Waking up near Bearwallow mountain we decided to see how “closed” the road through Mogollon was. It was the Sunday before a holiday so we had our fingers crossed it was a rest day for the road crews and that there was some sort of passable track.
What we saw next was more downed tree’s than I’ve seen on a road. People had either winched or chainsawed through all of them, but just enough to fit their vehicles. The result was running a slalom course for the first couple hours of the morning. I’m glad we made plenty of coffee.
With Car Talk blasting on the radio we made progress at no particular speed or place to be. We spotted even more Elk along our drive and stopped to check out any mining or building ruins we spotted.
(The little brown dots are Elk)
Eccentric describes old Mogollon to a T. In town we turned up the hill to the cemetery and walked around it extensively. Graves ranged from the late 1800's to the 1970's. There are some great historical photos here.
Time to check in before entering for your shift:
The main mine buildings are on private property and although I’d like to see them, I’m sure that means it will be better preserved and have less vandalism.
After Mogollon we made tracks on and then back off of pavement and started taking a dirt road that would bring us back to our home state. Cruising along I could tell that this road had been around a long time. It led towards the blue river, but otherwise I couldn’t think of a reason for this remote road with 1800's era built up corners and bridges to exist.
We thoroughly enjoyed the views and solitude.
We’d heard of a spot with a nice little waterfall and river just on the reservation so we went hunting. Thankfully we had it all to ourselves. Time for one last decompression before even thinking about the reality waiting for us back in Phoenix.
It was perfect. We hiked down to the falls and sat by the river. Something about the white noise of a river is special. The waterfall just a few feet away made it amplified. We didn’t want to leave. It was the final moment of my favorite part of life, for this trip anyway.
We hiked back to Goose and started making tracks. We were resolved to re-entering the world soon.
Little did we know that we were in for a couple more treats. As we rounded a corner a bear ran out from a culvert under the road! At first he hid behind a tree 10 sizes too small to hide him. After a minute he went back to life running around, digging and walking OVER any tree short enough to scratch his belly. He looked and acted like a young bear somewhat clueless what to do and what to be scared of. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. Just sitting in the truck chuckling at things he did and knowing we were lucky to stumble upon him. We hoped he’d smarten up and gain a fear of vehicles. We honked the horn and yelled without so much as a glance from the bear. It was time to keep moving. Goodbye furry brown Black Bear.
Right when we thought our treats were over we watched a couple elk run across the road and leap to clear the fence on either side of the road. They looked awkward and giant compared to what came next. An Antelope sprinted out from some tall grass he was blending in with. after a second we realized why. He had a broken leg so he couldn’t clear the fence.
Although he was still lightning fast you could tell he couldn’t make the leap over the fence. So, he barreled at the bottom part of it and went under.
In a flash our final flurry of wildlife was gone. It felt like the trip was over.
Sure it helped that the views driving into town were beautiful, but we were already replaying this trip in our heads. It was that good. Totally random, completely new terrain and generally perfect.
Until next time.