Christopher Creek wears a patchwork winter coat; with as much bare ground as there is snow-covered. A good quantity of snow remains in shaded areas beneath the ridge along Columbine Road and higher up in the sunless depths of See Canyon. A slow melt-off is the best prescription for the health of our surrounding forest. In the early morning hours, unpaved roads are crunchy under vehicle tires and by afternoon you hear the splatter and splash of water and mud. We are just a month into winter, but the days are noticeably longer. Thoughts turn to seed catalogs and spring training.

Samone, down at the Landmark, has posted a notice about re-opening by the last week of winter.

We have Faith. John and Ashley Huesman announced the New Year’s Day arrival of their daughter. Cloie, Bella and Johnny have a new, little sister named Faith. The family has their summer place at the mobile home park here in the Creek. Congratulations, Huesman family.

On Jan. 3, Kevin Joseph (KJ) Mystrom died suddenly in the Valley. Kevin was the lead man for the Mystrom family when they owned the old Landmark going back 15 years ago. Kevin had seven brothers and sisters. Gordon Canyon was part of their life as they grew up. KJ was 54.

Jean Hunt is recovering from her surgery at Payson Care. In the Creek, she is known as Sonni and an area resident for more than 40 years.

Three gentlemen in the area have had the same retinal procedure since last fall. All three have endured the three- to six-month period with that drop of oil behind the eye. Bill English, who lives in Ponderosa Springs, has just had the oil removed. His vision is fine. Bill Donnell, from Creekside RV Park, and Dave Funderburk will soon have their doctor determine the timeline for having the removal in their case.

On Monday, the Christopher-Kohls Fire Department was called to Forest Lakes to provide mutual aid on a house fire. They joined Heber/Overgaard department and Forest Lakes Fire Department to work the fire that destroyed that house. Chief Lockhart, Captain Rhett Connoly, and Steve McKinnon spent nearly five hours on that assignment.

A group of 15 of us met at the Native in Payson for the January lunch for the Wildflowers. Special guests were Dee White, Kyle Gordeaux and Charles Byrne. Olive Matus was ill and missed lunch, but Jeannie Moore reports she has recovered rapidly.

My brother, Brian, and his dog, Bear, spent two nights in the Creek last weekend. His three-weeks’ stay in the Valley was to visit family for the holidays and escape the brutal Iowa winter.

As this is written, we are looking forward to the premiere of the western movie, “Eminence Hill” at Sawmill Theatres Wednesday night. Look for a review of that next time ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

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