Spring in Christopher Creek

Some Christopher Creek trees are in full blossom while others, such as aspen, bide their time.

Christopher Creek is smack dab in the middle of elk country. Now is the time of year when herds are moving from canyons to the south back to the Rim. Along SR 260 are 10-foot high fences to prevent these large animals from an untimely demise upon meeting up with a high-speed vehicle. There are unprotected areas such as Colcord Road, Control Road and the Tonto Hatchery Road that require your vigilance.

By the end of winter the males have nearly all lost their large antlers. Antler is bone-like, made entirely of protein, and thus is a favorite of small game to gnaw on. Now that spring has arrived and the weather is nice it is time to hike the woods. Mind you that searching for sheds is not the proper way to go about it. Just get out there and enjoy the scenery and if you are lucky a shed will find you.

After the bulls have successfully rid themselves of their magnificent racks they begin anew the process of growing them at the unbelievable rate of an inch a day. The elk antler is the fastest growing substance in the animal kingdom. A soft velvet exterior contains the blood vessels to feed the growth of the bone-like material. This continues until late July by which time the velvet is no longer necessary and the scraping on shrubs and trees helps to remove it.

By then the racks are completely hardened just in time to practice jousting skills in anticipation of the fall rut when things get serious.

It is worth noting that antlers grow back nearly identical as the year prior. A dozen or so years back we had a pair of “townies” nicknamed Captain Hook and his buddy Spike. Ole Hook had an eyeguard deformity that grew down and nearly covered one eye. It grew back the same every year.

One Sunday afternoon the pair came visiting behind the Creekside restaurant. Back then Olive had a large feeder hanging from a tree. Hook got that feeder hung up on his rack and commenced to thrash about trying to get rid of it. So violent were his attempts that the back dining room was evacuated for fear of something crashing through the windows. And of course, everyone from the front porch came running to the back to see the show!

Sheila’s Creekside is back to being open seven days a week for the season. On Saturday, Terry Flores will instruct another of her classes known as Paint Your Palette. You might just stop in and watch what’s going on and perhaps have a glass of wine with the group. They do that, you know.

Saturday evening this weekend is the Jammie Party in the Creek. Should you see a large bunch of gals in various forms of sleeping attire running about town, pay them no mind. Their inhibitions are most likely wine-induced.

Down at the Landmark we see that Mo is back this season. Her mom, Kendra, is there as well. Good representation from Tonto Village working in the Creek this spring.

In a very short time we have gone from mud to dust on the roads here in the Creek. Potholes remain and the damage along Apple Lane near the carwash has yet to be repaired. Return of folks to open up cabins and trailers along with those visiting for spring break have made for a marked increase in traffic. To date there has been no sight of the Gila County maintainer. We pay our taxes.

Last week Doc and Pepper shot the photo of the wildflowers along SR 87 on their trip from the Valley.

Imagine life in Colcord estates 50 years ago. Very few cabins were there and it had to have been very peaceful. That may have been what attracted Kenny Jacobs to that area at the age of 20. Kenny bought a lot with an old cabin and maintained that original appeal throughout the years. Although he kept to himself most of the time, he became a Colcord icon.

For the last 15 years he hosted a popular Oktoberfest party on the property. Neighbors up the road a ways, Patsi and Randy, will carry on that tradition in his honor. Sadly, Kenny passed away in the Valley last week. Happy trails, Kenny.

Preparations are underway for the big party, even though the event is just under five months away. The theme and details will remain under wraps for the time being. Should your curiosity get the best of you, the third Thursday in August is the date set. That is the only clue for now ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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