"Yer lucky them lions didn't gecha!" he grinned.
The natural reaction to a comment like this coming from a guy with three visible teeth and a heavy yokle accent is incredulity. Unless, as was the case, the commentator is a local Apache who grew up just up river from where I was camped the night before. "I wouldn't'a slep' out dere!" he giggled as a follow-up.
I had worried about mountain lions that night. I'd worried about a lot of things. But I did what I had to to calm myself down.
From the journal: I like these rocks, all smoothed out over the centuries... Fewer places for snakes to hide. But what about the scorpions...?
It had been a FULL day. I left lake Roosevelt shortly after first light. Not dawn - first light. I didn't want to see those fishermen in the morning. I went to Globe, Az. for breakfast - McDick's, the only place that was open. I was headed for Show Low for really no other reason but the name. My plan was to get to Silver City that evening. I'd given up on the meteor crater the night before on the grounds that
Stopped to take it in...
but just then I saw the road down to the river. (It will be mine...)
it was too far to go for a day trip. About 40 miles outside of Globe I hit the canyon. I had just chosen my route from the map and hadn't even noticed the little "places of interest" marker. First I noticed the twisties. A pack of sport bike riders came up behind me and for most of the descent down into the canyon I was just concerned with my line since I was leading the faceless pack. Then I noticed the world fall off the side of the road after the first switchback and pulled off to have a look. The sun had just crested the mountains and the jagged cliffs were speckled with sharp rocks and cacti. Further up the road, on the other side of the river I took the first turn to get a good look at the river. I noticed a truck and lone fisherman down by a waterfall and decided to let Silver CIty wait - I was going to swim in that river. It was still not even 8AM so I figured, with time to kill, why not check out the Crater.
From the canyon it was a steady climb up to Show
Low, but then the weirdest thing happened. The road just flattened out. I had worked my way up and up to what I thought was a mountain pass and then everything just leveled out and stayed at something like 7000 feet.
A couple hours later I turned off of I-40 onto Meteor Crater Road. By that point I was really excited - I'd never been in or even seen a meteor crater before. That excitement soon turned to mischievous anger when I arrived and realized that they not only had fenced off the whole crater, but were charging 15$ entrance fee. I call the anger mischievous because it makes me so. They happened to be welcoming a troop of Route 66 travelers who were filming a reality TV series. With all the commotion and hooplah I was sure I could walk in the service entrance with all the crew.
Didn't that sound like the beginning of a great story? It wasn't. One of the crew narc'ed me out and I hit the road again. Not before checking out an old ruined redstone house (See photo). I almost ran out of gas and into a thunderstorm on my way back to
Take your crater and stuff it!
Get it? Anyway, after being too cheap to pay the crater entrance fee (wtf?) I checked out these ruins for a break. The slight rise on the horizon next to the ruined house is the lip of the crater.
Show Low, I had to stop in Snowflake Arizona. Why there is a Snowflake in Arizona seems a mystery. The town was established in 1870 so maybe it's just climate change...
Back At Salt River canyon I put this down in my journal:
Tot: 0.988s; Tpl: 0.095s; cc: 11; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0768s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb