On Watch For Rim Country Rain

Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Christopher Creek’s unofficial keeper of the rain gauge is 82-year-old Leo Wenning. Armed with his colorful walking stick, he tours the loop most every day. “Two-tenths last night and two-tenths last week,” he reports. “Apples are starting to fall off the trees.”

Rain is all around us, but so far we’re an orphan as far as getting a good one. The five-inch rain we had in January has kept the trees healthy thus far and the hope is by the time you read this, we’ll have had that gully-washer.

On this Saturday morning Leo sat with us on the carport and talked about farm dogs. When he was a kid they had eight dogs on the farm — four coon dogs, a rabbit dog and an old collie that chased the cows in each morning at 4 a.m. The other three were unaccounted for. The thing is, everybody has their stories to share.

Labor Day Flood stories wanted

Scott Miller is one of those who has a story about escaping out of Bear Flat back in 1970 just before the flood. Having seen how much rain had fallen, he was wise enough to know when to get out.

There are many tales about the course of Christopher Creek when the bridge across Highway 260 became a dam on Sept. 5 that year.

Slowly but surely, as the word is passed on about the 1970 Labor Day Flood Reunion, folks have started to come forward with little vignettes of their experiences.

Don Farmer would like know about your story, call him at (480) 200-8687.

This & that

Best wishes go out to Kyle and Shannon as they begin their journey down the matrimonial trail this Sunday. Shannon is daughter to Gary and Cindi Werlinger and congratulations go out to them, as well!

Visitors last weekend included my mother and sister, Linda. She celebrated her 89th on July 7 ... Mother that is. She brought me a present, something she received at her church by sitting at the end of her pew ... a roll of holy duct tape!

A bunch of the “Crash Dummies” gathered at Dean’s to start the demolition of the demolition derby car. It’s a 1979 Chrysler Cordova without the “rich, Corinthian leather” upholstery. Windows and chrome, gas tank, seats, mirrors and all the extraneous parts have to be removed. Cars still had hood ornaments back then ... it was salvaged. A ridged inspection must be passed before entries can qualify for the event.

Ray and Gloria Duran have had a place for many years in Christopher Creek Mobile Home Park. They share the cul de sac on the back road with Dave and Polly, Max and Ann, and Kenn and Pat. Ray was fond of fishing the Rim lakes, especially with his grandson. We are saddened by the report last week that Ray has passed. We are glad to have known him.

Back in the day

Back in the day ... Christopher Creek was once visited by a very famous western novel writer. We know this because in his works he has told us that he rides every trail about which he writes. In one of his novels his character was being sought by the riders from “a place over on Cherry Creek,” which is over by Young. He was pinned down right under the Mogollon Rim between Cibecue and Carrizo Creeks. His escape took him west along the base of the Rim to where he could see “a huge thumb sticking out from Rim” (Promontory). Making his way along a creek (Christopher), he camped “about a mile above Bearhide Springs,” which would be the confluence with the Tonto Creek. That’s between the Creek and Kohl’s Ranch, and up from Bear Flat. From there he went down the Tonto over Apache Ridge and through Salt Lick Canyon. So, in this story he rode right through this area back in 1877. The author goes on to write about some 25, or so, Rim Country canyons, rivers, mesas and other such places. Some of those are “Wild Rye” on Rye Creek, where there was a store of sorts, Buckhead Mesa and Camp Verde, where he met with Al Seiber and the military. Others he mentioned were the Mazatzal Mountains, Knob Mountain, Cactus Ridge, Midnight Mesa, Dead Cow Canyon, Wet Bottom Creek, Fossil Creek, Pine, Pine Creek, Hardscrabble Mesa, Clover Spring, Oak Spring, East Verde and a “natural bridge.” All of these locations, both familiar and not, can be found on a Tonto Forest map.

No, the author was not Zane Grey. The character’s name was William Tell Sackett and the name of the novel was “The Sackett Brand” written in 1965 by the most prolific western author of all time ... Louis L’Amour! ... and that’s another week in the Creek!

You’re right; just two dogs were unaccounted for.

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