Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Camping at Knoll Lake on Mogollon Rim

July 4th has come and gone, and like most good things, the anticipation lasted longer than the event. We spent three nights camping and playing under huge trees alongside of Knoll Lake on the Mogollon Rim northeast of Payson.

We left Phoenix at 3pm on Thursday and hit the dirt road along the rim in around 2 hours. Then came the fun part winding along the rim with some amazing views and a nice dark storm rolling in for fun photographing. In 1990 there was a huge fire up here and there was still a lot of evidence of it. I usually find fire damaged areas very strangely beautiful. The rim is actually the edge of a large plateau which drops precipitously 1000 feet. Our camp site was on the top of it.

We finally pulled in to the campground at around 6:30 pm and met up with 4 other friends only to have the skies open up as we were setting up tents. We did manage to get a tarp up so we had a place to hang out and cook some dinner and have a couple of beers. We had an early night.

The next morning, when we woke up, our awesome friend Josiah had already arisen at the crack of dawn to go catch us 5 rainbow trout. They soon became our lunch. Yumm.

Friday July 4th, we were really quite lazy. I rode the 1.5 mile dirt road down to the lake a couple of times and did some exploring around the woods. In the early afternoon, another major storm rolled in and this one brought something special for us Phoenicians...hail. It was a pretty cool thing to watch the hail start to fill the ground all around us. Nothing like camping with falling ice and a makeshift tarp house.

During the storm, we decided to drive out to the rim to watch the storm foll over the edge (about 4 miles away). Pretty cool really.

Later that day we created the coolest woods frisbee game ever: couples frisbee golf. We used a regular sized frisbee and would take turns picking a random tree 200 meters away. You had to use various throws to wind through the trees (each person taking turns) to get the least number of throws before hitting the tree. Believe me when I say it was fun. Tom tees off below.

For dinner Tom and I grilled chicken kabobs (we had previously grilled the chicken at home) and we had an quasi-illegal campfire. The signs said no fires in the dispersed campsites (only in the campground) but seeings how it had just hailed, we weren't too worried.

Saturday morning, I awoke in time for the early morning fishing trip with Josiah. Mon & Josiah brought two kayaks, so while Tom and Josiah played manly hunter and gatherer, Mon and I took the kayaks out for a beautiful early morning paddle. We then switched places and Josiah caught some fish from the kayaks also.

This little lizard must have been sick because he didn't move much when we picked him up to give him a belly scratch.

While the boys took the kayaks, Monika and I decided to hike around the lake. It ended up being much larger than it looked (in a wishbone formation) and we did a bit of climbing and rock scrambling to get around it. Being spontaneous meant we had no water for the two hour plus hike in the sun.

Sometime that day, I also jumped on my bike for a off trail woods ride. There was no underbrush so it was easy to roll over the logs and rocks in the trees without a trail. Unfortunately, for no apparent reason, as I was shifting my right rear derailor, the SRAM shifter just completely broke off (metal snapped). Suddenly my bike became a single speed which I just don't get the concept of yet. I kept riding, but it always seems too easy or too hard. How do people ride these? Poor whitey wrecker...she is in the shop getting warrantied as we speak.

Later that afternoon, we went for a swim in the lake. We may or may not have brought amazing dollar store floaties.

Later that night, after playing more frisbee golf, eating some delicious spaghetti, and drinking some brewskis, we had one last enjoyable camp fire under the chilly stars. Great weekend by any standards.

Sunday morning, we got up early, packed up and took off with the plan to stop in Christopher Creek for a swim on the way home. Tom somehow sprained his ankle while peeing behind a tree (seriously, he thinks he is getting old) so we didn't hike the canyon the whole way through but we did make the one mile hike to the box canyon for a swim.


Gary Robbins said...

Now that's a great camping trip!
Sounds like you improvised your own Frisbee Golf Course, they're all over the place up here, complete with 'nets or goals' n all...not a fan myself, but I have friends who are addicted to it!

Ian said...

Hey, we're heading up to that area tomorrow to do some family camping. Where IS that swimming hole in the last two pictures? Please pop me an email at (phonetically spelled: away the bots). Great pics, great trip! Thanks for sharing.

Joe said...

Looks great. I think I am headed to Knoll this weekend. Where can you do some dispersed camping around there? I really don't want to deal with crowds at a campsite on a holiday weekend.

la chaser said...

This is the dispersed area just outside of the Knoll Lake Campground.

Joe said...

Cool. Thanks. Whats the best way to get there from the valley? 87 or 260? I have never been there before so any details on how to get there and where to camp would be great. Thanks!

Camping said...

What a very nice place for camping. This is a very very excellent camping blog. With a very very nice quality pictures, thank you for sharing.