Ron and I are both country mice and city mice. We enjoy our time off the beaten path, but also need a city fix every so often. Show Low, Arizona, is a sweet place, surrounded by national forest. We stayed in Lakeside CG, a national forest campground right on 260, the main road from Show Low to Pinetop/Lakeside. Perfect.
We got to catch up with friends Jon and Patrica, and had a couple good meals and lots of laughs with Mary Ellen and Ted, all of whom live at least part time in the area. We hit a few thrift stores, one of my hobbies, replenished our food supplies and did laundry.
But we also took a couple or hikes that I found on my phone. Yes, Virginia, there's an app for that. Probably more than one, but I use AllTrails. It's pretty cool. You can read others' comments and ratings and leave your own. We picked two to try.
The first was the Ice Cave Trail, an easy four-mile round trip. The trail took us by Scott Reservoir.
Where we noticed this strange pair of Canada Geese.
At the end of the trail was the promised ice cave. Ron checked it out.
Oh, geez, be careful.
The second was the Panorama Trail. Although the Ice Cave Trail is nice, the Panorama Trail is definitely a five-star. The entire loop is 9.5 miles, but, luckily for us, you can do part of the loop and use the 'shortcut trail' to return to the trailhead. This brings it down to about four miles.
It begins with a walk through lovely Ponderosa pines.
According to the signage, this area of Arizona is the largest, continuous ponderosa pine forest in the world. I love the long, soft needles.
Supposedly, the bark smells like vanilla, but I can't smell it. It just smells like a tree to me.
Ron always gets excited when he sees elk hoof prints.
The trail lives up to its name as it climbs partway up one of the Twin Buttes. You can see areas that were burned several years ago.
These trails are part of the White Mountain Trail System and are very well marked - you follow the blue diamonds and, every 2/10 mile, the white diamonds verify that you're still on the correct trail.