Christopher Creek Loop is a two-mile-long stretch of paved road connecting to State Route 260 on both ends. It serves as a public right of way for access to Christopher Creek, See Canyon Homes, The Brooks and Hunter Creek. Highway 260, at one time, came right through the Creek up until the completion of the four-lane bypass some 15 years ago. Then the Loop was turned over to Gila County.
Now, there are quite a number of folks who walk, run or bike here in the Creek. There are daily walkers such as Cal and Sue, Karen Schmitt, Elsa Bovier, Jane Pizutti, Janeen Donnel, Irma Armenta, Marge Anderson, Dennis Wilbanks, Jim Oliver, Dave and Carol Funderburk, Sal Mestas, and a host of others, including many weekend visitors. We have runners such as Cheri Short, who does upwards of seven miles each morning. Cheri also does a bike ride with son, Spencer.
Rosemary Tidwell has done all three — biking, walking and running, although not so much running these days. On her walks Rosemary, who is now in her 60s, carries a bag to pick up trash along the way. One day, not too long ago, she was walking the steep grade of the Loop, going east up to the intersection of Hunter Creek Road. It is there that a sign announcing “Christopher Creek” is posted along the road. Along that uphill trek, she was stopped by a vehicle with the Tonto National Forest logo on the side. The TNF employee informed Rosemary that the forest was closed and ordered her to confine her walking “in town.” Is this public road only for vehicular travel? Is a bicycle a vehicle? How about a side-by-side or a horse? It seems to me, and a number of others, that this government employee may have gone a bit beyond the scope of enforcing the forest closure restrictions.
With the restrictions being lifted within the Tonto National Forest, can we now anticipate that same exuberance of enforcement in the free camping areas around the Creek and along Colcord and Tonto Creek roads? More exuberance in enforcement is needed along the lines of say — unattended campfires, small arms fire, and the increasing amounts of garbage left behind by campers. They owe Rosemary an apology.
With that rant out of the way, we can announce that the CKFD Firebelles aluminum can recycling trailer is again empty. This program was conceived and brought to life by Don Farmer, a Valley businessman and property owner high up in See Canyon Homes subdivision. Don designed and had the can trailer built and donated it to the Firebelles organization. He also has been responsible for hauling the full trailer to a Valley recycling plant. This time around, the full trailer yielded around just 500 pounds of aluminum. This may be due to the fact that not everybody smashes their cans. Firebelles president, Sheila Marcum, says she is OK with that as long as people donate their cans. If the majority of cans were smashed, the trailer would hold more and would require fewer trips to the recycle facility. Over the years, this program has the potential of raising thousands of dollars to support the educational and some equipment needs of our local firefighters. Great idea, and thank you Don Farmer and those who donate their cans.
Zane Grey precinct, located at the Bible Church, will be open bright and early next Tuesday morning. Payson resident, Elger Silvanus, will join locals Judy Tolle, Jim Oliver and myself manning the voting poll. Everybody get out to vote and we look forward to seeing you.
Now that July is “toast,” we are a third of the way through our monsoon season with a just a little over two inches of rainfall here in the Creek. Through July 19, Arizona had a 30-year record low number of lightning strikes around the state, indicating how few of the moisture-laden thunderstorms there have been early on. By now, you may be aware that the Tonto National Forest has been reopened, but shall remain on Level One restrictions. This means no campfires anywhere!
More kids in the creek this week, this time featuring Margot Holmes’ family. She tells us four generations of “kids” were playing in the waters and along the banks of Christopher Creek. Her son, Mike Levac, granddaughter, Roxanne, greats Reagan, 6, and Jase, 3, had a great time floating their plastic boat across the carwash and over the falls. Margot insists she was in the water, as well.
One of our resident bull elk patiently waited until all the kids playing at the carwash had departed before he splashed across the apron. Foofoo Sullivan snapped the photo from her deck below the spillway ... and that’s another week in the Creek.