on a Recent Excursion to the
North Country (July 18-20, 2008)
Dear paddle pals, I had
the good fortune this past weekend of joining up with a number of
other lucky So. Az. Paddlers for a trip to Blue Ridge Reservoir. This
wonderful body of water is found just a short distance north of
Strawberry Az. on the Mogollon Rim and is a destination worth your
consideration. In short, it's about as close as one could come to a
trip to some secluded ribbon of river in upper
Yes, it's a bit of a drive from our area to the South,
but if navigated via the "right roads" a pleasant
scenic journey is yours to boot. Up the pass following the
Gila River, North out of Winkleman to Globe. Then, along the western shoreline
to the green panoramas that lead you to Payson. As mentioned, a bit of
a leap from our sand box but lovely country all the way. Doesnít have
to cost all that much either now that weíre all accomplished
car-poolers. Enough about getting there though, lets be there!
Norma tells me that by the time these words are posted there will be
photos from the experience, so Iím going to let the accompanying
images speak the thousand words. There, I've all ready spared you a
certain level of pain. A thing or two I felt worth mention here though
are as follows and hopefully worth a little reflection for all of us.
of the list! As some of
you know this gathering, now on board as a regular summer (July) club
activity, is referenced as the "Volker Run". This in honor
of a great "River Rat" and exceptional human being who has
paddled on. We all gathered on the banks of the Blue and shared our
remembrances of our dear Mr. Beer. Though short on bicycles there in
the canyon bottom, we honored him in Biathalonic spirit. This
done in the form of our chosen mode of travel; kayaks and canoes
alike. Further homage was offered by a number of those present, diving
in to the slightly chilled waters then swimming to the far shore and
back. I'm sure he approved. Some gathered there of course knew him
well, others less. All knew of his quality. Though I only knew
Volker a short while, I've come away from the experience feeling as
There are times in all of our lives when we hear stories of some
remarkable human being who achieved some lofty goal that almost feels
beyond human capability. Yet, through their commitment and inner
strength, have as we say "put it over the top". These
folks, though an inspiration to us, are as a rule not necessarily a
first hand part of our lives. This doesnít lessen our
admiration by any means but lessens, to what ever extent, the transfer
of the achievement to our personal experience. For myself that
situation, that story, some one or two persons removed is no longer.
So, I, as well as most all of us, have now had the good fortune of
having someone very near to me serve as such an inspiration.
Though, as I've mentioned, only got to know the gentleman a
little, he offered me a lot. I'd say a boatload of inspiration.
Thatís what that man was all about and we all were blessed to what
ever degree with his presence in our personal lives. So hats off to
you Mr. Beer, hope to meet up again some day far from shore.
Mogollon Rim Country map
Rim view from near Tonto Creek
Pan of entire camp site area (457KB)
Pan of entire camp site area (very large
Blue Ridge Reservoir area map
Paddling the Blue RR
Looking up river from camp site
Wade Davenport tows Lilly
Road to Payson
Arriving at the camp site
Paddlers at end of side
The Prez on his throne
Lake front parking
Heading down the South arm, aka Gen. Springs Cyn
Norma Miller & cave reflections
Great blue heron and friends
Casey Stakauskas on his dad's canoe
Barbara and Dan on South arm
Walking back up old Rock Crossing Trail from the Gen. Springs Cyn.
crossing. Trail can be hiked 1.5 mi. from the South shore of E.
Clear Creek (across from our campsite), then up and over the ridge,
crossing the pump station, aqueduct and FR 123, then down the ridge to
the GSC crossing where this photo was taken near its confluence with
Bear Canyon (see map).
The Prez's grandson - Jacob was
paddler who spent most time on the lake.
L-R - Ron & Judy P.; Casey; Ron M. & Steve
Darrell Bishop catches lunch
Adult osprey watches over 3 chicks
Paddling down Bear Canyon at
confluence with Gen. Springs Cyn.
Steve Anderson attempts to sail
Walking East on FR123 toward Pumping Station. Buried aqueduct is parallel
to roadway. The sign is about 50 yards East (beyond) where the
Rock Crossing Trail intersects FR123. Look again for the trail
as an old two track heading south toward Gen. Springs Cyn. Walk
the old two track about .25 mi. till it ends at some old fire rings at
top of ridge, then follow some old rock lines down the canyon SW
toward the water.
Royce Davenport and rider
Dan and Barbara Reese
Blue Ridge mirror image
Common merganser with ducklings
Prime camp site on South arm
East Clear Creek at west end of Reservoir
Heading out, checking out a cave-camp