We left our camp last Friday for the Mogollon Rim north of Payson and found a wonderful forest and good weather.
Sure, it was a holiday weekend (Columbus Day) and there were loads of people, but I was able to find a nice place to camp away from the campgrounds and most of the other forest users.
During the week, I explored the area and found I was within a half hour of at least four lakes and another two about 45 minutes away. Really they are reservoirs but its water to canoe and fish, so does it really matter. Also with some prior research, I learned these lakes are over run with crayfish and the fish and game encourage folks to trap them. Crayfish are a menace to trout lakes and eat the pray trout like, also the vegetation and trout off-spring.
Some lakes you need to hike into, like the one to the north of camp. According to the Google Earth view, a road leads to Chevelon Canyon Lake, but the road was gated and the hike down was long and longer yet going up. Geordie and I took the long hike to find a lake that should have been a canoeist’s haven, but just then for me, just a lake to look at longingly. The sides had barely a fishers trail to follow, being so steep.
I’d jumped at the early morning drive without real preparations and only had water with me and no food or reading material, thinking I could drive down and canoe. So, there we were and I tossed a few casts of the rod and nothing to show. I then tossed a few rocks in the water for Geordie to chase and swim about. I crossed the spillway and cast a half dozen more times and hooked a 15 inch rainbow. I thought that’s a great dinner and cleaned it up. With two more casts I caught another rainbow about an inch longer. Not needing to be greedy I released it and called it a good day albeit short.
As I got back to the truck I met a guy starting down with an ATV and a trailer loaded with a pontoon boat. That is one of the few times I longed for an ATV.
He did mention another lake up north that was under some repairs to the dam, and that its a great place to canoe and even find a few camps to canoe to and stay overnight. I filed that for next fall’s return.
Finding such a great spot I’ll, finally, stay somewhere for the limit of 14 days, even though we’ve had a few nights in the freezing range but others like last night in the mid 40’s. There are more lakes to fish and the easier ones to drop the canoe in and take a relaxing paddle. It’s a spot I’ll return to in the future.
I guess I’ll get to see what a fall, non-holiday, weekend is like later tonight. Still five days out of seven of heaven is just fine by me.
If you have any interest in this area, Woods Canyon Lake has two or three campgrounds. There is a dump station for $7.00 and dumpsters for trash at $3.00. You can launch your own boat or rent a boat, kayak, or paddleboard. There is also a little store there and also a small store up the road near Forest Lakes. I went up to the Heber IGA store, and as with any store in slimly populated areas, is a bit pricey. Payson should be stopped at for bigger selections at either Walmart, Basha’s, or Safeway.
Best camping is further away from the lakes. I happen to be on Forest Road 717 but further out on 169 there are some nice spot.
On a completely different topic, my Dutch Oven cooking is taking on a more advanced stage. Well, maybe intermediate stage. Back up on the Kaibab Plateau I tried a pizza that turned out pretty well. I just have to cut back on dough. I made a crust good for two pizzas.
This past week I made a decent Cottage Pie. (A pet peeve of mine is when recipes and restaurants that call it “Shepard’s Pie” but its made with ground beef. It’s Cottage Pie with beef and a Shepard’s Pie is made with ground lamb!!!) I’m done.
For the latest cook up, last night I made green chile, chicken, and dumplings, that was really good.
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