9280 Feet ASL

On our way to the White Mountains we stopped in Show Low for groceries, dump and laundry. When I was young and Mom and Dad took us to Show Low, I remember it as being a small cow-town. Now it’s a big sprawling city complete with Walmart, Home Depot, supermarkets and almost everything you can imagine. I guess one reason the town has grown so big is because of its proximity to the mountains and still only a few hours north of Phoenix. 

We drove south from Show Low for about 40 miles, gaining a coupling thousand feet in altitude, and marveling at the beauty of the alpine meadows , pine forests and lakes galore. We found a campsite on forest road 117 and set up camp. We first intended to park temporarily, and then scout out different places to camp, but the more we looked around over the next few days, there were no places open that we thought would be better. 

The site we found had an open meadow that I parked in to get solar and satellite, and Donna parked back in the trees to get shade. The campsite was level and back away from the road just far enough to be quiet. We had a couple neighbors park nearby that were quiet and respectful. We were only bothered by a couple ATVs and motorcycles racing by on two days. 

Even at 9000’ the temperatures were getting up in the high 80s. I could use my AC and Donna stayed comfortable in the shade with just her fans. We tried sitting outside but the bugs and mosquitoes drove us back inside after a minute. One thing that would have been nice is if we had had a screen tent. There is a fire ban in all of the Sitgraves NF, so we couldn’t even have a fire to smoke the mosquitoes away. 

Since we have been here, we have explored nearby towns, lakes and back roads.   The nearest town, Springerville, is only 20 miles from our camp. One day we drove in and picked up a few groceries, visited a park with metal sculptures, and had a very good pizza lunch. Another day we went to Sunrise Lake and ski area, and explored a campground on Indian Reservation land. 

We tried to space out our trips to sightsee so we would have several adventures during our two week stay. Donna has been doing all the driving in her car, partially because there is room for Hanna, and partially because her car is more comfortable than my little buggy.  Both of our vehicles are low clearance, and I have thought more than once how nice it would be to tow a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance for exploring back roads. 

Other places we have explored so far are Greer and Big Lake. Greer is a picturesque little community, nestled in a forested valley, dotted with hundreds of vacation cabins. It’s a total tourist town with several restaurants but few places to get supplies other than trinkets and souvenirs.  Big Lake is a popular camping, boating and fishing area. There are several campgrounds, one of which Donna remembers that Mom and Dad stayed at a few times. We both got an ice cream sandwich at the little camp store. Luckily, we had some cash because they charge an extra $3 to use a credit card. The cashier told me it was because they had to use satellite to process cards and that’s what they were charged. When I went outside, I noticed a Starlink antenna on top of the roof. 

We still have Hawley Lake to see and for sure another trip to Springerville to do laundry, get a couple groceries, and stop for another slice of delicious pizza!

4 Responses to “9280 Feet ASL”

  1. Donna says:

    Boy, these weeks in the mountains couldn’t have come at a better time, with the record breaking heat wave at home. I’m going to dread going back down to the Valley when appointments and responsibilities call me home. This has been a great get away in a year when high gas prices have made us limit our travel radius. Plus it’s a lot of fun to explore and revisit places of our youth.

  2. RV John says:

    9280 feet … I am envious!

  3. Dale says:

    Hey John, it has sure been a hot summer this year. Even places around Flagstaff where we used to camp have been experiencing high 90s. If I ever come up here to camp again, I will for sure bring a screen tent. Even bug spray doesn’t seem to deter these hungry little creatures!

  4. RV John says:

    Bugs can really mess one’s outside enjoyment up! I guess even the bugs all look for a higher elevation this year!

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