I saw a black bear cub today. I caught a brown Trout. I went to New Mexico and back into Arizona on a fire road through a spot on the map called Blue, Arizona. I saw the white Blue Cowbells in the meadows next to the stream that is the Blue river. I saw bull and doe Elk and several of their young. I walked the bed of the windy Blue and parked a chair along it’s banks to watch my boys roll up their pants and stick their bottoms in the air searching for crawdads. They say they caught a grand-daddy! I walked over a set of stairs put in place by citizen conservationist from the 1930’s to lead the way to a hidden area of petroglyphs along the rocky formations next to the Blue. And I ended the day watching my sons catch and release Apache Trout from a hidden lake tucked away in a hole surrounded by Pine, Spruce and Aspen trees.
Tonight’s our last night at Hannagan Meadow Lodge. We haven’t taken a family vacation in 6 years and this is only our second family vacation, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. But it’s the best so far!
Every year I usually take the boys to Oregon and Redding, California to visit family. They usually stay for a month with my sister, but this year we broke tradition and the boys went to ZONA camp at Biola University for a week and we all (husband included) went on a much needed family vacation to the beautiful high country in Eastern Arizona. And I am so glad we did. I wrote 4 poems here. Took up watercolors (I won’t quit my day job) and wrote a list of observations at several places we visited. The time out here has been inspiring, refreshing, quiet and adventurous at the same time.
Hannagan Meadow Lodge, where we rented a cabin, is at 9000 feet elevation along the historic Coronado Trail (a.k.a. Devil’s Highway- it used to be labeled Hwy 666) in Arizona’s Blue Range Primitive Area. About a five minute car ride from Hannagan Meadow is hidden Aker Lake. I painted two of my water colors there and wrote two poems there. You drive down a forest service road into a valley were at the bottom is a natural, small lake, tucked all around with green grass, Pine, Spruce and Aspen trees. There’s a simple wooden sign at the lake instructing fishermen: Single barbed hook and artificial lures, catch and release only. Aker is full of Apache and Brown Trout as well Greylings. My boys took a fly fishing lesson the first day we were there from Wendy, a pro-angler and sweet, intelligent, strong, active woman. So glad she taught my boys. Now their hooked! They want to get their own fly fish gear.
There is so much more I could tell you about this trip. I told my husband I want to write a memoir about it. But I’ll leave you with a list of wildlife (I don’t know all their scientific names, so some of this list is just a description) I personally observed in the past 72 hours. As well as some pictures from our wildlife siting adventure in the Apache-Sitegraves Blue Range Primitive Area.
Black and white butterflies
Bright orange butterflies
Finches with yellow breast
Bull elk (4 of them)
Cow elk (I lost count… more than 20)
Swallows (and their babies in a nest on our cabin’s porch)
Red breasted Robin
Black bear cub