Car in parade

Christopher Creek benefited from the band of thunderstorms that tracked through the Sierra Ancha Mountains last Friday afternoon. The storm raced up the backbone of the range that stretches from Roosevelt Lake to Young, dropping three inches of rain and hail on the 7,500-foot peaks. Of course, by the time the system reached the Creek, there was but a sprinkle left for us. However, we did get a 30-degree drop in temperature in the 60 minutes just before the social hour at the Landmark. We have had several of those sprinkles of late, one or two just barely enough to settle the dust. Your monsoon is late this year. In less than a week, it will be record-setting late. Our July 7 average start date for our seasonal rain is long gone, but to get that average some years it arrives early and this year it is late. When the monsoon comes, it could arrive with a fury and last into October.

It just seems to me that our Friday evening sessions always has someone’s guests or relatives in attendance for all to meet. Last week was no exception. Pete and Laura LaStrange brought their daughter, Bria, and her husband, Dustin. Margot Holmes’ son, Bruce, and his wife, Bonnie, who is Pete and Laura’s niece were at the table. Then there were Margot’s granddaughters, Madison and Carys and their friend, Allison. And, of course, there were Dustin’s parents and Cory. Last Saturday morning, See Canyon folks, Don Farmer along with Jeff and Lynn Harper, gathered me up to go visit the cave in the upper reaches of Preacher Canyon. The three-mile trek by side-by-side and quad through some very rocky trail put us near the site before 8 a.m. Some 80 yards below the entrance, while gathering up lights and water bottles, we heard the voices. Soon a couple of young boys appeared from the scrub oak and manzanita to inquire if we knew the location of the cave entrance. After a 10-minute climb, we were there. Now the voices came from inside the mountain. Following a three-yard, 20-degree, crawling descent we were inside the first room. It was there we met the 10 members of Troop 221 of the Gilbert Boy Scouts and their leader. They had an early start as they had hiked the nearly three miles up the rugged Preacher Canyon from Highway 260 that morning.

The cave, itself, was a two-room affair with a shelf up high in the second room and a negative edge pool upon that shelf. The ceiling featured glints of the facets of iron pyrite and the tiny droplets of water. There were some bacon and a myriad of small stalactites. Perhaps the most impressive features were the dozen large cup-topped or hollowed stalagmites. They rose from the floor of the second room to a height of about 18 inches.

We did the obligatory “lights out” then signed the register and began the crawl to daylight. Lynn Harper told us of her last trip when she rose up too soon causing a gash on her head requiring five staples. Thank you all for allowing me on your adventure.

One of the highlights of the parade was the debut of Lilly. After two years and just two days before the event, Keith and Rhonda Mead brought Lilly home to the Creek. Abandoned and all shot up, she was found in a field near Fountain, Colo. After the second owner began the restoration, Keith became number three owner of the 1931 A Model Ford with the name Lilly. The bulk of the work on Lilly these last two years was done by Chris and Carrie Fessler’s restoration company in the Valley. Carrie is Keith’s daughter. Rolled and pleated leather seats and headliner highlight the interior. Rhonda Purple is the color of the paint and the top has the black canvas cover. A handsome black leather trunk is featured on the rear and etched glass wind wings are on the doors. Now to complete the project, Keith will do a complete rebuild of Lilly’s four-cylinder engine. Just a beautiful job, Keith.

Thanks to Beau and Elsa for the fish fry on the evening of the all-star baseball game last week.

Columbine Road’s gang of free-range kids grew in numbers this past week. Three young visitors to the home of Alex and Irma are in the Creek as a part of their summer vacation to Montana, California and Arizona. Carmen, 14, and twins Byrd and Tres, both 12, are part of the Bunker family from the state of Virginia. They seem to fit right in with John Paul and all the kids down at the car wash. Next week, Carmen is going to attend a running camp at NAU in Flagstaff.

We are all about kids and dogs ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

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