Benny Creek

We’re not normal campground folk. We drive long distances to amazing overlooks to camp on our own throughout our forest lands. Unfortunately, that is becoming increasingly difficult, you can see my gripe here: https://kritterspix.com/2022/06/18/everything-changes/. When we were going through Big Lake, we stayed in the Big Lake Campground where we had a nice view of the lake down the road.

Big Lake is a popular fishing lake in the area. There are actually quite a few of them in the Pinetop / Lakeside area, most with designated campgrounds (some with ‘No Camping’).

Greer Lakes is another, with fishing at any of three reservoirs: Bunch, Tunnel, or River Reservoirs. There are 2 pay campgrounds: Rolfe Hoyer and Benny Creek.

Benny Creek Campground has a flowing stream at its base and overlooks Bunch Reservoir from the top of the hill. Fishermen on the dock and in boats can be seen from its shores, along with blue heron seeking their own meal.

Along the long dirt roadways we took, we did find a number of animals from birds to big horn sheep.

While I had hoped to get some pix of black bear, which are known to be prevalent in the areas we drove, we weren’t so lucky – this time. We’ll keep trying though. In the meantime, we continue to enjoy the outdoors and everything it has to offer.

Old Route 666

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Probably 2 decades ago, Route 666 from Clifton, AZ to Springerville, AZ was renamed for political reasons to Rt 191.  The road hasn’t changed much, and is nearly as scenic as it has been… other than the devastating Wallow Fire which went through the area in 2011.

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It was awful to see that the damage which still scars the beautiful landscape some 7 years later.  The Wallow Fire was started by an unattended campfire (an all too frequent story), and was Arizona’s largest fire in history, burning more than 500,000 acres.

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While grass has grown back, and new growth aspens, the sticks and moonscape are still burned into the landscape telling it’s story of devastation and carelessness.

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People still come to visit the area.. but it has never returned to it’s hey day, pre-fire.  Many business had to close down due to lack of tourism, campers, and visitors to the area.  Today it is but a ghost town of what it once was.  All because of the carelessness of individuals who walked away from a campfire not properly extinguished.