Christopher Creek was often the subject of one of the featured articles in the Tonto Trails magazine. The annual publication was a visitors’ promotional for an area encompassing Mesa, Globe, Apache Trail, Tonto Basin, from Florence to Heber, Payson, and all of Rim Country. Norman Mead was the publisher for more than 40 years. He grew up in Rim Country on the 40-acre Mead Ranch in the shadow of Roberts Mesa and later lived in Mesa. Tonto Trails magazine featured a centerfold that could be found under the glass on dining tables in restaurants and diners throughout the area. Ad revenue from businesses in the area supported this venture. History of towns and points of interests made up the text in each edition. A local author penned each story. For instance, Marguerite Noble wrote about the Payson Centennial in the 1982 edition.

Early editions used interesting bits of lore and tips on camping or fishing to help fill the pages. Over the years there were more and more advertisers and the quality of the articles and photography improved. Over the 40-odd years from 1955 to 2000, Norman Mead had unwittingly created not only an anthology of informational and historical articles but also a registry of area businesses and the change of owners. As a case in point, we know from that 1982 edition, that Jess and Bill Wynn had just bought the Christopher Creek Bar, Store and the Ranch House Restaurant. Today we know that as the Landmark. In 1990, Audrey Treat ran an ad for Gordon Canyon RV Ranch and Dean Shields advertised her Tree House Gallery and Gifts at the Christopher Creek Lodge. She was closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Sometime this magazine morphed into Arizona Tonto Trails.

Even our own Isadore Christopher suffers from an identity crisis. Some years he was a Frenchman and other years he was a Scotsman. Yet in each case, he still had mail-order bride(s).

In one of the stories about Kohl’s Ranch, it is mentioned that Maynard Mead was one of the favorite fiddle players of the day. Maynard’s grandson and Norman’s nephew is our own Keith Mead. Keith and Rhonda live near the west end of Columbine Road.

Tonto Trails magazines are truly treasures of history. Should you find one in the back of the closet, don’t toss it. The museum of the Northern Gila County Historical Society has a collection touting just 28 editions. Maybe you have one they don’t have.

The can trailer is back. The abbreviated inaugural season of the aluminum recycle effort sponsored by the Firebelles was a success. The guy who hauled the trailer to the Valley told the story of visiting various redemption centers to determine the best price. He happened on an outfit that paid a whopping 90 cents a pound. They were happy to shovel the trailer out after the weigh-in. There was very little garbage in the load, a concern that was unfounded. One third of the cans were not smashed. The load yielded nearly 600 pounds and $522. For those who shrugged off the effort, it’s time to get on board this year. It takes little time and effort to save your cans for this good cause. A big thank you to all those who participated.

January saw the loss of two gentlemen from our area. From way back in the early 1990s, we can remember Dusty and Sally gracing the dance floor any time there was entertainment in the Creek. The couple were married for 64 years and lived on their “ranch” out in Gordon Canyon since 1994. Marion Dusty Wright ran in the Senior Olympics until three years ago. He passed away on January 21 at the age of 88.

For the past several years, Ralph Buchanan and Bette Lu have divided their time between Sun Lakes and the Creek. You would see them at get-togethers at Creekside RV Park and at Friday evening events. Ralph was a man of great humor. He made many friends in the Creek in a short time and we enjoyed knowing him. Ralph passed away on January 1 at the age of 73.

Happy trails, Dusty and Ralph.

A farewell party for Jim and Dee White will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31. That would be tonight. These long-time area residents are relocating to the Valley to be close to family. After 50 years in Tonto Estates, the last few years have seen them at Powell House in Payson. Dee expressed her desire to see all their many area friends at the Double D in Tonto Village for this potluck affair.

We enjoyed a visit from Austin Dodson last weekend. He came up with his granddad, Dean... and that’s another week in the Creek.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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