It almost seems like an oxymoron using the word ‘Best’ with ‘2020’.
We have had more trips cancelled this year than we went on. We tried to go to Grand Canyon-North Rim on three separate occasions, and had every trip cancelled for one reason or another, including closures due to Covid, and forest fires.
I contend that the pandemic was different things for different people – some worse affected than others. For us, we tried to take our isolation on the road in our camper as much as possible to keep our sanity through this year’s events. So, without further ado.. here are my top picks for 2020, in no particular order:
(1) Mogollon Rim
(2) Mogollon Rim
Both these photos come from a trip to Mogollon Rim along Milk Ranch Road, which we found to be very crowded with campers this year.
(3) Carnero Lake
Despite the fact that we fought serious camera and lens issues throughout the year, we were able to enjoy (and capture) some beautiful sunrises at Canero Lake. I wish my osprey photos had come out as well.
(4) Carnero Lake
(5) Aztec Peak
As many times as we have been to Workman Creek outside of Young, we had never been (or even heard of) Aztec Peak. There is a gate that prevents you from driving up the road past the creek every time we have been there. We attempted to go to the area for photos several times, but were always deterred due to road closures. Persistence paid off and the third time was the charm when we found the gate open, and were able to enjoy the overlook from the peak, the highest point in Sierra Anchas Wilderness.
(6) Alstrom Point
We had put off our trip to Alstrom Point, not due to road closures or fire, but lack of clouds. The forecast called for weather though, so we packed up and headed out to this amazing overlook over Lake Powell. Unfortunately, there were no clouds, but still made for a wonderful outing.
(7) Flagstaff, San Francisco Peaks
Back behind Flagstaff, is an area called Government Prairie. Dirt roads wind around through scrubby brush and open fields. If you keep driving, the pine trees become more prevalent, and this wonderful view of San Francisco Peaks reveals itself.
(8) Sheeps Crossing
Sheeps Crossing was originally built in 1926 to allow sheep herder’s to herd their sheep across the Verde River, reducing the numbers lost in the swift currents. On the National Register of Historic Places, it has been re-built due to years of use.
(9) Fossil Creek
Just outside of Camp Verde along the Verde River is a stunning gushing stream, Fossil Creek. While it is harder to get there now that they closed access via Strawberry, and made it a fee area, it remains a gorgeous, if not sadly overgrown area.
(10) Greens Peak
Outside of Show Low is a popular area called Greens Peak that we frequent every year. It tends to get a lot of weather (snow and rain) that make it flourish with greenery and animals.
(11) Hart Prairie / Kendrick Peak
We had gone to check out Lockett Meadow, a stunning place for aspen color, but there was a line waiting to get into it due to overcrowding. So instead we found a new area we hadn’t yet explored, Hart Prairie, just outside of Flagstaff.
(12) Mogollon Rim, FR 95 bridge
We’ve gotten very little snow this year, so when we heard it was supposed to snow on the rim, we immediately headed out. We enjoyed a beautiful winter wonderland for a short period.
That wraps up my 2020 Best Of. Let’s hope 2021 abounds with happiness, laughter, great views and interesting places, storm clouds, and stormy weather.
Buck Springs is one of a number of old cabins littered around Mogollon Rim’s back dirt roads.
There are two standing cabins on this site. The smaller of the two was built in 1923, while the larger was built in 1946.
The cabins found in this area were built by early Forest Service, ranchers and settlers while they worked the land. The area is also home to animals looking for food, water, and shelter.
The natural springs throughout the area provide vital water and pools for the wildlife that inhabit the area.
If you visit, remember leave it cleaner than you found it. These are precious places that hold their own history and beauty. Leave a lasting positive impression for future visitors…. not one of trash that one brings in and leaves as a poor testament to today’s mankind.
Finally… instead of going out taking photos when our schedules allowed it… we decided to go out because there was weather in the forecast. Sometimes you have to make time for the things that are important to you.
Never was that more clear than this week! I have two friends in the hospital, and one recently out, all awaiting or have just undergone serious surgery. It’s very scary to see people you love facing such a difficult time. While in your heart, you know they will be ok, you can’t help but ache for their situation.
It’s made worse by their having to go through it alone (due to covid restrictions), without their significant other by their side to hold their hand and keep their mind off of the upcoming surgery.
While I know my friends will be better as a result of the surgeries, it really gives you pause. Enjoy life, every day! Do the things one enjoys. And don’t take life for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff. One never knows what the future brings for any of us.
To Doug, Pat, and Meg: Be safe, be well, and know that you are loved. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
As I look out across the ridge, I am awe stuck by the beauty around me. The skies opened up and cast this amazing glow as if to say, it’ll all be alright, life is beautiful and there is a lot more to see.
We have been to the Mogollon Rim many times. The ‘Rim’ we frequent is off of SR-87 long Forest Road – 300. The Mogollon Rim escarpment actually continues for several hundred miles.
It passes through some gorgeous country and spectacular views, not to mention a number of lakes. Bear Lake and Knoll Lake along FR-300 are popular, and if one continues on they can visit Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs. Though the latter two lakes are more easily accessible from Payson along SR-260.
Continuing East on SR-260, the Rim Road (FR-300) crosses the highway and continues all the way to Show Low. We had never taken this section toward Show Low before, so we took the occasion to check it out.
We found the early part to have some nice views (and a LOT of campers, as it is very close to the SR-260 highway). Continuing on, the East side is completely fenced off and entry to the Indian Reservation land prohibited. Through this stretch the views are obscured through thick trees. You literally can’t see the forest through the trees.
It was a beautiful drive and yielded some photographic opportunities, although the weather struggled to cooperate. We set out under the forecast of rain, and rain we got… and fog, and barely a sunset or sunrise obscured by dense cloud cover, and then clearing to blue sky after the storm had passed.
I’m not complaining, any day spent in the woods with some gorgeous views, is always a good day.
If you’ve been to Mogollon Rim by way of Forest Road 95, you’ve passed over the bridge at East Clear Creek.
The road itself is dusty, windy, and beautiful. It’s kind of like a suspense thriller – and I don’t mean spooky guy at the end. In fact, for me it’s a plot that thickens. It starts with boring tall forest to pull you in. It’s nice enough, but sorta drab.
Then it sprinkles in some cool craggy oaks, and the occasional fir. Then.. just as you turn the corner, it grabs you with more breathtaking views.
I’m fortunate to have taken enough worthy photos that I can share multiple Best of 2018 posts, albeit some similar themes.
1. Tree Saddle Snow First Snow of 2018, January 21 on Mogollon Rim.
2. Blue Shutters Provence FRANCE
3. Water Rok Vernazza, Cinque Terre ITALY
4. Rio Boats Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre ITALY
5. Fog Trees Fog over Moqui Draw
6. Point Imperial River Sunset over Grand Canyon North Rim, Point Imperial
7. Awesome View Your’s truly, taken at North Rim Grand Canyon by Arizona Highways Photographer, Suzanne Mathia
8. Cape Flowers Grand Canyon North Rim, Cape Royal
9. Aspen Maple Fall Colors on Mogollon Rim
10. Ruins Burst Sunrise of old Indian Ruins
I love these posts. They make me reflect on the year past, where I have been and what we have done. These images are a glimpse into our lives and our souls. I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me.