starters, she started in filling her bag. She then let out a shriek and exclaimed, “Mommy, Daddy, look ... more coconuts!”

Last Tuesday, Karen Wartick, Margo Holmes, and yours truly joined Karen Thornton for her birthday celebration at five-dollar burger night down at Mike’s Diamond Point Shadows. There was no shrieking, by the way.

Leo hollered, “9.4” out the window as he drove by recently. He was referring to our monsoon rainfall, of course. This year we seem to have a rare abundance of mosquitoes, not just here in the Creek, but down at Kohl’s as well. Lorrie Walin recently moved back to the Creek after a 25-year stint in Minnesota. Could she have brought this invasion with her? She says not and maintains Eden Prairie didn’t have this many. Lorrie, known as Junior around here, is not particularly fond of the extra-large flying hard-shell beetles ... the ones that sound like 747s. (Junior, some of them big football players down at Camp Tontozona didn’t like them either!)

This is to announce the long awaited and much anticipated saga of Delbert Worchester’s return to See Canyon will appear here in this space in three parts in September. Sixty-three years ago, young Del crashed his small plane into the side of the Rim. Also, upcoming will be a look at local artists Jean Mauldin, painter and instructor from Kohl’s Ranch and Scottsdale; Jim Hagen, local wildlife painter; and Terry Flores, Native American painter and her brilliant portraits.

Back in the day ...

Dick Williams Creek played a significant role in the Labor Day Flood Disaster of 1970. It starts at the very top of the Rim and winds its way to the Tonto Creek, the confluence being about a mile above the Horton Bridge. High above the banks of the Dick Williams, as it flows through the Tonto Estates, is the home of Jim and Dee White, named Ari-tucky. What a gorgeous setting for this long, low stone and glass home, built in 1962. Jim is a retired architect, who did a lot of his design work in the Pacific Northwest. He explains that they wanted a lot of glass in their homes overlooking the Pacific and he incorporated that idea into his home in Rim Country.

In 1970, Labor Day rains caught their three children on the other side of the creek when the waters began rising. Jim pleaded for them to stay on the other side and seek high ground ... which they did. It saved their lives, Jim describes, for suddenly, there came a three-story wall of water down the canyon, boiling, black with debris and trees. The roar was tremendous. The torrents from the Dick Williams slammed into the Tonto, and then were joined by flooding Horton waters to form the epicenter of death and destruction sweeping cabins, vehicles, campers and 14 souls away.

On Sept. 2, 2013, come be a part of making history by witnessing the retelling of the most significant story of natural disaster in Arizona’s first century of statehood. These witnesses may never again be gathered to tell their terrifying tales. Don Farmer has all the details at (480) 200.8687. This one you don’t want to miss ... and that’s another week in the Creek!


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