Monsoon lifts, muddies the creek

This stylish old-time “RV” won the car show competition at the Aug. 29 Christopher Creek Days. Owned by Ron and Rhonda Louch of Christopher Creek, it is a 1953 pickup and pull-behind teardrop camper. The competition had a reported 56 entries and was one of the festival’s biggest attractions.

Christopher Creek is normally a beautiful, babbling brook, but on Monday evening it became a boisterous, boiling, brown brew, bashing its way through the town after a flashy, torrential thunderstorm passed through. Neighbors reported between 2 and 2-1/2 inches, while Keith Mead down on the other end of Columbine had 3-1/2 inches. Up See Canyon the National Weather Service radar showed 3 to 4 inches over the entire 5,000-acre watershed.

Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department brought out the barricades to block the Car Wash and photographers lined the banks getting their pictures and videos for social media. Rainfall amounts from the storm brought our annual total to a tenth less than 25 inches for the year. Additional rain will put us in the above average category.

As for a damage report, the biggest event was the pine tree across the road at the Battle cabin, which fell like a good kicker in football putting one right through the goalposts. The once mighty ponderosa died a couple years back and was on the APS schedule for removal. Just the weight of the rain from Monday’s storm was enough to topple that tree between the oaks and down on the Forest Service fence missing cabins, power lines AND my pickup!

A storybook setting behind the historic homestead on a freshly mowed meadow surrounded by all manner of trees, some just barely beginning to show off their fall colors, made for a perfect evening for stories and song. Blue skies and a few white clouds filled the expanse overhead and just after sunset a bald eagle flew over the length of the meadow heading toward the Rim.

Many of the 30 folks in the large circle had tales to share of Indian raids, ranch life of the pioneer families and even a couple ghost and snake stories. Jinx Pyle opened the session around the fire with a sing-along and did several tunes accompanied by his guitar. Jinx and his wife, Jayne Peace, filled in much of the history of both the 13 and CI ranches and the background reviewing who and when the different early owners were.

Jeff and Barbara Ashby were the ranch hosts and the Palmers organized invitations and the wonderful food. It was indeed an evening to remember and we thank them for the invite.

Christopher Creek Days down at the R Bar C Scout Camp was a great success. While there was no actual head count, officials agree there were around 400 visitors. The 56 car show entries were the main attraction. And boy, there were sure some beauties. Local cars took the top three awards, with Ron and Rhonda Louch from the Creek taking first place with his ’53 pickup and pull-behind teardrop camper. The other top awards went to Payson residents Bill and Rhonda Dupke along with Brian Gunderson. Great job, all!

The day was not without disappointments as Chris Larson took home the Sun Devils ticket package that could have been mine. And can you believe Chief Lockhart refusing my fire hose challenge with the flimsy excuse that he was on duty.

Pat Johnson from KRIM was on the deck providing the tunes and announcing the raffle winners. Self-described Payson newbie, Candy Drake took home the 50/50 pot. All who stayed for the final drawing stuck around to sing to Linda Digman who worked tirelessly running the show on her birthday. She said she enjoyed having so many people come that day to help her celebrate. She, on behalf of the Firebelles, thanked everyone who volunteered to help and the R-C for hosting the event.

Labor Day weekend is upon us and we expect the last big influx of visitors. We ask that everyone be safe and please take your trash home with you!

This young fella from Ashfork, Ariz. grew up wanting to play baseball. History became his stock in trade. He picked up a $5 guitar in 1958 and that became another tool. Scottsdale Community College was his last teaching gig before retiring this year. Governor Symington sentenced him to be Arizona State Historian. He has a cabin in the Creek — his third one here. Yes, Marshall Trimble is coming to put on a show Sept. 19 right here in Christopher Creek.

We now have a set of triplets in town and they survived the rains. While not unheard of, these three whitetail fawns are a rare treat. How rare you say? When the food supply is good and the herd is not overpopulated, there is a 15 to 20 percent chance of multiple births. So, now you know, but what you need to know is that there can be as many sires as there are babies ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

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