Christopher Creek enjoyed a spectacular day for our parade celebrating the birth of the nation in July 1776. And there were 76 official entries that morning. There were seven floats, several antique vehicles, Sal’s motorized trike, and an estimated 200 individuals in the procession.

The Rowley family had a dozen onboard their float. Christopher Creek Lodge was represented with their tractor-pulled “train.” There were all manner of highly decorated golf carts and side-by-sides, highlighted by the presentation of the colors on the lead vehicle, driven by parade chairman, John Mitchell. An engine from Christopher-Kohls Fire Department followed right behind.

Highlights were Parade Marshals Bob and Penny Wells, and Spencer’s first time driving in the parade. His parents, Terry and Cheri Short were his passengers, with his dad beside him keeping a close eye on his performance. Spencer did a great job!

Along the route were a tremendous number of spectators, viewing from the comfort of lawn chairs in the shade. We shared the corner of Columbine and the Loop with Jim and Elizabeth White, along with Adam and Kayla Cole, with daughter Lizzie. Adam and Kayla were enjoying their first 4th of July parade as new owners of the Grey Hackle Lodge. As we were officially counting entries, Lizzie was busy scrambling to collect all the candy tossed from vehicles as they passed.

Parade organizers, Irma and Alex Armenta get a well-deserved tip of the hat for their help. CKFD volunteer Dave Elston helped to provide traffic control. Thank you to Erin Morgan and Cody Peck from Creekside RV Park, who were chauffeurs for Parade Marshals Penny and Bob Wells. When the route was completed, Bob and Penny were delivered to the home of Larry and JJ Hannum who hosted a small reception in their honor.

Following the parade, Bo and Karen Ficula reported having 83 customers at their snow-cone stand.

Saturday morning began with a race down to the mailboxes to be first in line at the bake sale — Larry Waltemeyer beat me by mere seconds. He bought one of the two gorgeous cupcake floral bouquets created by FooFoo Sullivan.

For her birthday last year, Mother got a yellow bouquet. Tuesday was her 96th. Happy Birthday, Mom.

By 10 a.m., the Firebelles’ Sheila Marcum reached their goal of $700. When she returned to Elk Haven, she received another donation from the Wilson family, of American Power Sports, making the bake sale total $800. Well done, all who donated baked goods.

An hour later, Larry was pulling a water wagon down Columbine Road with Dan Coates working the valves. Thanks for settling the dust before the parade fellas.

Speaking of Dan, he was on his way to a lot up on the ridge above the Creek, when he noticed a small puff of smoke coming from the woods. It was late Friday morning and he was hauling water to the elk tank on a property near the cell tower. The small fire was a 100 yards west of Hunter Creek Road and 30 yards north of the old access road. He grabbed a water can and went to work on the fire just as it began to flame up some small bushes. For fear it might get away from him, he relayed a call to CKFD. Captain Chad Stluka and firefighter Jason Tutay responded immediately to take over and extinguished the 10-by-10-foot fire. A first alarm was canceled, however, a Forest Service Hotshot team arrived and investigated. Chief Lockhart visited a campsite nearby to interview the illegal campers. We noted that an hour later there were several vehicles of Gila County and TNF law enforcement at the scene.

Other reports indicated a number of tickets were given out to illegal campers along Colcord Road, as well. A big thank you to Dan Coates for being there to stop the fire before it got out of hand.

Chief Lockhart reported a fairly quiet weekend, but tells us in talking to the folks who were held up by the parade nearly all of them were looking for a place to camp.

On Saturday morning, Captain Chad Stluka and firefighter Mark Hanson drew assignments for the fire on Polles Mesa, west of Payson.

We reached out to Chief Dave Rodriquez of Forest Lakes Fire Department to ascertain the burden on his agency from the increase of the number of visitors due to the TNF closure. He indicated they had a very busy weekend of calls, including several trauma incidents, air evacuations and a fatality at the intersection of SR 260 and FR 300. He also noted on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., there was a count made of vehicles exiting from FR 300 at that same intersection — an incredible 5,252 vehicles.

Hi to Olive, who is out of the hospital, now in Majestic Rim and is improving every day.

Next Saturday and Sunday, the temperatures here will be 97 and 98, with no monsoon in the 10-day forecast ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

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